The fairly heavy spate of advertising by camera brands has been interesting. Is the advertising up because of the intense competition mobile phones with cameras are throwing up?
Alok Bharadwaj, VP, Canon India, pooh-poohs the very idea: “Though there is a mass appeal for mobile phones with cameras, at present we don't see it challenging the digital camera. For one, phone-based cameras offer low quality in pictures. Their tiny lenses cannot take long distance shots. Also, the optical zoom is poor and the essential good quality flash is missing. Camera phones do introduce people to digital photography; these very people gradually upgrade to digital cameras.”
Market facts bear him out. India is one of the fastest and largest growing markets for digital cameras, with shipments expected to jump from eight lakh units in 2007 to two million units by 2010. According to IDC, the Indian digital camera market is going to be worth more than Rs 1,000 crore by 2008. It will peak in 2010.
The growth is spurring digital camera brands and retailers to ramp up marketing efforts. The two routes marketers are taking are rapid launches with new and varied features (see box), and on-the-ground, experiential activities to create customer interactions with their brands.
Sachin Rai, product head - digital imaging, Sony India, says, “We have created experience corners in our retail network that aim to offer firsthand experience of our product technology and their benefits. Consumers can actually try out our new technologies in an environment where expert advisers are present.”
Retail efforts colour Nikon India’s marketing focus too. Hidehiko Tanaka, MD, Nikon India, says, “We have tied up with large format retail chains to increase our presence. We are strategically using in-shop branding with easy, brand-differentiating visual cues. We are also targeting opportunities of consumer engagement through innovative interactive platforms, such as the Lakme Fashion Week. ”
Canon too, is concentrating on retail to create the essential consumer interaction with its products. It has established DigiClick Zones and is in the process of establishing Digital IXUS zones across all key national and city retail chains, consumer electronic outlets, photo shops and IT retail shops. Also, Canon has charted a detailed consumer activation programme through participation in exhibitions, events, and advertising.
For advertising, Sachin Tendulkar endorses Canon’s lifestyle brand, IXUS. The brand recently roped in Atul Kasbekar, among India’s leading lifestyle photographers, to conduct workshops. It had also launched a special project called “Aamchi Mumbai” (in Mumbai). While Sony sells on the platform of “the exclusive value combination of technology, product design, aesthetics, imagery, packaging and prices,” Nikon says it is looking to nurture the culture of photography in India through initiatives such as workshops and photo contests.