Ge vs. Cannon

After listening to the interview with Mr. Tsuneo “Neo” Imai, I gained a lot of knowledge about Canon Digital System in the United States as a company and learned about their marketing strategies versus US marketing. The culture in Japan, where the company started, is very different from the culture in the US. Employees are treated as an investment for the first 10years, being trained and treated like a family. People tend to stay and work for the same employer for life. Even after the retirement people in the company are still in contact with retirees just like in a real family.

They keep relationships for life. It develops a sense of belonging as well as partnership with employees working together for the good of the company. He describes how everyone comes from the “bottom” and everyone learns within the company. There are pros and cons about this system. Pros are that there true investment in employees which develops a great amount of trust among people. Employees feel they will never be abandoned or betrayed by the company. Cons are that there is no access or experience from other companies coming from outside and everyone in the company has to make a conscious effort to improve.

This environment can develop a too comfortable atmosphere and employees need to be encouraged to improve. 13 years ago Neo installed first DR x-ray equipment in Cleveland Clinic. He and his team installed a prototype of DR overnight. He did get a negative reaction from techs like the fear of eliminating the people to take x-rays. He had to go through several months of testing the equipment, studying the protocols, preparing images for PACS and radiologists and hiring a statistician. After 4 months of intense work they submitted clinical test for FDA approval. It started with a prototype and ended up with a product ready for US market.

The Japanese culture provided a great advantage to product adoption in US market called “gemba”. It means you get direct feedback from the customer, working in the field, a real place and not a big corporate office. It lets company customize or adjust the product based on customer needs. It works quicker in terms of gaining trust in the product than going through bureaucratic channels like in major corporations in US. It leads to trust in that brand, referrals and allows market new future developments from that company without going through the introduction phase.

For the first 10 years Japanese, in this case Canon, invest in their customer base according to their business plan. The primary difference between how the Japanese advertise and how Americans advertise is that in US companies develop this “hype” of the brand or a product by doing a big advertising campaigns, without investing so much in the customer base or even ignoring the competition. Japanese marketing is based on customer loyalty, results, and trust in the brand or a product which in turn develops into quantifiable results on repeated basis.

Japanese can learn some things from the US marketers like researching the best customer base and apply marketing or even develop a new product, like a minivan in Ford example, for that specific base. American corporate marketers or leadership can learn a great deal from Japanese like investing in their employees to develop a sense of belonging and trust in the company and build their customer base in the way so they will become company’s advocates. Canon: The Company In 1933, a small laboratory dedicated to making high-quality cameras was set up in a simple apartment room in the Roppongi area of Tokyo.

At the time, all high-quality cameras were European with the majority coming from Germany. It was in this small room that young people with a big dream earnestly began their work on producing a high-quality Japanese camera, marking the beginning of Canon. They eventually succeeded in building a prototype, which was named Kwanon after the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The following year, in 1935, Japan’s first-ever 35mm focal-plane-shutter camera, the Hansa Canon, was born, along with the Canon brand. I have found several tag lines from Canon which are “Delighting you Always” and “You Can”.

They offer a wide variety of product lines like consumer and home office, office equipment, production printing, professional imaging products, broadcast and communications, healthcare technologies, semiconductor equipment and industrial products. On their website under Investor Relations Look I have determined that they are meeting the shareholders goals and was very pleased to find out such a variety of company’s financial information. As a potential shareholder I would not hesitate to invest into the company with such transparency in their financial standing.

I read almost all of the quarterly financial announcements made by the CFO including quarterly Results, Projections and Financial situation. Again, the financial transparency is a huge plus in my book. As an administrator of this company I would learn different marketing strategies from other companies or even other countries. This company’s biggest strength is investment in customer relations, building a trusted brand while still maintaining the Japanese business culture over the years. Human investment and customer loyalty are best investments for any company.

To market that strength, I would apply “gemba” and use actual people like Neo, to come back to field and serve the customer and promote a great workplace environment like Canon. The greatest weakness in this company would be not using enough TV and any other advertisement sources. Flashy commercials are what consumers use to seeing around the world. Another weakness in this company is that it takes a little more time to develop a product when other companies are more technologically competitive with each other and faster with new development. I would minimize these weaknesses by combining marketing approaches from Japan and US.

I would develop a new 10 year business plan with a balance of investments in customer loyalty and trust in the brand with the “advertising hype” as Neo calls it, for example using Social Media which is a great new source of business development. LinkedIn can provide a great access to key business professionals in the health field. Facebook and Twitter are more for younger generation and could be used for office and home equipment advertisement for Canon. Another great marketing strength would be an online product ordering system and product customization, like in HP and Dell.

On US website I have found a great amount of information about their products and no way to place an order. If a consumer wants to buy the product he or she would want to order it right away and not find a place or another website to buy it from. GE: The Marketing approach General Electric originated in 1892 when Thomson-Houston Electric and Edison General Electric merged. Initially focusing on products such as toasters, motors and light bulbs, it is now a diversified company composed of media, financial services and technology divisions.

General Electric also known as GE is involved with a lot of great electrical products 10 years ago GE had no marketing strategy. For many years the company relied on its technology and had confidence in their products that believed that these products can market themselves. People designated as marketers were assigned to sales support (lead generation and trade shows, for example) or communications (advertising and promotional materials). At best it was considered a support function; at worst, overhead. But things were changing.

The businesses were maturing, and like other companies, GE was learning that it could not win simply by launching increasingly sophisticated technologies or by taking existing technologies to new markets. GE’s solution was to focus on growth from within, across all businesses—a shift from the past, in which the top line was grown primarily by acquisition and the bottom line by seeking out efficiencies. CEO Jeff Immelt issued a mandate that marketing should be a vital operating function across GE that spurred organic growth.

Recognizing that marketing was vital to all GE units was one thing. Acting on that recognition was an entirely different matter. The marketing team took on the challenge of identifying and clearly collecting the modern-day skills it needed. They arrived at new ways of thinking about marketing skills and about how to compose a first-rate marketing team. Promotion: * In 2001, General Electric selected Responsys, Inc. , as the preferred vendor to implement GE Services Network’s email marketing programs. * GE’s slogan “we bring good things to life’ is among the most recognizable in the world.

* General Electric has used co-branding to market its products, including Calphalon and Lenox. Process: * The General Electric Company, with the assistance from the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey and Company, pioneered the nine cell strategic business screen used to identify the most favorable position with attractive growth opportunities as well as competitor strength. * In the 1950s GE produced the famous “blue books” — five volumes of detailed guidance for its managers. * GE management has utilized techniques such as leadership development, Work Out, and Six Sigma.

* Current GE leadership is reemphasizing its scientific research labs and marketing function. * General Electric undertakes a constant appraisal process that involves firing its bottom 10% employees each year. * GE strives to accomplish its goals with four core values in mind: imagine, solve, build, and lead. * General Electric (GE) had used the “Lateral Diversification Strategy” as its growth strategy – marketing new products or services that have no technological or commercial synergies with current products, but which may appeal to new groups of customers. Investing In People:

* General Electric employs an integrity policy called “The Spirit & The Letter” which every employee supports with a signed pledge. * GE employs a regulators process which encourages employees to report unethical activities without fear of reprisal. General Electric implements flexible work arrangements in order that employees may achieve a work and life balance. * General Electric provides an employee and retired employee outlet store with discount products. * GE utilizes skills-based customer service routing technology, GE directs your call to the service or support rep most qualified to answer your question.