Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing, B2C, Canon Central and North Africa, Mr. Amine Djouahra, spoke with Emma Okonji on the company’s new range of products and its commitment to the Nigerian economy. Excerpts:
Canon has been operating in Nigeria since 2015, what are your business challenges and prospects in the past four years?
Since 2015 that we commenced the Nigerian operations, we have experienced challenges and prospects in our business. Yes there were tough times within the period but we were not deterred by the tough times. At the very beginning of our operations, we were strongly advised not to recruit Nigerians in order to make fast turnover in our business. But we went against that advice and recruited Nigerians, an action that we did not regret for one moment and as at today we have over 60 employees in our Africa operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, and Cote de’Ivoire. We were very fortunate to have recruited Nigerians in our Nigerian operations, because Nigerian youths have proven themselves to have huge potential with high level of education and we are proud of Nigerians in our Nigerian business, because they are instrumental to the success we have recorded in the Nigerian market. When we came to Nigeria in 2015, we invested without allowing the risk factors to deter us. As multinational, we are conversant with risk factors in business and we have ways been handling risk factors in business. Yes we went through difficult period in our business in Nigeria during the fluctuation of naira, but we had since overcome that. The business is becoming exciting for us and we are looking forward to business growth because we have come to stay in Nigeria for a long term business.
Canon recently launched new range of products in Nigeria. How will they enhance Nigeria’s drive for digital transformation?
Digital transformation is a global trend and I am happy that Nigeria is fast advancing in digital transformation. So this range of products are all digital products designed for the Nigerian market that will further boost digital transformation and digital revolution, especially in the Nollywood industry. Our EOS R camera is another value added when it comes to film making. We have made it compact and light to still have quality images that will suit the lifestyles of people in the Nollywood industry.
What are the benefits of the new products to the Nigerian consumers?
As leaders in innovative imaging solutions, Canon has reiterated its commitment to the Nigerian market through the launch of its latest products that will redefine photography and film making in Nigeria. The products are the EOS R Camera, the PIXMA TS9540 Printer and the ZOE MINI Printer. The new range of printers and the camera are poised to expand Canon’s imagery range in Nigeria and help customers manage productivity.
The EOS R System is redefining the frontiers of photography and film making. Its new RF lens mount has been engineered with the perfect blend of optical, mechanical and electronic design to capture unique moments previously seen as very challenging.
A pioneering lens mount built from the best of EOS legacy since its inception in 1987, the EOS System – including Cinema EOS – has grown into the most recognised imaging system in the world.
The Canon PIXMA TS9540 is a compact All-In-One inkjet printer that is capable of A3 printing, with a comparable A4 printer footprint. It delivers professional results with the help of Canon’s class leading fine print head technology and its five individual inks give photos a rich gradation and up to a 100-year album life.
The ZOE MINI is Canon’s smallest and lightest Mini photo printer, the perfect accessory for those who enjoy snapping and sharing treasured moments with family and friends. It features ZINK technology, meaning zero ink is required. With customisation at its foundation, the printer, through the Canon mini print app, offers the option to print not only individual smudge-free and water-resistant 2” x 3” prints or stickers, but also a tile print that is made up of four or nine prints, as well as over ten unique collage templates that print on one 2×3 photo.
To what extent did the first campaign meet its set target?
Canon had a photo competion where winners went home with canon cameras, and this time, we are launching the professional consumer photo competition in Nigeria under the campaign #Mynaijamycanon. The competition is part of Canon’s efforts in enabling and inspiring cinematography talent in this region. The first campaign met its set target and we targeted all Nigerian citizens in that campaign because we have since discovered that Nigerians are very much interested in photography and film making. The campaign was clear. We wanted Nigerians to tell their own story in different categories like the culture, people’s way of life and Nigeria as a country. The engagement of Nigerians on the social media platform in relation to video and photo is quite high. So we saw the first competition as vey engaging, where people had to tell different stories, using photo. Based on the success of the first campaign, we decided to launch another campaign for professional photo consumers, to allow professionals express themselves through story telling, using photographs that will be uploaded for the competition.
How many people have benefitted from the Canon training programme in Nigeria and across African countries?
Our training programme started since 2014 in Kenya, and since then we have trained over 4,800 people in five African countries, and out of that figure, more than one thousand have been trained in Nigeria. They have been trained in photography and film making. Training them was the first step because some of them graduated to become business partners to Canon and some were certified as Canon trainers and they are involved in delivering training programmes for Canon in different African countries, while others established their own photo studios and sales shops, and this is one of the ways that Canon is empowering people in countries where it operates.
How do you address grey market and after-sales support in your business?
We are aware of some substandard products in the grey market that tend to confuse our customers of the original Canon products in the market. People have asked us where they could buy original Canon products and how they could recognise genuine Canon products. Some want to know where they can repair their faulty Canon products and some have asked about extended warranty. To address all these issues, in 2016, we signed a third party service agreement with partners to service and repair faulty cameras locally in Nigeria, and this initiative has saved time and cost for our customers. They are technically trained and supported by Canon. So we have collection points in all most all the cities and towns of the country, from where we pick up faulty cameras that have been recorded for repairs. We send them for repairs, and at the same time, return them after the repairs. In Nigeria, we have extended warranty for all our products that are on sale in Nigeria. We are giving one year extended warranty to make it two years warranty for all our Canon products that were sold in Nigeria. So we have the Canon Central and North Africa (Canon CNA) warranty programme that comes with sticker and a voucher on all products under warranty. As for the grey market, we are aware that people bring in used Canon cameras from other markets and try to sell them in the Nigerian market as new Canon products, but such products do not have the status of Canon warranty. So we are working to raise awareness on the actual new products from Canon and those that are grey.
What is Canon brand commitment to the Nigerian economy after four years of operation in Nigeria?
Our brand commitment is to produce the best camera and printer products for the Nigerian market, we are committed to best quality products and to grow the Nigerian market in the areas of cameras and printers.