Apple one of the most recognizable brands in the digital technology industry is entering in to a co-branding deal with Leica a leading camera producer. The landmark deal is projected to not only see marginal growth in either of the company’s profits but also help establish Apple as a camera manufacturer and grow Leica’s reputation in the camera industry. All this is expected to result in significant growth in both companies over the next few years. The technology industry is an ever-growing one. Every other day a new product is introduced in the market or an already existing product is put on the market with more features or easier usability with the hope from the manufacturers that an existing gap will be filled by the latest introduction. More often than not most manufacturers of these products come up with basically the same products with almost similar features and so the real winner is usually defined by the level of strategic marketing employed, the pricing model and in a big way the brand of the product. It is therefore not enough for a digital technology firm to rely on only one area to reach their goals. Product quality and the level of marketing and branding now go hand in hand. Therefore, it comes, as no surprise that co-branding would be an option both Apple and Leica would seriously benefit from.
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Technological products market is probably one of the most volatile ones, as a product can be rendered virtually obsolete in less than a year due to the competitive and continually innovative nature of the industry. Before the introduction of a new product, like the Apple-Leica camera , that is going to have a perceptible effect on the market several unique advantages have to be engaged ranging from product features to the marketing strategies and also in a big way the brand following and market share of Apple and Leica respectively.
The target market is usually for a technology product is a tricky bit right from manufacturing and design of the product to the marketing strategy. This is because the various needs of the target market are to be considered. An internet savvy segment may put a higher importance on the ability of the product, to allow it to link to the internet. A professional may overlook both of these to get a product with the best software to help his/her use of the product e.g. in the case of a camera easy and efficient photo viewing and editing softwares. The younger hip generation will most certainly go for the latest and most fashionable brand as portrayed in the pop culture.
All these factors in consideration co-branding may help a company which though strong in one sector be able to derive several benefits from another company’s strengths and vice versa. This may have long-term financial advantages long after the co-branding agreement is terminated between Apple and Leica.
Current Marketing Situation
Leica, being an already established dealer in digital cameras will provide immense support by utilizing its existing camera marketing channels to market the Apple-Leica digital camera.
Of great importance also will be Apple’s marketing channel being used to market this camera as a new product to be sold under their brand.
The product is a modern day digital camera with extra features for the more sophisticated user as well as a regular user who will enjoy better quality and more services in the use of this revolutionary digital camera.
Benefits and product features
The camera in easy to use and enjoys Apple brand’s unique multi-touch screen interface already familiar with most Apple customers who have had experience with I-phones, Apple computers and even the recently unveiled I-pad. Notable features includes its high speed, large internal memory, high internet connectivity options, sleek design and a range of colors to cater for all tastes. The high quality of its digital photo and video recording, the powerful zoom ability ,over 12 Mega pixels resolution in some of the models coupled by the high quality of its videos, a feature not common in the existing cameras in the market and easy to use photo and video editing feature crown the high quality digital camera.
The freshness it brings to the market is not only a fashion and a professional statement but also a new standard for the digital camera and the entire technology industry.
Just as any other product, trying to enter an already developed market the new camera is bound to experience quite a bit of cometition from several sides. One of the major competitors will be other manufactures of digital technology products such as LG, Sony, and Samsung
Technology products fitted with digital technology photo and video features such as smart phones will be of noticeable effect to the Apple-Leica digital camera’s market share e.g. Blackberry, Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia. The presence of cheap lower quality cameras and counterfeits in the market will need considerable consideration.
Channels and logistics review
The marketing channels of both Apple and Leica will of great importance in ensuring the availability in the market and in helping know the demand for the product in the same.
Logistic teams of both Apple and Leica will need to work together to exploit fully the benefits of their combined pool marketing resources available at their disposal.
One of the major strengths coming with the introduction of the camera in the market will be the backing it will be getting from the two companies putting their weight behind it. Apple is already a well-respected brand in the provision of high quality technology products that incorporate the best features available anywhere in the world. Leica is an already established entity in the digital camera market and therefore has strong marketing channels to help in marketing the new camera.
The co-branding will help solidify each of these corporations’ interests in the market. Apple will get a chance to be a major player in the digital camera industry as Leica will witness a growth in its reputation in the industry. The corporations might be able to cut down on costs by sharing information. The need to pay or conduct research may be eliminated if the other company already has the information. By working together, there is a stronger financial foundation to undertake huge ventures.
