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Case Study: A Partner’s Perspective on Visit Greenland’s Image Library

Photo by Julie Skotte - Visit Greenland.

This post is a follow up to our case study, How Visit Greenland is Reclaiming Its Storytelling with Digital Asset Management, which highlights how a national tourism board uses a visual media library to shape Greenland’s reputation by sharing images with tour operators, travel agencies and more. But, of course, there are two sides to every story! Here, you’ll see how Visit Greenland’s visual media library impacts the organization’s partners.

As the head of photography and market development for Visit Greenland, Mads Pihl is responsible for producing content and making it available to the people who need it. By sharing high quality photos (usually very expensive to produce in Greenland), Visit Greenland empowers partners to tell engaging stories and drive travelers to Greenland.

Photo by Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland.

Kayakers from PGI Greenland in front of Restaurant H8 in Oqaatsut in Greenland. Photo by Mads Pihl – Visit Greenland.

But, a year ago, Mads faced a growing problem. He was spending a massive amount of time adding photos to Flickr and putting high res versions on Dropbox. Partners had trouble finding relevant images, and often turned to Mads directly to request images. Many used the same images over and over, rather than dealing with the tedious work of sifting through the collection to find something new. In the end, the grueling process was not worth the effort for Mads or his partners.

“We’re a national tourism board but we’re only ten people in the organization,” explains Mads. “We can’t spend so much time on Flickr if people aren’t using it.”

These pain points led Mads to move Visit Greenland’s visual media library to Libris by PhotoShelter. He hoped the new system would reduce the time he spent organizing assets and filling image requests, but he knew it wasn’t just about his own time and effort. A centralized, accessible visual media library could help stakeholders – key to Visit Greenland’s success – use the brand’s images more effectively.

At the beginning of the migration process, Mads hoped that easy access for partners to Visit Greenland’s new image library would have a powerful domino effect:

My hope would be that there will be a longer tail on the images used in the database. The more diversity that we get through the database, the more diversity there will be in the representation of Greenland by our stakeholders.

A guest with a sled dog puppy in Tasiilaq in East Greenland. Photo by Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland.

A guest with a sled dog puppy in Tasiilaq in East Greenland. Photo by Mads Pihl – Visit Greenland.

Now, Mads is proving his hypothesis. Having a professional cloud-based digital asset management system has simplified his workflow as he publishes from Lightroom into Libris and avoids what he calls, “a complete explosion into local hard drives.” He no longer has to service his own in-house team with zip files or help them find images in offline drives for social media, web and other content distribution channels because they can find assets for themselves.

And, perhaps more importantly, the streamlined system has opened a floodgate for stakeholders looking for images. More than 200 people have signed up to use Visit Greenland’s image database (a number that is growing continuously). 97% of those signed up are international B2B partners and domestic stakeholders, who no longer have to ask Mads for help because the new system makes it easy for them to find and download images on their own (he even made a step by step guide to help them with everything from setting up an account to securing an image license). In any given 90-day date range, the visual media library sees about 4,000-5,000 downloads, which means Visit Greenland’s partners are now taking full advantage of the image service the organization provides. By removing the friction from the image sharing process, the new system has had a powerful impact for both Visit Greenland and its stakeholders.

Photo by Magnus Elander - Visit Greenland.

Photo by Magnus Elander – Visit Greenland.

The Impact of Visit Greenland’s Visual Media Library
A Partner’s Perspective

As the Greenland Brand Manager for Icelandic Mountain Guides, Ella Grødem uses the photos Visit Greenland provides to entice travelers to book a tour.

“We’re selling an experience. We’re selling an adventure,” says Ella. “And visuals are just more appealing. It’s easier to evoke these emotions with people through visuals than text.”

Ella uses Visit Greenland’s photos on everything from the Icelandic Mountain Guides website to social media to public relations to printed post cards.

“What Visit Greenland has done here has been a huge help to us partners,” says Ella.

Let’s take a look at how Visit Greenland’s visual media library benefits Ella and her work.

Aligned Messaging

When you think of Greenland, Ella explains that she hopes you think of adventure, the frontier, and “remote places not spoiled by a lot of tourists.” The messaging of Icelandic Mountain Guides echoes Visit Greenland’s branding of “Be a Pioneer,” which is why Mads’ photos fit perfectly into Ella’s marketing materials.

“We are completely aligned in terms of how we should sell Greenland,” says Ella.

A screenshot of a page promoting a Greenland tour on the Icelandic Mountain Guides website.

