Canon’s Customer-Centric Marketing Puts Focus on People

With an inspir­ing mix of con­tent mar­ket­ing and brand sto­ry­telling, Canon is try­ing to win over new cus­tomers by show­ing how peo­ple use the brand’s prod­ucts.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Canon’s lat­est mar­ket­ing cam­paign focus­es not on the prod­ucts them­selves, but around how peo­ple are using the brand’s prod­ucts. It makes for an inspir­ing mix of con­tent mar­ket­ing and brand sto­ry­telling that will impress con­sumers, and approv­ing mar­keters alike.

All too often, mar­ket­ing con­tent and lit­er­a­ture can be over­ly didac­tic. Even at its most cre­ative, or most expen­sive, per­haps with the full force of a brands mar­ket­ing might and bud­get behind a snazzy new slo­gan — the mes­sag­ing still essen­tial­ly says one thing: “Look at how awe­some we are, look how great our prod­uct is.” Clever cross-chan­nel ini­tia­tives, share­able con­tent, and a great deal of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tal­ent, means cam­paigns are still often great suc­cess­es, but many cam­paigns still are still built upon one-sided com­mu­ni­ca­tion dynam­ics. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, brands have nev­er been par­tic­u­lar­ly good lis­ten­ers, and this harks back to the fact that it has typ­i­cal­ly been fair­ly dif­fi­cult for con­sumers to talk back, or pro­vide feed­back in years and decades past.

Spreading Customer Stories

In many ways, Canon’s lat­est cam­paign is no dif­fer­ent from many oth­ers. It’s still head­ed by a sleek, inspi­ra­tional, and catchy slo­gan — “See Impos­si­ble” — and it is still based around a brand new microsite as its flag­ship dig­i­tal con­tent. Noth­ing new there. The way the cam­paign dif­fers is in the sub­tle­ty of the brand’s mes­sag­ing, no longer using con­tent as a means of spread­ing core brand val­ues, mes­sag­ing, and prod­uct infor­ma­tion, but to spread sto­ries about how con­sumers are using their prod­ucts. It’s a change that has been inspired, and enabled, by dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy, such as social media and video shar­ing plat­forms. More­so than ever before, con­sumers are shar­ing sto­ries about the prod­ucts they are using, gen­er­at­ing con­tent and prod­uct advo­ca­cy that influ­ences the way fel­low con­sumers view prod­ucts. It appears that Canon has been lis­ten­ing to those sto­ries. To give an exam­ple, cre­ative young film­mak­ers have been using high­ly spec’d, but incred­i­bly cheap, Canon DSLRs to pro­duce stun­ning work for a num­ber of years, so much so that the brand will arguably take pride of place as the defin­ing man­u­fac­tur­er of DSLR film­mak­ing cam­eras of the noughties. It’s just one exam­ple of a cus­tomer sto­ry that the brand has ful­ly embraced:

So it’s the way their prod­ucts are being used, rather than the prod­ucts them­selves that is inspir­ing Canon’s ‘See Impos­si­ble’ sto­ries:

People Rather Than Products

It is ulti­mate­ly a sim­ple mes­sage, but one that should­n’t be under­es­ti­mat­ed. Cam­era and optics man­u­fac­tures have always man­aged to pro­duce incred­i­bly strong, emo­tive mar­ket­ing, dri­ven by the pow­er of hav­ing such an expe­ri­en­tial prod­uct to pro­mote, and Canon’s lat­est cam­paign real­ly strikes a chord in the way brands should be lis­ten­ing and respond­ing to con­sumers today. It’s nev­er been eas­i­er for brands to observe and appre­ci­ate the way con­sumers are using, and feed­ing back about their prod­ucts — it’s only nat­ur­al that this should fil­ter into a brands over­all mes­sag­ing. A Canon press release spoke of the brand’s repo­si­tion­ing as a ‘lis­ten­er’ as well as an inno­va­tor: “Canon is work­ing to lis­ten, adapt, and build a pre­scient under­stand­ing of the chang­ing mar­ket forces it faces today and the oppor­tu­ni­ties they present.” Michael Duf­fett, VP and Gen­er­al Man­ag­er of mar­ket­ing at Canon, expand­ed upon how the cam­paign is help­ing the brand move towards greater cus­tomer-cen­tric­i­ty in their mar­ket­ing activ­i­ty:

We’re going to use it as a mes­sag­ing vehi­cle, but we’re also going to use it inter­nal­ly to orga­nize and mar­shal our resources in a way that’s much more cus­tomer-cen­tric than just strict­ly approach­ing every­thing from a prod­uct view­point that we’ve done over the years. Our cur­rent Web prop­er­ties do a great job of talk­ing about the spe­cif­ic prod­uct, but nowhere do we have a real­ly good place to say a par­tic­u­lar com­pa­ny or a par­tic­u­lar pho­tog­ra­ph­er are using our solu­tions.”

Even a sub­tle change in focus can make a dif­fer­ence to the big pic­ture.

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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