Key differences in Olympus and Panasonic marketing

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by AdamThirtle, May 6, 2012.

  1. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Hello guys, currently writing up an assignment on Olympus and Panasonic's marketing and how they create value to different segments. (I'm just looking at the CSC market)

    What I want to find out here is people's opinions on the key differences between Olympus and Panasonic marketing, for example Olympus like to use their heritage as a selling point, and Panasonic can be about 'no crap' functionality.

    Yes, they both have plenty of cameras targeted at plenty of different markets but what do you see as whole?
  2. st3v4nt

    st3v4nt Mu-43 Veteran

    May 26, 2011
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Well in general I see that Panasonic much more eager to market their m4/3 camera in relation with their heritage in video, and since they also make the sensor they emphasis it by getting the first of next iteration of m4/3 sensor.

    In tandem or in opposition Olympus market their m4/3 camera as still photo first and how they can optimize the usability of current technology in photography. With things like IBIS, FAST AF, etc.

    And being the m4/3 user we can reap the benefit from both.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    You mean that Olympus and Panasonic actually market these cameras somewhere?

    Interesting. I think I've seen one or two Olympus Pen ads on TV from time to time, and I'll occasionally see an ad in a photography magazine, but I know I've never seen a Panasonic m4/3 TV spot and rarely a print ad.

    At least in the US. I'd imagine in Japan they actually market these cameras. It'd be smart, in my mind, to have some ads in the US to promote the cameras...most people don't know they exist or what they are.
  4. dtchan

    dtchan Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 24, 2010
    This is typical marketing in Asia. This one is from Hk.


    I would say style for Olympus and form for panasonic.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. atomic

    atomic Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    There was brief spell of a Pen advert on UK TV a while ago. It emphasised the auto features and how it was an easy camera to use for people wanting a step up in quality from point and shoot (ignoring the serious amateur) - basically presenting it as a superior point and shoot.
    At the moment there's Nikon Coolpix adverts on - which are quite similar to what the Pen one was like.
    But I've seen no Panasonic ones either.
  7. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Olympus Japan (and most of Asia) definitely pushes hard in the female market -

    [ame=]OLYMPUS PEN E-P3×[/ame]

    In fact I see Japanese female tourist always sporting a white E-PL1, E-PL2 or E-PL3 with kit lens! And it's always white! I don't even think they have black Pens in Japan!
    • Like Like x 1
  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    From Youtube

    [ame=]Olympus PEN - Camera Guy - YouTube[/ame]
  9. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Not much marketing in Canada, but I think Panasonic would like to be seen as a high tech camera innovator given their product choices like the 3D lens, the PZ zooms...they seem to put a priority on adding new features. And their main market does seem to be the person just moving up from a compact, but there seems to be increasing moves to the high end.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Let's remember marketing goes far beyond just advertising. It's eveything that is communicated to the consumer, from the image of brand, what the products looks like, price, unique selling points, etc etc etc

    Thanks for all the great repsonces on the subject guys! Good to hear everyone's opinions on the subject.
  11. cjhawkins3rd

    cjhawkins3rd New to Mu-43

    Don't confuse POSITIONING with MARKETING. Marketing generally describes all the marketing activities of a firm. In popular use people think of marketing as "advertising", but it is actually a business term for all activities that are involved with the sale of a product.

    It is important to define the market that a company is selling into. What makes photography so exciting is that rapidly advancing sensor technology is creating new markets right before our eyes. Being in the electronics industry, it appears that Panasonic saw that smaller sensors could match the quality of larger sensors as Moore's law progressed. This provided an opening to create a new category for high quality cameras that would allow people to move from "point and shoot" cameras to cost effective high quality. And get rid of the mirror in the process and undercut Nikon and Canon.

    Technically a whole new category opens up (if there is a market for lower cost, higher quality digital cameras). Who is the consumer - people who used to use film DSLR's who migrated to digital DSLR's, or people who bought compact digital cameras and want to "upgrade" to better quality (but don't want to spend lots of money).

    Done properly, marketing begins with an understanding of how consumers view a product or service. If you have a user base of your products; it is their view of the product that defines the positioning of the firm. It is the strengths and weakness of a product as defined by the user.

    Olympus users appear to define Olympus from the olympus film cameras. So Olympus needs to take advantage of the existing image. That is far more cost effective than to market an image (a positioning) to someone who does not know anything about Olympus. So Olympus markets to its heritage - the film Pens and OM cameras that defined Olympus. Just builds on that image to sell digital cameras. Also, makes them different from Canon and Nikon as they created their consumer base with

    Panasonic on the other hand is an electronics company. Not bad given that digital cameras are a product of the new electronic age. Trouble is, Panasonic had no camera user base (until they started selling low end consumer cameras). They did have their camcorder heritage and user base. More from electronics than from cameras. But these are becoming one and the same with advancing sensor technology.

    Thus Panasonic appears to appeal to the compact digital camera user and want to upgrade them to more advanced, higher quality cameras and camcorders. They seem to appeal to people who want the camcorder as much as the camera. I guess their biggest hit were at the low end of with the GF1 and high end with the GH2 (which appears to be liked for its movie making).

