Olympus marketing revamp, 5 steps

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by MarkRyan, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    Everyone here seems to agree that marketing for m43 cameras is pretty crap, especially compared to what Canon and Nikon do.

    I thought about the situation, specifically for Olympus, and came up with five recommendations for marketing that don't involve spending massive amounts of money on TV commercials.

    To my mind, the problem with marketing m43 is much deeper than basic product awareness. The product is confusing to most people (evidence: the way people I know respond whenever they ask me about my photographs). This is where I suggest Olympus start.

    I wrote a lengthy blog post on the subject. (I'd copy/paste it all here, but there's quite a bit of formatting that'd be hard to recreate -- plus, reading is nice on Medium.) You can read it here:

    Marketing advice to Olympus, from a hobby photographer

    The five steps are as follows.

    1. Branding: Simplify
    2. Camera models: Reduce
    3. Lens line: Rename
    4. Merchandizing: Organize
    5. Workflow: Evolve

    What do you think? Is that a good start? Would those changes make a difference? What other suggestions would you make to Olympus and Panasonic?
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    its a long piece... some good points... but some not so good

    1) Branding is simple... its Olympus first, then its PEN/OMD and Tough.. the only three lines they should persue.

    2) Do away with product numbers.. you buy a pen a omd or a tough. want a VF?... buy an OMD... interchangeable lens buy a OMD or PEN... Do a few things and do them well

    3) Keep Zuiko... build on the heritage that they make great small lenses that often go where no others do :) 

    4) Agreed in US and Europe that Olympus have little store presence... but hey who buys from camera stores anymore?..wish i knew the answer to this...Even if you buy online... you usually do want to touch before you buy... Olympus can't build Apple stores...heck Sony an Microsoft have failed miserably trying to replicate the Apple store.

    5) workflow is an area that nobody has addressed... I have a weird concept that every camera is out of the box a very simple point and shoot.. if you want more control you download and additional app that unlocks certain features and reconfigures the UI to reflect the new caoabilities

    just late night ramblings

  3. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    I actually saw this terrible Olympus ad on cable last week:

    <iframe width="853" height="480" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/m9Et7UQh1tg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    While traveling in Asia, I noticed Olympus marketing was a lot more evident in TV markets as well as in signage and print. And the ones for Asian markets are a lot better than those for North American. At least you get eye candy:

    <iframe width="853" height="480" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/x8K_MdzZGeI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    LOL. I remember that "sequence of photos" ad from few years ago. I really liked it. That shows how hard their problem is.
  5. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    Yeah, I think that Olympus ad is very cool...as a video. Not very effective as an advert.
  6. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Why would you say this is a "terrible" ad?, i think its brilliant. yet is not an ad but a promotional video which is different, theres no ad longer than 60" running on tv, unless is a special occasion such as "superbowl". I think its a great way to show the product and their market. travel, life, family, vacations, life in general.

    it doesnt work as an ad cause i dont know how they can make a 15", 30" or 60" version of it without losing its "spirit".

    You mean "eye candy" because of the sexy asian girl? or because you see the product just like any other ad in the planet?. this is a "meh" ad from a company selling a product without showing anything you can do with it, but the product.
  7. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Actually, *I* posted "The PEN Story" video here back on the 4th, along with other PEN ads:

    Where were you? Here's what I wrote about that ad:

    "Now I never saw this one on TV, but again it's not a positive ad in that what happened to his wife and daughter...were they killed in a car accident while he was trying to take a picture while driving? Is he such a bad person that the wife and daughter took off? In most divorces the father gets visitation of the child, so we should at least see more pictures of the daughter growing up, even if we don't see the wife anymore."
  8. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Interesting article with some good thoughts. Thanks for writing it and starting the discussion.

    One thing that bugged me a bit, though, is that you got some very basic points wrong. For example, you consistently place the hyphen in OM-D in the wrong place. I'm with you on your assertion that a hyphenated brand is not the strongest thing, but your placement of the hyphen (O-MD) screws up the entire point of what Olympus was trying to do in choosing this name. The "OM" evokes the company's OM (Olympus Maitani) line of film SLRs to which the OM-D bears a strong resemblance (the "D" is presumably tacked on to communicate "Digital"). When looked at this way, the OM-D name makes a bit more sense. On the other hand the camera's entire name, OM-D E-M5, is pretty unwieldy -- I might've suggested just OM-5 (or perhaps even OM-5D) to clearly position this new camera in the OM lineage.

    I agree with you that the "Digital" branding on the lenses is a bit odd -- I'm not sure what that is supposed to convey and the font they use for this appears dated and doesn't mesh well, particularly with the "retro" typeface used for the "OLYMPUS PEN" branding on the face of the E-P5 (which I quite like). Olympus could do some work in harmonizing their typography, witness the product shot below which has the brand name presented in no fewer than three distinct fonts:
    http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/olysilverwith17andvf.jpg" />

    As far as "Zuiko" or "M. Zuiko Digital", I agree that this brand doesn't have a lot of power or purpose in the marketplace and can probably be replaced with something more evocative.

