At the turn of the 21st century, the photo printing industry faced a game-changing situation. Photo-printing labs that have served consumers by merely producing good quality prints quickly diminished as digital technology was brought to market and consumers chose to share rather than print their images.
With almost 20 years of experience in the industry, FotoHub foresaw these trends. FotoHub engaged Consulus to refine their business model, transiting towards the digitisation of images for archiving and easier content management in 2001. The development of the new business model marks a journey of almost 2 years in the making towards being a full-fledged yet agile digital imaging solutions provider. This new model revolutionised the way photo-printing labs operate in the region.
A Photo Printing Success Story
This strategic shift reaped rewards. From the period between 2004 and 2008, FotoHub achieved a 77% increase in revenue. Notable initiatives that drove the increase include restructuring of management, the new business model and the Customer Centric Initiative program. In 2008, FotoHub received the E50 award, an esteemed accolade for local SMEs. As a nod of appreciation to their continued success in the industry, they were awarded the Singapore Prestige Brand Award in the Established Brands category in 2012.
We explore how FotoHub smoothly adapted to changing consumer preferences and proved critics wrong when Fotohub transformed its business model, turning a sunset industry into a sunrise industry.
New Brand Purpose, New Business Opportunities
FotoHub knew their purpose had to evolve in the face of changes in technology trends and consumer preferences. Together with Consulus, they embarked on a brand purpose identification session; a series of research and interview sessions were conducted with the founders, staff, consumers and partners to identify a purpose that the brand and all its stakeholders would work towards.
The brand purpose that emerged was “to make every moment worthwhile”. Specifically, it referred to the fact that while technology had changed, the psyche behind why people print photos has not. The research showed that consumers still had the intention to print photos despite digitisation. However, they would be more selective when printing photos. As a result, FotoHub would expect a drop in volume of photo printing over time. Hence, there was a need to enhance the value of every photo printed and to make memories captured on print more meaningful with the introduction of higher value products.
FotoIdeas, a suite of products that challenged and broke the conventional notion that a photograph was merely a commodity, was thus launched. FotoIdeas explored the idea of using the photograph as content with multiple applications and purposes. The repertoire of product offerings thus expanded to include FotoStory, FotoPuzzle, FotoJournal, FotoCalendar and FotoMug.
In the early phases of the business, there were different subsidiaries under FotoHub offering similar services, causing confusion amongst customers. As a result, the company consolidated all operations under the name FotoHub and implemented a hub-and-spoke model.
Under this model, all of their retail outlets would be able to consolidate their orders and send them via a high speed network for processing at a regional or central production centre. This helped them achieve economies of scale and a higher level of quality control. It was also a cost-effective way of expanding their reach quickly.
This also made it possible for consumers to upload images from all over the world to an online database for processing into various products under the FotoIdeas suite. This strategic shift in direction has helped groom FotoHub for scalability.
Building a strong institution
FotoHub understood the need to build a strong organisational structure in order to scale upwards. Together with Consulus, they selected key members from the staff to groom as future leaders of the company, who have been instrumental in the success of FotoHub today.
To ensure that FotoHub remains competitive to attract and retain talents, the company has several initiatives in place. For example, to ensure that the middle management members will be given opportunities for career progression, the top management conducts personal review and appraisal sessions with the individual middle management members. These reviews are not mere performance appraisals, they are structured to help top management fully understand staffs’ aspirations in the company. They also promoted mutual benefits by greater alignment of staffs’ personal goals with the company’s vision.
Knowledge development and sharing is also instrumental in developing the company’s intellectual property assets. All frontline staff at FotoHub went through a comprehensive customer service assessment, training and evaluation program facilitated by Consulus under the Customer Centric Initiative (CCI) program.
At its headquarters, FotoHub has also committed themselves to specific activities. FotoHub organises a Townhall meeting, where all staff of all levels gather to keep each other updated on matters pertaining to the retail outlet and headquarters. This ensures that every staff member understands the company from both macro and micro perspective. It also facilitates in collation of feedback from the ground for constant improvement.
Design for Business
“Prior to engaging Consulus as brand consultants, we didn’t really have any brand identity. Engaging Consulus helped us set the standards and have an identity that really reflected the business we were doing. Our old logo didn’t reflect the dynamism of our company,” said Vincent Tan, CEO of FotoHub Holdings.
The new logo was primarily designed to reflect the energy and dynamism that FotoHub stood for as a company, with each flap standing for qualities that FotoHub is committed to – trust, dynamism, and efficiency.
The old tagline, “from moments to memories”, was shortened to “from this moment” for better recall and brevity.
A suite of icons was also created for FotoIdeas. The idea was to have every product be represented by a recognisable icon.
The design solutions for FotoHub resulted in a more cohesive and professional brand identity that would serve them for better recall and recognisability.
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Consulus Singapore has been recognised as a leading firm by receiving nomination from leading marketers as the brand consultancy of the year for 2 times and winning Singapore Design Awards and Singapore Good Design Mark