    So, marketing has lots to do with understanding consumers, segments and markets. Not necessarily does it mean advertising.
    • Like Like x 3
  12. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Great reply! Exactly the kind of thing I was trying to get people to discuss.

    I have spent a long day writing about the subject covering how these companies are communicating value to various segments of consumers.

    It's interesting to see how they target pschographic segments, and looking at how they differentiate products between different lifestyles and attitudes of consumers.

    It's also quite interesting to look at whether they are actually reaching who they intend to target at.
  13. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    If you're talking about in the US, the key difference is that Olympus makes a little effort (very little) to market m43, while Panasonic seems to make none. I've seen a few ads for Pens in magazines other than photo mags, especially when they were first introduced. I don't think I've ever seen an ad for a Panasonic m43 camera, anyplace, ever.

    I'd rate Olympus a D- for marketing, Panasonic an F.

    Yes, that's true. But you still have to "communicate." Advertising, while not the only venue for communication, is certainly the one that reaches the most people, and it's typically the gateway form of communication. If people find out about your product in an ad, then they might go to your web site to find out more. If they see a review online, they might then visit a retailer to look at it. Or if they see it at a retailer, they might then try to find out more about it.

    Panasonic, in particular, fails at all aspects of this in the U.S. Without ads, customers don't see out the web site. The cameras get reviewed in photo magazines and web sites like DPR, but those are viewed by a tiny percentage of potential buyers. In-store presence? Please. Even Ritz / Wolf doesn't have m43 cameras on the shelves in my area, much less places like Wal-Mart and Target, where non-enthusiasts are far more likely to see a camera display.

    Olympus is slightly better, but not much.
  14. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Self-contradictory. You say Panasonic appeals to P&S upgraders, but then says it's biggest hits were the GF1 (not really a low-end camera, btw), and the GH2, which certainly isn't aimed at P&S upgraders.

    Aside from that, the idea that the GH2 is liked mainly for its video capability is just silly. It's an excellent stills camera; until the OMD, unarguably the best m43 stills camera in terms of overall capability. With the possible exception of the OMD, it's the most DSLR like in it's controls and capabilities.

    True, it's more than advertising, but advertising is a key component of marketing, and one that both manufacturers seem to have deemed unimportant in the US market.

    Take a look at the job Nikon did marketing (including advertising) the 1 series cameras. Yes, they built on their name recognition as a manufacturer of "serious" cameras, but they also spent a ton of money on advertising, and the N1 became the fastest selling camera on the market for a while.
  15. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Really liking the debate here!

    Yes, I mentioned marketing is more than just advertising, but I didn't ever say advertising wasn't a hugely important factor. I just wanted to make it clear this topic wasn't solely based on advertising, and even if they don't advertise well, what DO they do. There is obviously a whole thought process into who the product will be targeted at and what it is that product does to cater to those individuals needs, for example the GX1 finally giving GF1 users the upgrade they wanted.

    As for Panasonic targeting point and shoot users looking for and upgrade with most marketing, and the higher end models doing well, that is fine, it just means those who are buying into higher end models will more likely do their research, won't need it thrown in their face and know what they want in the first place.

    P.S. and I am really quite interested that folk in the US don't seem to see much advertising. Since the report is based on multinational marketing, it's helpful to see where these companies currently deem most important in this growing market.
  16. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    Olympus owns the non-traditional marketing space. Very clever, innovative stuff. They do a ton of viral development with their campaigns. The consumer targeted Pen-giveaway video series for instance, with contests to support the product lines. They are also really strong hitting the social media space and blogoshpere. With the pen launch they seeded hundreds of bloggers across numerous verticals outside the photo space (mommy bloggers, tech bloggers, game and gadget bloggers) with cameras to try out, getting them a lot of social and online presence. They also do an outstanding job with teaser campaigns eg: the leak of segmented images of the OMD, with a supporting print ad all preceding an announce and the immediate pre-order program, and most recently with the "nuts" box and the tough stuff teaser video.

    Of course they are all over Facebook too with a variety of customer engagement pages spanning the US, EMEA and APAC. Their website and cross-linking also does a great job of funneling users via search engine coverage for the brand and cameras to their promotion pages.

    On the back end their store site echoes promotions on the front page, and they have all the mechanisms in place to capture more direct revenue, rather than forcing users to have to rely on expensive partnerships like Amazon. Very smart.

    Olympus really gets marketing. It's much more than placing ads or buying billboards or TV. They understand new media on par with brands much bigger than they are.
  17. cjhawkins3rd

    cjhawkins3rd New to Mu-43

    If Panasonic's successes have been with the high end consumer, doesn't that signal that m4/3 appeals to high end users (not to upgraders). Doesn't that mean that there may be a flaw in Panasonic's positioning? Maybe there isn't a big upgrade market? Maybe the appeal of m4/3 is to DSLR users "downgrading" to smaller, less costly lenses and cameras.
  18. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    When assuming that Panasonic's more successful models are their high end consumer products, and yes it might the case on this forum, let's not forget figures such as 70% of Panasonic's mirrorless camera are sold to females, and they target a lot of first time users outside of camera and electronic stores.