    Your idea to brand the camera lineup as "Olympus Micro" has some merit, although I wonder if this would cause some confusion with "Micro Four Thirds" particularly when you consider that the M43 system logo features the word "MICRO".

    I don't agree with your ideas to rebrand the lenses based on intended function. Your new names seem even more confusing than the existing monikers. Also, I don't tend to think of focal lengths in terms of landscape, street, portrait and telephoto which seem like arbitrary possible subjects. Why not go with: bridges, babies, brides and birds? Any attempt to classify a lens based on the "intended" subject seems a bit silly to me -- any lens can be used to shoot any subject. Anyone who is purchasing an interchangeable lens camera should be able to figure out focal lengths and crop sensor equivalency. On a slight tangent, I personally wish that instead of discussing lenses in terms of focal length that instead we looked at angle of view (or field of view) as this would eliminate the need to calculate "equivalent focal length" in terms of sensor size, but I recognize the futility of trying to convert the entire photographic community to my way of thinking on this point.

    I commend you for writing an interesting disquisition on the challenges of Olympus branding and marketing positions. I would hope that someone at Olympus is reading this sort of thing, but it seems that sort of openness to outside ideas is not too much in the company's DNA.
  9. Bamamike

    Bamamike Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    Koblenz, Germany
    Olympus ads and marketing

    Do you really like the stupid Canon commercials? Come and play? Hmmh:mad: 
    I think the marketing of Olympus is great, no need to change anything:2thumbs:.
    Maybe you do not understand artwork, this commercial is brilliant, you can continue watching Disney TV and be happy but do not complain about Oly ads.
    But I think this is a generation problem, those from the old film days will understand the message of this ads.
  10. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    Thanks for the thoughtful response!

    On mistyping the OM-D brand: Whoops! Thanks for the heads up, I've edited it. (I used to type EP-3, EM-5, because that made sense to me but later noticed it's actually E-P3 and E-M5 -- I must have used the same logic to make the O-MD mistake.)

    I get your point about the lens names, in that a 45mm lens doesn't have to be used for portraits. I do, however, think that it is fairly commonly referred to as a portrait lens. A 12mm might more commonly be called wide angle lens, which I'm just as comfortable with (versus landscape). The specific names I specified aren't that important, what is important is making sense of focal length. I agree with your idea to convey the field of view -- I think it's probably best done with a diagram, or perhaps a standard image shot from the same position showing how it'd look in each lens.
  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Thought I'd share some recent Olympus print ads. The first two of these are from the current (August 2013) issue of Popular Photography and the third appeared in the current issue of both Outdoor Photographer and Shutterbug magazines.

    OlympusAd1 by DeeJayK, on Flickr

    OlympusAd2 by DeeJayK, on Flickr

    OlympusAd3 by DeeJayK, on Flickr

    None of these ads strikes me as particularly effective. The third is probably best in that it conveys one of the main advantages of the E-M5, that being it's weather-sealing.

    The second ad strikes me as particularly horrible. I assume they are trying to communicate that they have a good array of lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, but there's just WAY too much text on that page, IMHO.

    It seems to me that particularly in the photography magazines Olympus would want to hammer home the major advantage of the system against the APS-C an full frame competitors which is SIZE. None of these ads seems to be playing to the products unique strengths.
  12. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    He makes some very good points.

    I do not fully agree with his model naming scheme - "Pen+"? So I guess the mid level model would be just PEN{E-PL#} and the upgrade model would be PEN+{PEN plus}{E-P#} and thus the entry level would be PEN-{PEN minus}{E-PM#}! Is the "M" and "L" really that confusing? Of coarse he suggests just 4 models which would work. I just found the +{plus} idea a little too idiot centric!

    I do totally agree that they stop the infernal reference to FF equivalent focal lengths! For those of us who understand it - we can do the math. For those who don't, it just make it more confusing.

    I don't care for his idea of simply adding labels to lenses - "toy", "landscape", "portrait" etc.. A lens takes pictures of what ever a photographer points it at, often beyond the norm so why limit them with a name. If you use the terms wide, normal, standard, telephoto along with the focal length that would be fine.

  13. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    The problem I see for Olympus isn't the ads or the line up or the names. It's more basic than that. Olympus have yet to find themselves a position on the marketplace. Canon and Nikon are the "pro choice". Leica is the luxury brand. Fuji is the quirky Leica alternative. Sony is the "new technology". Even Lomography and the iPhone have a defined place in the market compared to Olympus. Olympus looks like a step up from a p&s or a step down from a DSLR, sitting in a camera shop.

    If you look at Fujifilm, it looks like they found a place in the market and then made a camera to fill that space. Simple, direct. Focused. Now they own that little space they can fill it out with gear that sits either side of it. Olympus panicked with 4/3. Now they're throwing products at the wall to see what sticks. There's no thought or direction because they don't know where they want to be.

