Canon hopes to build closer connections with consumers with push into digital

Canon is hoping the launch of its first digital product will help it build closer ties with consumers and prove that it can innovate in the digital, as well as hardware, space.

Canon's Irista photo storage service marks its first push into digital as it looks to build better relationships with customers
Canon’s Irista photo storage service marks its first push into digital as it looks to build better relationships with customers

The company launched digital imaging service Irista in June, which new business developer Floris Oranje tells Marketing Week is the “first example” of Canon moving into the digital imaging space. The service, developed with digital agency Possible, offers free online storage up to 10GB and charges for extra.

Irista, which was developed with digital agency Possible, enters a crowded market where the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud already have hundreds of millions of users. Oranje says Canon signed up more than 100,000 users in the first few weeks after release and that numbers have kept growing “at that pace”.

It aims to differentiate by solving a particular problem for photographers – that of “dispersed photography” where people have their photos and video stored on a range of different devices. It is also focused on the “enthusiast” photographer, with Canon hoping its brand equity and reputation in the camera space will help it attract users.

“Irista was launched to support our ambition for Canon to take a bigger part of the whole photo image experience. We are well known for hardware products but this is our first step into digital imaging,” he says.

While Irista will be a revenue driver for Canon, Oranje says its success will also be judged on the ability to engage with the photography community and boost brand loyalty. Currently most consumers only engage with Canon when they are looking to buy one of its cameras, but the brand wants to improve that connection with users.

“We want to be build a closer relationship with users and their experience of photography. This gives us a direct communication channel with users and allows us to have a much more frequent and direction conversation than we’ve had before. We want to be talking to customers in a more structured basis in terms of frequency, to have a continuous conversation,” adds Orange.

Canon’s marketing also reflects this wider move into photography. Its latest global campaign, “Come and see”, is aimed at broadening the brand’s appeal as consumers increasingly use their smartphones to take photos and videos and share them online.

“Irista is a perfect example of where we are inviting customers to come and see what we have to offer as photography brand,” he says.

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