How Canon Builds on 40% Y-o-Y Growth Rate, As Brand Targets Market Pinnacle
Somesh Adukia, Sales & Marketing Director, B2C- Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA), strategically manages sales for Canon Imaging products. Somesh whose expertise includes creating vision of sales and marketing strategy, determining strategic business direction and executing plans, was in Nigeria to unveil the Canon My Naija campaign. He spoke with BrandCrunch on the Canon’s strategy to entrench the brand in the consciousness of the Nigerian consumers. Excerpts.
Canon is “late to the party” in the Nigerian market as you seem to explain, what untapped opportunities do you seek to explore in the market?
We are carrying out business expansion in provinces and we also want to launch new kind of product categories. For examples we have seen that Nigerians like photography, DSLR range of camera is very popular but we want to launch a new segment called a middle lens cameras range into the Nigerian market, it’s quite popular in European markets. Based on my understanding of the Nigerians consumers who are doing photography, I think the young generation of photographers will be very happy to possess our middle lens range cameras.
What is special about this camera and why did you think it will suits the needs of the Nigerian market?
What this camera does is, it gives you all the features of DSLR camera but in a compact and stylish design. Truly, a DSLR camera is a little bit bulky but with middle lens cameras, it offers you the features of DSLR camera only with compact and stylish designs and it appeals to the generation of young professionals.
Apart from that, you will be able to replace with Interchangeable lenses so there is nothing called one standard lens which you need to have but with the middle lens cameras you can interchange with many kind of lenses. We also want to launch professional video cameras, these are aimed at the Nollywood industry. Though, we have seen there are potentials professional videos cameras in Nigeria, with Nollywood as the third biggest film industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood, we want to create our Nollywood through our range of professional video cameras. We are quite excited with these opportunities. With our planning and strategies on point, reinforces our confidence to reach our goal by end of 2020.
Over the past three years of your entry into the market (though very late), how has the growth of the Canon brand been in Nigeria?
We have aligned over our distribution networks, we have service networks, we have expanded into big towns like Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and we also plan to enter other cities in Nigeria also. So I would say our progress is quite good but yet we still have a long way to go.
Canon has channel distributors, what is the relationship like, how do you rate their contribution to the business?
I will say excellent. Actually, this is one main reason of our success and also our confidence in the Nigerian market today. We have appointed 7 channels account managers whose responsibility is to only take care of the channels. So we have channel managers for un-organized markets like Ikeja computer village; we have channels account managers for retails channels which are quite progressive as far as the country is concerned. We also have account managers in Abuja and Port Harcourt. So, our relationship with our channels is quite good, we get regular feedbacks from them, we inform them of our strategies and we design our future plans base on the good discussions and feedbacks from the channels partners.
Apart from these key markets, are there plans for other cities in Nigeria?
Yes. As I said we have channels in Lagos, Portharcourt and Abuja already, in near future we are also planning to expand to other cities like Kano.
Looking at Canon sales figures in Nigeria from 2015 till date, how would you describe your position?
It has been quite good. On a year on year basis, we are growing in Nigeria market by moving 40% however, we are not happy with just 40% growth because our potential in the Nigeria market is immense. We started with a zero base but we feel confident that we would be able to achieve our target by the end of 2020. For that purpose, our mid-time strategies are ready and well discussed with our partners, our distributors and we are hoping to attain big progress with today’s unveil of our campaign –My Naija.
With your confidence in Nigeria, where is Nigeria placed in the Canon scheme, can you compare Nigeria to other Markets in Africa?
We have 5 focus markets in the Canon scheme, one of them is Nigeria followed by Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal and Kenya. Nigeria is the top focus market for us because out of our profits in the CCNA, 30% comes from Nigeria so that’s why Nigeria becomes a big focus market for us.
Obviously you don’t have the first mover advantage in Nigeria, you are not the market leader for now, so why do you adopt your new My Naija Campaign?
You are right. The reason is very simple, we have not entered this market before until recently our competitors entered before we did and they were able to capture the mind of the Nigerian consumers. Having said that, once we entered, we got feedbacks from our channel partners, our consumers and we realign our actions. What we realized is, all Nigerian consumers especially the younger generation is actually ready for change, and he is looking for a good change which provides him an edge with the latest technology. Canon is determined to tap into these young users.
How does my Naija campaign come in, what is the tie-in?
Through My Naija campaign, what we want to prove is that we are not just here to capture market share, it is not that we are not here when the time is good and then disappear when the time is not favorable. We entered the Nigeria market when Nigeria was battling with economic challenges because of the oil price that nosedived and because of the currency depreciation but we opened local offices when our competitors are closing their offices in Nigeria, we did the first press conference, we did the first marketing launch event in Nigeria in 2016 and 2017 when people are shutting down show rooms in Nigeria, we are appointing channels and managers. It means we are here for the long haul.
Through the My Naija campaign, we want to reach the common Nigerians who is not a Canon customer now but through this association with My Naija, he registers Canon in his mind set and maybe in future buys a Canon when he decides to buy either a camera, printer or any of the products in our wide range. This is our aim for My Naija Canon campign.
You have built a photography competition into the campaign, what is its relevance?
We do not want to do the standard marketing campaign like billboards or press advertisement which of course, in two months fizzles out. Though, these are part of the campaign but our aim is to have engagements and meaningful interactions with our consumers. When a regular campaign breaks, there is a lot of traffic but once the tempo is down, consumers don’t relate much with it. But through this competition, what we want to do is, interested participants should capture their images, they capture their stories, they upload them on their Facebook pages using the hashtag – #Mynaija this will build a big association with and for the Canon brand . So we are not interested whether he’s using Canon brand or not for this competition but our aim is to expand our association for the long term with the Nigerian consumers. The first three entries adjudged the best stand to win a trip with ace photographer and influencer, TY Bello with the opportunity to create more stories.