    Olympus needs to find themselves an identity. They could be the travelling photographers camera (make an E-M5 with a tan leather cover on the silver body and market with the 75-300 as the ultimate African Safari camera). The hipsters (or metrosexual) camera. Whatever. Right now Olympus position themselves as an alternative. Blech!! The need to be the best choice for something. The only choice. Only when they find an identity will they have a hope of carving a niche.

    The E-M5 has been very successful but I'll bet olympus have no idea why.

  14. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    ^ That is the best way to sum up Olympus marketing "strategy".
  15. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Horrid music and cheesy commercialism designed to pull the heartstrings of the infirm! :biggrin:

    I was an avid Kodachrome shooter from the mid-60s until 2003 when I started switching to digital. I was the proud owner of an Olympus Pen half frame camera in HS and later an OM1 in college. And I do wax nostalgic when I peer at a sparkling chrome under a loupe--so beautiful and jewel like--so not a generation thing. A poorly designed ad transcends generations, gender and race. That ad really stank like hank! Although I sold my last film camera this summer (FM3A), I still view my chromes as I sort through them for scanning.
  16. picturewow

    picturewow Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 16, 2013
    The problem is that the general public don't consider mirrorless camera's as quality camera's. They think that good pictures can only be taken with a big DSLR, because that's what all the pros use.

    Look at Canon for example. The guy that decided that big Canon tele lenses should be white is a genius. You see all those white lenses at sporting events and now everyone thinks all pros use Canon.

    I'd say Olympus should sponsor more fashion photographers. I think the OM-D or EP5 would appeal to a lot of fashionable and artsy people, so exposure at big fashion events would be great.
  17. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    You're serious...Zuiko has a LOT of history going back to 1936, and translated from the name written in Japenese means "auspicious optics" or "auspicious light".

    Also in it's history a letter before the Zuiko name meant the number of optics in the lens, F.Zuiko means there are 6 optics, so M.Zuiko which today designates a Micro Zuiko, in the old designation would have meant there are 13 optics in it.

    Zuiko has as much respect as names like Schneider and Zeiss. Some older people who know the name were impressed that I was using Zuiko lenses on my digital camera.

    Suggest you study some history of the name before commenting that no one knows about it so it should be changed! Here's a place to start:
    Zuiko - Camerapedia
  18. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I personally am aware of the legacy of the Zuiko brand, but thanks for the wildly condescending response.

    My point which I stand behind is that the brand holds vanishingly little relevance in the marketplace as a whole (at least here in America). I haven't done the market research, but I would guess that if you polled 1,000 randomly selected adults you'd be hard pressed to find more than 5 who would be able to place the Zuiko brand. Even among prospective first-time ILC buyers, I don't think the recognition percentage would be above maybe 2-3%. Even among posters on this forum I doubt that percentage would be any higher than 70%.

    Since the Zuiko brand is tied to the Olympus brand even among those few who are aware of Zuiko, what is lost in consolidating the lens and camera brands under the Olympus name?

    Perhaps the brand recognition is higher in Japan or elsewhere, but I don't see the value of the dilution. Luckily for you, I suspect that the internal sentiment within Olympus is much closer to yours than mine, so the likelihood they'll implement my advice is basically nil.

    sent with my phone...please excuse the typos
  19. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    This is true, but I see it slowly changing. Already some high-profile pros are switching to mirrorless (e.g. Scott Bourne, Trey Ratcliff) and surely more will follow their lead.

    You're right. Although as I understand it the big tele Canon lenses are white in order to reduce the effect of thermal expansion, they've definitely exploited that distinction in their marketing.

    I'm not sure I agree that would be an effective tack. I'm no fashionista (far from it, in fact), but I can't recall the last time I noticed ANY camera at any coverage of a fashion show. Also, I would think that studio fashion photographers are less likely to care about camera body size and more likely to want the maximum number of pixels, which would seem to make them poor targets for :43: cameras. I'm no pro shooter, so perhaps my assumptions are off base here, though. Other than the fact that folks in the fashion industry are sort of by definition "trendsetters", why do you feel that this is a suitable target audience?
  20. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I think that this is the right way to go, but I would consider retaining the "XZ" line of enthusiast compacts. Definitely their "S" line should join the already scrapped "V" line in the dumpster. If they could create a "Tough" camera with the capabilities of the XZ, that would make a lot of sense to me.

    Do you really feel the "Zuiko" brand has that much cachet (except among Olympus enthusiasts)? It seems to me just another confusing term among others (focal lengths and f/stops) on the snout of a lens. Why not just focus on the Olympus brand?

    I'm completely out of my depths (such as they are) when it comes to retail strategy, but you're right that no one except Apple seems to have cracked that particular nut. I have no reason to believe Olympus would be able to succeed in that space.

    That's an interesting idea...sort of a camera that grows with the customer. I feel like Olympus has tried that tack to some degree with the "Live Guide" feature in the E-PL1 which is essentially a "dumbed down" alternate UI (e.g. a setting called "Blur background" increases the aperture as you ramped it up).

    The sort of UI customization you envision would not be too difficult to implement from a software perspective. I would expect we might see more of that sort of thing in the future.
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