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Canon clicks on FMCG techniques for hinterland

Saturday, 5 June 2010 - 4:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Apart from strengthening the distribution reach, the company is relying heavily on collaborating with brands that allow Canon promote photography products and photography as a habit.

Canon India, the leading digital imaging company, wants to act like a fast moving consumer goods company (FMCG) in order to drive penetration for its camera products, Alok Bharadwaj, senior vice-president, Canon India, told DNA.

Apart from strengthening the distribution reach, the company is relying heavily on collaborating with brands that allow Canon promote photography products and photography as a habit.

“Photography products like ours are right now only on the surface, with very low penetration levels. We have to expand penetration and for that we have to become like FMCGs,” Bharadwaj said.

The company is also keen to reach small towns better and has started a ‘Canon on Wheels’ drive to cover 38 towns over 18,000 kilometres by February 2011. Seven trucks carrying a range of Canon products are touring each of the towns for a week.

These products are displayed in a floating showroom of 4,800 sq ft area and fetch about 10,000 footfalls.

Collectively thorough these roadshows, Canon is looking at revenues of Rs 10 crore even as it will spend Rs 30 lakh per roadshow.

Bharadwaj said the company has a target to capture 4 million smiles through these roadshows and has so far collected 50,000 smiles across cities like Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Nashik and Pune.

Canon is collaborating with several brands for activities and consumer promotions to uphold its camera and digital printing products. It recently tied up with restaurant chain McDonald’s where on purchase of a Happy Meal, Canon would click and print pictures of customers for free. It did similar collaborations with PVR Cinemas, BigAdda, Yamaha (music) and others.

“Every company thinks that a customer is a standalone customer but the customer doesn’t think of one brand. Brands have some connection with each other in consumers’ minds. Most brands that occupy in the same bracket can benefit. There are tremendous ways in which brands can collaborate,” Bharadwaj said.

The company is organising wedding photography and 3D photography seminars for kids in smaller towns.

“Cameras have only over 3% penetration in Indian households.

There are only 6 million digital cameras for 230 million households in this country while overseas 70% households have cameras,” Bharadwaj said.

Bharadwaj said that Canon’s major investment this year will be in creating infrastructure of service centres, opening new showrooms for business and consumer products (exclusive retail stores) and expanding offices. The company is looking at spending Rs 100-120 crore on marketing this year and expects a 43% growth in turnover.

“We are expecting to reach Rs 1,200 crore turnover this year,” Bharadwaj said.

On institutional business front, the company’s engagement with the government has gone deeper and Bharadwaj said that about 20% of revenues for Canon this year will come in from government business.

“We are now seeing the UID project (Unique Identification Authority of India) starting off. Right now they are doing it on a pilot basis but we are talking to them for collaboration when they roll it out. We are already deploying our cameras for the passport project, which will have TCS as a system integrator.”

In healthcare segment, where Wipro Healthcare is working with the government to modernise government hospitals, Canon’s scanners, printers and cameras are already being used to digitise patient patterns.

“In area of surveillance and security, in the area of digitisation using scanners and in the area of image capturing using cameras we fit with regard to any government projects lined up. Since most government projects are coming up with private-public partnership, we align with government to understand the opportunity and system integrators to leverage that opportunity,” he said.

Canon’s market share in laser printing is now 34.5%, while in copier multi-functions the company is currently leading the market.

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