One of the first companies you think about when purchasing a digital camera is probably not consumer electronics giant Casio Inc., but the company intends to change that in the future. With a strong brand and almost 50 years experience in the consumer market, Casio executives understand the challenges that lie in front of them and are executing their strategy, making innovation a top priority.
“Generally, Casio as a company is known as an affordable, high-quality consumer electronics firm with a lot of innovations,” Casio President, John Clough told MacCentral. “When we go into categories like cameras where we haven’t historically had a long heritage like a Canon or Nikon, I think the consumer trusts us, but there is also a curiosity factor. We are building our credibility with the consumers in the camera space.”
As digital cameras continue to be one of the most sought after consumer devices, Casio is trying to appeal to old and new camera users alike. With so many film users still in the market, they recognize the importance of appealing to converts, as well as first time buyers.
“We’re trying to position ourselves as not just taking an old 35mm user and converting them to digital, but rather convert users and bring more people into the market,” said Clough.
One of the ways Casio sees a way to increase its overall popularity with consumers is to continue innovating in the market, something Clough said has been high on their list as a digital camera maker from the beginning.
“We were the first to put a cradle in every product in our line; we were one of the first to put large LCD displays in cameras; and we were the first to focus on extended battery life,” said Clough.
While features like a cradle and a larger LCD display are visual items that consumers see when looking at the cameras on the store shelf, other features deeper in the design of the camera are often overlooked by first-time buyers. Extended battery life, fast start-up times and best shot preset modes are only noticed and appreciated after using the camera, according to Clough.
Casio has also not overlooked the importance of a smooth, intuitive interface. With so many features available to consumers, Clough said his company has focused a lot of attention of how consumers will use the device, making the most sought after menu items and features easier to access.
“We’re not the high-end and we’re not the low-end — we really try to design the cameras with an emphasis on ease of use and practical functionality,” said Clough.
What’s next for Casio?
With its focus on the mid-range digital camera market, the next logical step for Casio would be to move up to higher-end camera, perhaps in the lucrative Digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) space. But Clough says its value in the consumer market that his company is after.
“We are not trying to invade the Digital SLR space and we are not trying to be the lowest price out there with the highest number of megapixels. We are trying to go after the consumer value — value not defined as lowest price, but benefits we bring that are real benefits given the price.”
In fact, while Casio plans to continue innovating the digital camera market, the company is looking beyond the camera and planning for what they believe will be the next big consumer product.
“We are excited about digital video — this so-called convergence product, said Clough. “We think we can do it in a way that doesn’t just replicate what’s being done but brings new dimensions of usage to the consumer.”
Overall, Casio’s strategy is squarely focused on bringing innovation to the consumer at a cost that is affordable to its customers, while focusing on what it considers to be the products of the future.
“We are not just trying to do what you did before more efficiently, but also enable you to do things that you never did before with a camera,” said Clough.