A screenshot of a page promoting a Greenland tour on the Icelandic Mountain Guides website.

Mads’ goal for Visit Greenland’s photography is to give partners a foundation to create their own stories. He and his team produce visual assets that are in line with how Visit Greenland wants the country to be represented, and invite partners to build on that core story. As Ella explains, that means Visit Greenland’s visual media library doesn’t just offer photos of icebergs. Instead, she has access to a series of photos she can combine with user generated content to share a relatable and compelling narrative. Aligned messaging strategies and seamless processes for delivering photos allow Visit Greenland and its partners to represent Greenland cohesively.

“Images have always been important, but we’ve made them play to our advantage,” says Mads.

Access to High Quality Assets

To illustrate this next point, let’s take a moment to admire some of Mads’ photos.

Photos by Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland.

Photos by Mads Pihl – Visit Greenland.

Clearly, these images were produced by a professional photographer, with professional gear. Mads also has a unique local perspective because he is from Greenland. And, it’s very expensive to commission photos in Greenland because of technology and travel restraints. Ella says Icelandic Mountain Guides would not be able to source such high quality content if it weren’t for the service Visit Greenland provides.

“It increases the quality in general of what we send out there,” says Ella.

Easy Search

Ella is able to find the assets she needs quickly now that Visit Greenland’s image database is hosted on Libris.

“It’s easy to get an overview of what is there,” Ella says, explaining how Mads has organized Visit Greenland’s photos into galleries that are intuitive and easy to browse, although she prefers to search.

“I know exactly what I’m looking for and I just type that in,” she says. “It’s a great search function, and that’s where the old one lacked a bit.”

Now, thanks to the robust metadata Mads has applied to each image and the powerful search functionality of Libris, Ella can easily type in a term like “dog sledding” and choose from a number of photos to fit her social media post or press release.

A search for "dog sledding" in Visit Greenland's visual media library.

A search for “dog sledding” in Visit Greenland’s visual media library.

Sharing Internally

One of the reasons Mads was drawn to Libris was because it was tailor made for businesses. Rather than functioning like a social sharing platform, Libris allows professional image delivery both internally and externally.

“For us that’s a database that we can work with, that’s flexible in a completely different way,” says Mads.

A Lightbox Ella made for me when I asked for images to include in this post.

A Lightbox Ella made for me when I asked for images to include in this post.

Ella uses Lightboxes to share photos in Visit Greenland’s visual media library with other people on her in-house team. She can gather photos for a specific tour that capture a range of elements – some with people, some with nature – and send the Lightbox to her graphic designer for collaboration and download. No need for zip files or thumb drives.

“It saves me time and makes it much easier to make a selection of photos and send it on,” says Ella.

Increased Engagement

Like many brand storytellers, Ella sees an uptick in engagement on social media when she posts photos and videos.

“It makes the potential clients closer to what they would experience – we’re trying to talk to the feelings more than rational arguments and visuals are perfect for that,” she says.

A screenshot of an Icelandic Mountain Guides Facebook post using one of Mads Pihl's photos.

A screenshot of an Icelandic Mountain Guides Facebook post using one of Visit Greenland’s photos.

And, when you look at the big picture, those potential clients are engaging with content that portrays a more compelling, more accurate, more diverse representation of Greenland – exactly what Mads envisioned when he set up Visit Greenland’s visual media library.

The Takeaway

Increased engagement from Visit Greenland’s partners is helping Visit Greenland show the return on investment of the visual media library and prove the value of its image service.

“What really matters to us is that signups are spread across big international companies, small local operators, government offices, public institutions, NGOs, and private companies outside the tourism sector both at home and abroad,” says Mads. “This tells us that there continues to be a wide range of user needs for quality images from Greenland.”

Photo by Staffan Widstrand - Visit Greenland.

Photo by Staffan Widstrand – Visit Greenland.

Wrangling your brand’s photos and videos into a centralized, accessible visual media library creates a number of obvious advantages for your team. But an accessible visual media library can also provide major benefits for the people who need to use your photos and videos. Whether you share images with internal stakeholders (like your social media team) or external partners (like reporters), it’s important to have a visual asset management system that makes image delivery smooth, professional and, most importantly, easy for the person on the receiving end. As the story of Visit Greenland’s visual media library shows, building a frictionless system that enables your stakeholders to easily access the images you want to share is well worth the investment.

Cover photo by Julie Skotte – Visit Greenland.

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