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Winsor on Leica…

John’s got an interesting post on Leica over at Brandshift. The FT carried a story in the April 16 edition on their continuing woes (annoying subscription required):

"The crisis at Leica, whose cameras were used by star photographers
such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and David Bailey, has deepened in recent
months as sales have slumped and banks have started to terminate credit

Even 100 year old brands need to evolve.
Look at what The Times did in London by moving to a new format – they
reversed a serious circulation slide. As they say, it’s not what you’ve got,
it’s what you do with it. And in Leica’s case, that would appear to be
not much at all.

3 Responses

  1. By Jeremy Pepper on April 20th, 2005 at 12:23 am

    Did Leica do nothing at all, or just not execute well? They have pushed into digital, and while it may have been late coming to the party, it still did make an entry into the consumer digital camera market with their distinctive look.

    Leica is an account that I would love to work on – it’s a great traditional name, and the cameras are great looking.

    In my interview with Lord Chadlington, he noted that a good campaign can kill a bad product faster. Maybe the corollary is that a bad campaign can kill a good product faster as well.

  2. By Andy on April 20th, 2005 at 12:39 pm

    It’s a combination of both I think. They still are a revered product – but appealing to a shrinking audience. Guys like us. And I’m not sure that a big part of it is that they are getting whipped by the tail of digital technology – which is bringing increasing functionality and quality and lower prices. Commoditization doesn’t mean lower quality. The same thing happened in the workstation market (remember SGI?). The notebook market (remember Grid?).

    At the end of the day marketers need to put campaigns aside and look at the fundamental trends shaping a moving markets. Brand and design are insufficient weapons to defend against deep shifts in a market. If you invert this, you see the success of Apple and the incredible demand for the Toyota Prius. Change takes time but once the tipping point is reached your technology had better get moving because your brand and ad campaigns will be of little use in the coming onslaught.

  3. By Bruce DeBoer on April 20th, 2005 at 1:44 pm

    My perception is that Leica didn’t execute well. It’s not important that a brand like theirs be first, but it needs to scream value based on quality. It didn’t succeed.

    They didn’t differentiate themselves based on their brand image; they just threw something out their.

    A friend of mine owned a Leica digital but ended up selling it for a Canon. Perhaps Leica’s tradition of quality and durability isn’t as important as soon as you add electronics with a 1-2 year cycle.

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