In the era of smartphones and social media, everyone is a content creator, and the content they’re creating is constantly evolving to become more visual and powerful. With this wealth of rich visual content now available, brands are taking advantage by implementing this authentic user-generated content (UGC) across their marketing channels. As a response, the need to understand where and when marketers can legally utilize this content has increased.
Rights management is the process that allows brands to request and receive content usage rights directly from the content creators themselves.
I recently spoke to Jason Van Volkenburgh, VP & Associate General Counsel at Hunter Douglas, the worldwide market leader in window cover products with over 22,000 employees across more than 100 countries. In our recent webinar, we discussed Hunter Douglas’ legal team’s requirements for the marketing department and their decision to make Stackla their choice UGC rights management platform.
The need for centralized, streamlined and compliant rights management workflows
The Hunter Douglas legal team was on the hunt for a rights management solution for a few key reasons.
On the marketing side, the team wanted to build a more active social media presence across multiple platforms, and knowing the power of authentic user-generated content, the marketing team wanted to publish that impactful UGC alongside the other digital assets that Hunter Douglas was posting to promote the brand.
On the legal side, Hunter Douglas has always required that the marketing department obtain the necessary usage rights for any content they choose to promote and publish. However, the team lacked a centralized location to record and aggregate those rights. Instead, they were having to follow up with multiple team members to review rights and verify documentation — creating a scattered and difficult process.
In addition, Hunter Douglas also wanted to keep in line with the rise of content usage compliance across the legal industry. There’s been a noticeable trend in legal copyright infringement claims, specifically brought on by photographers. With more technology products that can scan for content, photographers and image owners can more easily find instances of their content being published without their permission. But, robust rights management workflows — like Stackla’s — ensure that content rights are explicitly gained prior to use across any marketing touchpoints.
A single source of truth for all assets: rights-approved images, paid photography & documentation
In order to satisfy each of these rights management needs, Hunter Douglas required a solution that could efficiently search for and identify relevant user-generated content across various social media platforms without having to go into separate tools. The legal team saw that Stackla could automatically keep all of the rights management content and documentation in one location as a single source of truth, making the internal content usage processes significantly more efficient.
“In addition,” Van Volkenburgh told me, “we wanted to be able to request usage rights to content in real-time, and do so uniformly, easily and efficiently — without having to ask the legal department to draft an agreement or an email. The functionality that’s inherent in the Stackla product made that objective a lot easier.”
The team wanted to ensure that it wasn’t only the rights to user-generated content that could be requested and hosted in one place. As Van Volkenburgh noted, with Stackla, the Hunter Douglas team was also able to “store documents and contracts pertaining to usage rights in the same location as all their digital assets so the team could quickly review them if need be.”
Stackla’s rights management platform satisfied all these needs and more. “Our experience has been very positive,” Van Volkenburgh told me. “There’s quite a bit of functionality included within Stackla, and it’s really just what we were looking for. We’re now working as a team to determine and implement appropriate internal workflows to optimize our use of the product, and we feel there’s great potential to expand our use of the tool to support a variety of requirements and initiatives at Hunter Douglas.”
Stackla stands apart from other rights management processes — and it shows
Stackla’s robust, customizable rights management workflows make it easy for brands to gain usage rights and implement authentic UGC across marketing channels.
Rights by response is an easy option for marketers and a low-effort action for the content creators. Brands can simply comment on a post with a message asking the creator to respond with a unique branded hashtag to accept the terms and conditions and confirm usage.
This entire process takes place on the social platform, streamlining the process for the content creators so there are no extra steps or clicks to discourage.
For a more legally-robust rights management workflow, brands can opt for rights by registration. With this rights management process, brands can request that content creators include more information explicitly stating rights. With this customizable form, brands are also able to gain rich customer data, like names and emails, that can feed directly into your CRM. With this feature, brands can build a database of organic advocates that are proactively sharing great content around your brand. Brands can also request a higher resolution image through this form to ensure the content is top quality for use across a variety of marketing channels.
With Stackla, brands can aggregate content from 25+ content sources — more than any other competitor on the market. Stackla then allows brands to create unique rights management workflows for each of those sources.
And, when a content creator grants rights to any piece of content, that image can flow back into the centralized Asset Manager, where Stackla can apply visual recognition and machine learning so Stackla’s AI-powered engine can recommend similarly engaging content. And, every step of the way, Stackla’s legally robust workflows include audit logs that track every piece of rights approval activity.
For Hunter Douglas, Stackla’s rights management platform satisfies all of their needs in one easy-to-use platform. For more information about Hunter Douglas’ rights management workflows and best practices, check out the webinar, UGC Rights Management: When, Where, Why?.