In 2004 Canon established a new segment in the Single-Lens-Reflex (SLR) camera market: a digital SLR camera at a price point of about 1,000 EURO. This entry-level camera made digital SLR photography suddenly affordable for the hobby photographer. The camera was an instant success and the competition had a big problem.
In 2005 Canon planned to launch the follow-up model, the EOS 350D, and had even higher expectations: double sales to make the EOS 350D profitable. However, the situation had drastically changed:
• Nikon - Canon’s main competitor – was prepared to defend its position in the SLR category at any cost. Nikon developed the D50, a model with excellent specs designed to fight back and regain market share.
• New competitors like Olympus, Konica-Minolta and Pentax launched competitive models at lower prices. • Canon’s new camera, the EOS 350D, was an improvement but not a break-through like its predecessor. And it came at a premium price.
Crucially, Canon had to identify a new target group. Converting analogue SLR user to digital SLR was not enough to achieve the sales targets. Canon had to move into the mass market. However, research indicated the Canon brand lacked 'approachability', a pre-requisite to attract mass market clientele. And, the SLR category was perceived as territory for photo-buffs – but not for the average camera user.
As the motivations behind SLR photography were similar throughout countries and the product segment new, these objectives were set across all key markets. However, each key market had individual barriers to overcome:
• Germany – the German market was known as being driven by technological specs and independent consumer testing. The ‘average’ performance of the 350D was a handicap.
• United Kingdom – While strong in the SLR segment Canon was weak in the mass market.
Olympus was ‘brand of choice’ when it came to digital photography for the masses.
• France – Nikon was category leader and enjoyed strong heritage. Breaking into Nikon’s territory would require extra effort.
• Italy – the Italian mass market was driven by product design and user-friendliness. The
‘standard’ SLR appearance of the EOS 350D (size and design) could delay mass market adoption.
The Big Idea
We quickly realized that identifying the right target group and insight were key to solve the case. A segmentation study of camera user pointed towards the digital-still-compact (DSC) camera user; a group large enough to meet the sales targets, who was interested in photography and who already had experience with digital technology.
However, the study also indicated that DSC user rejected SLR cameras as too large, too complicated, too boring; made for photo-freaks but not for them. If we wanted to make DSC user consider buying an EOS 350D we had to defuse this hostility and find a motivating insight towards SLR photography.
An interactive workshop with DSC users brought us on the right track. We expected them to talk very seriously about their photographic achievements, their best shots, how creative they were. Instead they understood photography as a hobby, a fun activity to relax, to take 'time out'. Photography allowed them to discover and appreciate the beauty of everyday life. For them a