Olympus has been in the photography game since introducing its first camera back in 1936, but its future as a major player is at risk now that the company is caught up in one of the largest corporate scandals Japan has ever seen. According to Reuters, the company is reviewing its business structure, and there is speculation that it may be forced to sell off assets to survive.
While the company may be best known for its cameras, its actually built around a $2.6 billion endoscope business, of which it virtually holds a worldwide monopoly. Its camera business, on the other hand, is operating at a loss. According to investment bankers, other camera manufacturers are following the Olympus saga closely, but will likely hold off on making a move until things clear up more.
Ever wonder why certain people always seem to engage in meaningless Canon vs Nikon vs et al. camera brand debates at every opportunity? A recent study conducted at the University of Illinois has found that the more knowledge and experience you have with a particular brand, the stronger your self-esteem is tied to it. Ars Technica writes,
Those who had high self-brand connections (SBC)—that is, those who follow, research, or simply like a certain brand—were the ones whose self esteem suffered the most when their brands didn’t do well or were criticized. Those with low SBC remained virtually unaffected on a personal level.
The residual effect of this is that those with high SBCs tend to discount negative news about their favorite brands, and sometimes even ignore it altogether in favor of happier thoughts.
So that’s why feathers are so easily ruffled when camera brands are bashed…
Ever wonder how George Eastman chose the name “Kodak” for the company he founded?
The letter “K” had been a favorite of Eastman’s, he is quoted as saying, “it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter.” He and his mother devised the name Kodak with an anagram set. He said that there were three principal concepts he used in creating the name: it should be short, one cannot mispronounce it, and it could not resemble anything or be associated with anything but Kodak. [#]
In 1907, Kodak became the first company to integrate its name and look into a symbol, and starting in the 1930’s, Kodak adopted yellow and red as its “trade dress” colors.
Nikon has been doing a pretty good job with its “I AM NIKON” advertising campaign in Europe — so good, apparently, that one Flickr user went as far as to get the slogan tattooed on her forearm. Too bad Nikon chose to run Ashton Kutcher commercials in the US instead of these ads…
Logo designer Graham Smith has a neat project called “Brand Reversions” in which the logo styles of famous companies are swapped with their competitors. Canon and Nikon swap styles in the logos above, while Leica’s famous red dot takes on Panasonic’s Lumix brand name. Check out the rest on Smith’s website.
Fashion label LeSportsac will be joining with Canon in its release of a case designed exclusively for the PowerShot camera, the companies announced today.
No big surprise here; the fashion industry has always worked hand-in-hand with the photography industry. Photography has always played an integral part in marketing fashion.
However, the tables are turning, and designer names are now a major marketing point for photo gear.
Consumer-level cameras are abundant. Every major manufacturer has several new models of point-and-shoots each year, a testament to the power of the consumer in the imaging industry. However, in a market flooded with similar products, manufacturers scramble to distinguish themselves from the next big company.
Last month at PMA, GE announced a new point-and-shoot collaboration with fashion designer Jason Wu called Create by Jason Wu, whose line includes colorful cameras and stylish carrying cases. The cameras will be released this April, but GE’s running a contest this month for autographed editions of the product.
Any thoughts on this trend? Would a designer name interest you next time you shop for a camera?