Canon: Making a Connection

By Poojya Trivedi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | January 14, 2010
In its attempt to connect with the masses and give them hands-on-experience with the technology, Canon India has launched two on-ground initiatives

Canon India, the imaging equipment company, has traditionally been a strong believer in promoting its brand through experiential marketing. Recently, the company has launched two on-ground activations - Capture Mumbai and Canon on the Wheels - for this purpose.

The objective of Capture Mumbai is to provide hands-on experience to consumers and bring the technology closer to them. The company has chosen 100 locations, such as malls and high-traffic areas, where it will be able to reach about 20,000-25,000 people everyday.

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"Mumbai is the town that has maximum potential and a strong photo community. We thought it would give us a good launch pad," reasons Alok Bharadwaj, senior vice-president, Canon India.

The activity will then be taken across eight cities, including metros and mini-metros. The next destination will be Bengaluru, followed by other cities. This city-specific campaign, which will last for six months, hopes to reach out to 50 lakh customers.

For the smaller cities, the company has launched a separate activity - Canon on the Wheels.

As part of this activity, a caravan of four vans, called Canon Image Mobile Express, will cover 50 cities. In each city, these vans will set up a Canon Image Fest in an area of 1,500 square feet, in order to provide touch and feel experience to over 5 lakh customers. Customers can also buy products from these outlets.

Canon also plans to launch a television commercial, which will be on-air in February, to promote its Ixus product range. Ixus is a stylish camera targeted at lifestyle-conscious consumers.

"We need to have more emotional connect with this particular segment of customers. Therefore, the ad will focus on situations of different people seeking lifestyle and gratification from the product," says Bharadwaj. The creative agency for the ad is Dentsu.

To provide the last-mile experience to Ixus consumers, Canon will also install around 500 dedicated Ixus corners, of which 150 will be in Mumbai. These will be launched in association with Canon league partners, which have high visibility in the area, but are multi-brand outlets. "This helps us in lifting our brand experience into more of a lifestyle experience," explains Bharadwaj.

"We feel that technology experience will expand adoption of digital cameras in the country," says Bharadwaj.

Last year, the company opened three experience-showrooms, called Canon Image Lounge, in Delhi (Gurgaon), Mumbai and Bengaluru to provide consumers with hands-on experience on Canon products. These showrooms do not sell any products.

Canon has also created an online photo community, where people can discuss various aspects of photography and also share their work. Last year, the community had about 80,000 users; and this year, the company expects about 2 lakh users to be added to the community.

Canon even arranges photo tours for members, ranging from wildlife photography to underwater photography.

Currently, there are 6 million digital camera users while in China the figure is around 53 million.

Bhardwaj says, "By 2015, there will be 10 million units sold every year in India." Currently, only 2 million digital cameras are sold every year.

According to Bharadwaj, the Indian digital imaging industry, which includes both cameras and its accessories, is likely to reach Rs 2,000 crore in 2010 from around Rs 1,400 crore in 2009. The industry is further expected to grow to Rs 10,000 crore in the next five years. Canon India's turnover in the digital imaging business was around Rs 300 crore in 2009 and the company hopes to increase its turnover by 50 per cent this year.

The company plans to spend around Rs 55 crore in 2010 for marketing its digital cameras.

"These steps are strong foundation and necessary facilitation to move to that level. I think it is also a new way of brand building, which is increasingly becoming a function of both pre- and post- purchase experience with the brand. The steps that we are taking are going to provide both of this," shares Bharadwaj.