Co-branding might lead to the use of each other’s resources e.g. intellectual or marketing for the benefit of the other company since it never helped in their development. The allowing of use of a company’s resources by another company may affect negatively the operations of the company.
Each of the companies will have an excellent chance to learn the way the other conducts its business in the industry and so apply them for their benefit when the contract is discharged.
The companies will be able to share risks and so one company won’t have to bear the entire burden as would be the case if just one of the company had undertaken the venture.
One of the major threats will be the presence of similar products in the market from other brand.
Failure or breakdown in communication between the management teams from the two sides may stall the project or even stop it leading to massive losses.
Objectives and issues
a. First Year Objectives
The first objectives for the product will include its introduction in the market and the creation of a niche for it in the already existing camera market. The two companies will also aim at growing a new customer base and at the same time keep their older clients excited by their latest introduction. Both Apple and Leica will also aim at meeting the sales and revenue target for the year. Apple will also hope in particular to have curved out a niche for its future camera products while Leica’s reputation in the industry is expected to rise significantly.
b. Second Year Objectives
Having been in the market for a year one of the main objectives will be to make sure they maintain the client base they had built in the first year of operation. Another objective will be to attract new customers to become followers of the brand. As is the trend in the technological products market, it will also be necessary to improve on the quality of the features and introduce new features with the product.
Major issues to be handled will be in relation to production, marketing and sales. All these activities have to be handled jointly by the companies to ensure that the common objectives and target concerning the product are met as relates to quality, supply and performance of the product.
The position of the Apple-Leica camera in the market will have to be created using elaborate marketing campaigns before and after the launch of the product. Creating a niche for the product will give it an edge of similar products in the market.
b. Product strategy
The product is made with unique design and features to make it a leader and of its kind in the market. The product is not made to meet the current market standards as regards quality and features, or a “me too” strategy but is meant to set new standards for the camera industry thus establishing it as of its own kind.
c. Pricing strategy
The economic benefits that come with the product being co-produced by two market leaders in their own right will help set competitive prices for the camera.
Apple will not have to spend millions of dollars developing marketing channels for the camera while Leica will not have to spend huge sums of money researching and developing technology to be incorporated in the new product.
d. Distribution strategy
This being a co-branding contract between Apple and Leica, an already established company in the production and sale of cameras, several distribution channels will be available specifically for the new camera. Because this is a high technology product, Apple’s smart phone and computer distribution channels will be used in the distribution.
e. Marketing communication strategy
Marketing communication available will among others, include the internet where quite a large portion of target market might be expected access. Television and print media will also of great importance in reaching an even wider market
f. Marketing research
Market research can be done through market research companies or be conducted by the companies’ research companies independently or jointly.
g. Marketing organization
Marketing will be organized into a series of campaigns targeting various market segments over a period to build up excitement about the new product.
6. Action Programs
a. Company relationships within its departments (production, finance, purchases):
For the effective and smooth running of the entire Apple and Leica Camera project, co-ordination between the departments within the organization have to be maintained.
The production department relies upon the finance department to fund it a production plans as per the budgetary projections set by the management. The production department also expects that the finance department will fund the purchases department to help it in acquiring raw materials to be used in the manufacture of the product. The purchases department has to stay in constant communication with both the finance and production departments, as it will need to obtain funding from one and make timely deliveries to the other.
b. Company relationships with Customers
The relationship between a company and its customer is of paramount importance. The customer’s needs have to be met at all times if the customer is to remain loyal to the brand.
Therefore, issues touching on the quality of the products, their price and even time of delivery or availability have to be respected and attained.
c. Companies relationships with each other
Apple and Leica have to relate with each other at a certain level of respect if a healthy working relationship is to be maintained. Respect for each other’s strengths and weakness as relating to the project has to be maintained without one side trying to patronize or disregard the contribution of the other in the issue.
Schedules will help the two companies keep track of their progress in the production and marketing of their products, and in the determination of their achievements in sales revenue.
b. Performance Standards
These standards are set to gauge the level of achievement of the goals as pertains to sales profitability of the cameras and their addressing of the customers need. These are of great help in developing future marketing plans and pricing strategies.