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Brand Yatra: Canon – Keeping its date with success

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Brand Yatra: Canon – Keeping its date with success

Brand: Canon India
Past & Current Agency: PerceptH

The Canon story in India

Incorporated in 1997, Canon India Pvt Ltd is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Canon Singapore Pte, a world leader in imaging technologies. Canon India started off as a company focusing on the copier business, with only the corporate segment as its customers, and adopted the culture of B2B direct selling. Today, it has presence in 10 product categories, seven customer segments and nine channels of distribution spanning over 300 cities in India.

Canon India, which has completed 12 years in 2009, has chalked out some aggressive plans for the year ahead.

In 2007, when the company completed its 10th year of operations in India, Canon embarked on ‘Indianising’ its brand appeal and had signed on Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador, starting January 1, 2007.

Brand Journey – A Testimony in Itself

Speaking on Canon’s journey in India, Kensaku Konishi, CEO and President, Canon India, said, “The major focus of Canon has been to reach out to all the markets in India. The objective here is to showcase its diverse product portfolio to the target audience across all markets, thereby generating a top of mind recall, hence increasing sales. Apart from highly consumer driven cameras, Canon also offers a wide range of products that are sold through the channel network. Therefore, it is aimed at creating a robust and strong channel network in the long run.”

Current Positioning

Canon continues to stand by its catch line, which says “Delighting You Always”. And this, the company does through its cutting edge technology, embedded as cool features in its products or eye catching designs, or innovative offers to attract its customers – Canon is always delightful.

Samarth Srivastava, Associate VP, PerceptH, said, “The Canon ads have evolved over the years. Canon India has come a long way from what it was in 1997 to what it is now in 2009. When Canon started its business in India, the marketing and advertising focus was more towards creating brand awareness. The idea was to create an association with our product offering, which included printers, copiers, etc. In due course of time, new products were rolled out in the Indian market like digital cameras, D-SLRs, scanners, projectors, etc. Our marketing strategy was hence, upgraded and the focus now was towards building the image of Canon as a complete digital imaging company. The advertising and marketing campaigns smartly weaved in with the business objective. At a later stage, Canon launched technology that revolutionised the world of digital imaging. The advertising campaign hence, was transformed with more thrust on technology rather than only making it product-centric.”

Speaking further, Srivastava said, “The advertising and marketing campaigns created the much needed push for Canon, leading to an increase in customer base and mindshare. To build on the increase in customer base, the advertising was further modified towards building Canon as a brand with more consumer appeal. Canon’s products penetrated several regions in India that were untapped. Canon’s advertising has now become more regionalised, based on festivals, offers, promotions, etc. Canon came up with fresh campaigns targeting specific regions to expand its network, which created the much desired demand for its products across several markets in India, which has today resulted in leadership position for several Canon products in India.”

“Canon spends approximately Rs 20 crore on ATL activities, which involve television, print, outdoor, radio and the Internet. An equal amount is spent on BTL activities, which include road shows, in-store promotions, displays, press and dealer launches,” he added.

The Sachin-Canon partnership

Speaking about the ad campaign featuring the Master Blaster, Srivastava said, “The ad is endearing because, first of all, having Sachin Tendulkar as a brand ambassador helps the brand relate to the consumers of all age groups. Secondly, the positioning of the entry level camera, Powershot, has been a simple to use camera. The campaign line states: “Life is Complicated, Your camera shouldn’t be”. This positioning was based on the insight that consumers respected Canon as a brand of digital cameras. However, the consumer felt that a Canon digital camera was too technologically advanced with top end features and that it was a brand only for professionals.”

Srivastava further explained “Sachin Tendulkar is a brand by itself. Having Sachin on board has definitely helped the brand relate to TG across age groups, from kids to old people. More than a cricketer, the consumer likes Sachin as a person and every parent dreams of his/her child to become a Sachin Tendulkar, may be in cricket or whatever field he might choose. Sachin has lent a lot of charm and youthfulness to the brand. The best part of having Sachin as the brand ambassador of Canon is the similarity of qualities between Canon and Sachin.”

Future plans

Speaking on the way ahead, Kensaku Konishi said, “Along with being a forward looking company, Canon India also progressed speedily towards becoming the market leader, which is Canon’s long term goal. As mentioned before, the challenge was to increase presence in the non-camera segment, and Canon’s strategy devised in alignment with the challenges resulted in an increase in market share for Canon printers. Canon India today enjoys 33 per cent market share in the laser printer segment and is the market leader in the scanner segment.”

An onlooker’s perspective

Dhunji S Wadia, Managing Partner, JWT, observed, “The Canon ad has revolved over the years as Canon has always been a technologically accomplished brand, a brand which helps you take great photographs or get a perfect copy. That prowess usually was translated into a cold, efficient mien for the consumer. Over the last few creatives, however, one has seen the brand evolve to a far warmer, experiential rather than cold technology delivery.”

Wadia further said, “What makes the ad endearing is the interaction and the warmth in the commercial. Sachin Tendulkar has helped the brand evolve, as this is one of the few commercials which uses Tendulkar and yet rings true. This could be him in real life. And there is a celebratory aspect, too, which brings the brand squarely in the domain where the Canon consumer interacts with the brand, that is, joyous moments that you want to capture and share.”


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