Brand Watch: Case study - Fujifilm

Exhibitions, sponsorship and product launches fall within the event remit of this dynamic brand.

Known across the globe for its photographic film and stylish cameras, Fujifilm is a market leader in imaging technology products and services, with an annual turnover in excess of £13bn.

In the UK, Fujifilm has been supplying the imaging, printing and graphics industries - as well as consumers, professional and enthusiast photographers - with innovative products and services for more than 25 years.

Proud of its commitment and enthusiasm for new technology, it's no surprise the brand takes events seriously. "They allow us to clearly demonstrate features and benefits of Fujifilm's brand values," says Fujifilm UK Imaging Division PR manager Katie Teesdale.

The brand's events can be seen to come under three distinct headings: exhibitions, product launches and sponsorship. While Teesdale is charged with managing those events that fall into the business category, creative agencies such as Golden Goose PR have been brought in to look after the company's lifestyle events.

EXHIBITIONS

Each year, Fujifilm takes part in a number of what Teesdale identifies as the brand's core events - exhibitions. "These events provide us with a platform to showcase the brand's latest products and services, educate consumers and gain feedback from professionals," she says.

One such event is the annual Photo Marketing Association International Convention and Trade Show, which this year took place at the Las Vegas Convention Centre from 31 January to 2 February.

Every other year, the brand exhibits at the Photokina trade fair in Cologne, the world's biggest trade fair for the photographic and imaging industries, which takes place in September. However, the most significant exhibition on the Fujifilm calendar is Focus On Imaging, Europe's largest imaging show, held at the NEC.

"For us, Focus On Imaging is the most important event because we have the opportunity to speak to consumers, interact, show off new products and find out what's going on in the industry," says Teesdale.

At this year's event the brand launched several models, including the FinePix F100fd, the compact and lightweight FinePix S1000fd and the new J Series of digital cameras - featuring the FinePix J10 and J50 - to an audience of more than 33,000 visitors.

PRODUCT LAUNCHES

For the launch of the Fujifilm FinePix Z10fd model last year, agency Golden Goose PR (GGPR) was employed to come up with a creative campaign.

"The brief was to position the camera as the perfect social gadget and to raise awareness among the target market, namely 16 to 25 year olds," explains joint MD and founder of GGPR Laura Wood.

Working alongside digital agency Soup, Wood and her team devised a strategy that embraced the social networking phenomenon Facebook. After purchasing a sponsored page and creating the Be Part Of The Seen concept, the agency appointed three 'ambassadors' to draw in potential customers.

"The most prominent ambassador was musician and artist Patrick Wolf," says Wood. "The campaign coincided with his UK and US tours, so he kept fans posted on his touring exploits and adventures through his blog, which also included behind-the-scenes photos of the tour." Fans were invited to join the Facebook group, and in doing so were entered into a competition that gave them a chance to win tickets for an intimate private gig.

The second ambassador was Sticky, a free runner from London who kept a photo blog of his exploits. GGPR arranged for Sticky to run a number of British landmarks and he documented this through photographs.

Other ambassadors included fashion graduate Camille Benett (daughter of world-renowned photographer Dave Benett), who reported from backstage at London Fashion Week, and Fifi Brown, best friend of Peaches Geldof and one half of DJ duo the Trash Pussies.

Each of the ambassadors was given a FinePix Z10fd and asked to create a photo blog about their everyday lives. A microsite was embedded directly into the Facebook page, which allowed visitors to explore the functionality of the FinePix Z10fd while participating within the online community.

"The campaign culminated in the Patrick Wolf private gig, which took place at the Grill Room at Cafe Royal on London's Regent Street," says Wood. "More than 40 competition winners attended, alongside media from the music and showbiz press."

As a result of the activity, the FinePix Z10fd exceeded all sales forecasts, with a whopping 100,000 sold over a three-month period. Membership of the Facebook group exceeded 3,000.

SPONSORSHIP

Complementing its own event activity, each year Fujifilm sponsors the Mencap Snap! photo awards, a competition that was created to help people with learning disabilities develop their talents. Each photo entered is accompanied by a story giving a rare insight into the world of learning disability.

Last year's event was held at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Winners received prizes of Fujifilm cameras from stars of stage and screen, including actress Lynda Bellingham and Eastenders star Kellie Shirley (who plays Carly Wicks in the programme), and saw their photographs go on display at the world-famous museum.

The brand has also sponsored one-off projects, such as the Mick Rock exhibition that took place from September 2005 to January 2006 at Urbis in Manchester. Titled Rock 'n' Roll Icons: The Photography of Mick Rock, it featured more than 150 famous portraitures, along with some of his more contemporary work - including Razorlight, Kasabian and The Killers - all of which were printed by Fujifilm.

During the exhibition, Fujifilm also ran a competition giving visitors the chance to win an exclusive, limited-edition signed Rip Art print of one of Rock's most memorable images, as well as a series of specially programmed events, including An Evening with Mick Rock and a photography masterclass.

Furthermore, the event showcased a mini exhibition called 24 Hours in the Life of Mick Rock, where the camera lens was turned on the photographer himself for a day. All the images included in the mini exhibition were taken by Rock's family and colleagues using the FinePix F10 Zoom - the official camera of the exhibition.

The success of these events has no doubt played an important role in Fujifilm's overall brand image, and this is no accident. "We have to be really critical and gauge how much interest we are going to get before pursuing an event," says Teesdale.

"We ask ourselves what hosting it will achieve for the brand. Everything has to be measurable. We don't have the attitude of 'well, if they're doing it, we have to'. Instead, we make sure we have new products to talk about and that the people who are going to be at an event are potential Fujifilm customers."

By adopting such a stringent approach, there seems little doubt that the brand's events will continue to be successful way into the future.

- Facebook event leads to 100,000 camera sales.


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