It was in 2007 that Japanese imaging giant Nikon set up its India operations, which currently contributes to 1 per cent of Nikon Corporation\’s global sales. While the brand has a strong presence in the D-SLR (digital single lens reflex) segment, in the point-and-shoot (compact) camera segment, Nikon is fast reaching the top spot. Here we have MD of Nikon India, Mr Hiroshi Takashina, speak to us about Nikon\’s future in India.
- At an era when technology is polishing up at the wink of an eye, what strategies do you pick to keep in pace with it?
Technology is ever evolving and gets more advanced with time. At Nikon, we aim to be ahead of the curve and futuristic in approach. There is intense R&D behind every Nikon product that\’s developed and the technology we incorporate in each of them is not a result of following the trend, but being trend setters instead. Our latest offering the Nikon 1 is a wonderful example to substantiate this claim. With this new series we have defined a whole new category in the industry. In fact, it\’s the world\’s smallest and lightest camera in the world with interchangeable lens versatility and an electronic viewfinder (EVF). The New Nikon 1 J1 and Nikon 1 V1 Cameras with 4 new interchangeable lenses and World\’s fastest continuous shooting and auto-focus system.
- Where do you think the next phase of growth in the Indian tech market will be emerging from?
India has been witnessing rapid adoption of consumer electronics such as mobile phones, digital cameras, personal computers and digital music players. Today\’s consumers want more out of everything a lot more ease of use, more value for money, more connectedness to their businesses and family and certainly more entertainment. Growing availability and accessibility is one of the reasons for the stupendous growth that the digital camera market is seeing in India and Nikon is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the needs of these large, fast-paced markets.There is tremendous potential in Tier 2 markets as well. Consumers across India are well aware of what products are in the market and the quality individual brands deliver. While Tier I markets have been the primary growth drivers for Nikon too, but in the last couple of years we have seen a huge spike in demand from the Tier II and Tier III markets for both the SLR as well as compact category. The consumer has evolved and is demanding higher quality images even in these non-metro cities. The reason for such trend change has been the quest for a better photography experience because of high consumer knowledge due to access and exposure to various information sources.
- What has been your strategy (for your brand)
India is clearly the most prospective market for Nikon considering the huge middle-class population with growing purchasing power. To support this growth, we have already established proper service and sales channels with 22 Authorized service centers, 51 collection centers, 30 distributors and over 3000 partners spread all across India. Further, we are committed to providing the best-in-class products and services to our customers and are very confident of our products and technology. We are currently the market leaders in the D-SLR segment and plan to increase our share of the compact digital camera segment. Our philosophy of trustworthiness and creativity has helped us introduce products that have met needs of the market and exceeded expectations.In the last two years, we have tried to make our offerings & value proposition to consumer so competitive that it appeals to a large consumer base. We are now offering the highest quality products with best price points, extended warranty, free memory card and other valuable freebies so that the customer can enjoy the product with no dissonance. With our shop-in-shop concept of D-SLR and COOLPIX Zones, best-in-class service support network and call centre backup, it is now easier for a customer to buy the cameras from a nearest outlets. To reach out and appeal to the Indian youth & masses we have strategically chosen Priyanka Chopra as our brand ambassador last year. We have supported all these developments by creating more awareness among consumers through a 360 degree marketing campaign.
- What reforms do you expect from the Government of India which will favor the tech industry?
The camera industry is still in the growing phase in India and a lot of efforts are required from both the manufacturer & governments end to make the product accessible to the consumer. The industry was taken by surprise when excise duty was increased in this budget. We have been requesting the government for possible reduction of taxes on cameras and lenses so that we can pass on the benefit to the end customers.
- How do you keep your business focused? Any suggestions for entrepreneurs who are experiencing challenging times?
A focused business is driven by passion and clarity of your brand\’s vision. For Nikon, we believe we are an institution of creativity and our products not only deliver superior quality, but also helps enhance the users\’ creative abilities and skills behind the camera.There will however always be challenges in various forms- competition, legal road-blocks etc. But striving for excellence and knowing what your company and the people it entails does best is how you keep your business focused.
- How much have you been able to cater the rural market?
Looking at the previous year the growth of the rural markets in absolute percentage has more than the urban markets. We have increased our channel base across India to make our product available in these regions.
- Do you have any surprises in store for the world? If Yes then by when can we expect the kitty out of the bag?
We recently launched the Nikon FX-format camera D4 that serves as the new flagship model in Nikon\’s lineup of digital-SLR cameras. Nikon India also announced the highly anticipated D800, engineered to provide extreme resolution, astounding image quality and valuable video features optimized for professional still and multimedia photographers and videographers.Recently in March we have introduced the revolutionary Nikon 1 series in India. This revolutionary series includes two models- the Nikon 1 J1 and the Nikon 1 V1. The Nikon 1 J1 is an advanced camera with interchangeable lenses that opens the door to a fresh way to capture pictures and High Definition (HD) movies. The camera is a simple to use conduit for creativity, seemingly anticipating a consumer\’s needs in any situation. The Nikon 1 V1 is for photo enthusiasts who value interchangeable lens versatility and desire a small form factor.Any new developments will be shared subsequently. 2012 is going to be an exciting year for Nikon.
- What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Customer First is the best advice that I\’d got at the starting of my career and I think that it is still the most important advice for our business.
- What\’s your opinion on social media?
Social media is certainly the platform to be present, especially if you want to engage in two way communication with your customers. Nikon India has a facebook page and a twitter handle with loyal following.Social media is a powerful tool to assess what the consumer desires and today plays a major role in making products tailor-made to customer needs.
- Books that have recently kept you busy?
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- The first three things you do on a Monday morning once at work/ How do you beat Monday morning blues?
I first greet my colleagues and then turn on my computer to begin the day. I don\’t have Monday morning blues.
- Your 1st achievement
My best achievement till date has been the rapid growth of Nikon Brand in Indian Market with my very best team.
- Your views on 3D Movies & 3D Content
3D will be one of the key element of any Imaging or Visual products, but the variation of contents is not yet enough to be accepted by normal consumers largely.
- Must have Winner qualities guide the young Exhibit readers.