Matthew Miller
Mar 21, 2019

Why Canon is helping users rent their kit to each other

A platform for short-term rentals is part of an ongoing effort by the camera maker's Oceania unit to overhaul its brand experience.

Why Canon is helping users rent their kit to each other

Canon Australia has launched Kyōyū, an online platform that facilitates the short-term rental of cameras and lenses within the brand's user community. 

Kyōyū (which means "share" in Japanese) came about via Leo Burnett Sydney's business design consultancy, The Diner. The agency and client worked together to develop the "disruptive business model", including the concept, design and user experience. Canon’s in-house team built the platform.

Owners can list the gear they'd like to make available for rent, and those in need can easily search for a particular lens, or a camera body with specific capabilties they need for a short time. Canon takes a 30% commission on transactions, which pays for insurance and to maintain and extend the platform.

Jason McLean, director of consumer imaging at Canon Australia, said experiential innovations over the last five or six years gave it confidence the offering would be effective.

"Giving people easy access is the key to opening people’s eyes to the potential of our gear for them," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. Events held under the rubric of The Canon Collective, as well as an experience centre in Melbourne, have proven this to be the case. "You can’t appreciate the possibilities reading spec sheets or brochures or looking at gear through glass cabinets," he said. "We have a community of 50,000 Canon Collective members in Australia, and we know from our direct engagement with them that the ability to try gear is instrumental in their decision to continue to invest in their kit."

However, future sales are not the only motivation for the gear-sharing initiative. "The other reason simply comes down to offering value beyond the product," McLean said. "If you choose Canon you gain immediate access to all the value that comes with your camera. In this case it’s the opportunity to earn money from your gear when you aren’t using it, or access to gear you don’t have when you need it."

Elements including inspirational content, local servicing and warranty support are also important parts of an end-to-end consumer experience. "Ultimately, we want people to ask themselves one question: 'Why wouldn’t I choose Canon?'," McLean said.

After the evaporation of the point-and-shoot market and the shift to high-end categories, re-engineering the brand experience was a matter of survival for camera makers, and McLean argues Canon's efforts have been successful. 

"We have actively evolved and redefined Canon’s role in the lives of our users from just a product wholesaler to an experience facilitator before, during and after the purchase," he said. "Our efforts have seen consumers deepen their engagement and satisfaction in the photo category, and Canon Oceania continues to buck global market trends as the No.1 region for the past five years."

Leo Burnett Sydney also developed a launch campaign for Kyōyū, which is rolling out across social and digital.  

"We’ve worked with Canon for many years, and they’ve always had an appetite for innovation," Melinda Geertz, Leo Burnett Australia CEO, said in a release.

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