In July of 2007, Canon — a market leading force in digital camera manufacturing — saw their stock hit an all-time high of $58.85 per share. Later that same year, Nikon — another beast in the imaging space — reached their highest share price (4040 JPY) in seven years on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Both companies were riding a tidal wave in the adoption of digital cameras of all types. These consumer electronics manufacturers — born from the historic keiretsu rivalries, had surfed above the wake of the flood that covered Kodak in its fight to cling to traditional film. But a kaiju was lurking beneath the surface in the shape of a giant Apple.

On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, that very same year — Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the world — first in his traditional turtle-necked presentation at the Apple Developers Conference in January — and finally to consumers on June 29. In its first year on the market, the iPhone was adopted by 1.39 million people worldwide. By 2015, that number had grown by over 16,000% — like 231 million units sold around the world. Nikon and Canon seemed all but swallowed up in the gaping maw of the smartphone sea monster. Both camera makers were middling out at a 30% decline in stock price after falling off the table in 2008.

Equally damaging to Nikon and Canon was the smartphone’s intimate connection with social media — and the ease with which consumers could share digital photos with a single click. Photo editing technology — once the sole domain of professionals — became entangled with the sharing experience. Technology in this realm exploded, as the tools for creation — and building experiences on top of widely used products — was now in the public domain. Disrupters emerged, prices dropped, micro-sized cameras spread like wildfire.

Here we are — almost halfway through 2018 — and the adoption curve for consumer electronics manufacturers has surged past the laggards. In a complex market balanced on a razor’s edge of supply and demand, how can consumer electronics companies evolve to keep pace with this accelerating adoption curve? The answer may seem simple to an objective outsider, like me — but I’d say jump on the curve yourself by diving deep into manufacturing data analytics infused with social intelligence. That aforementioned razor’s edge of supply and demand is not so sharp when you learn about your existing — and potential customers — through an audience insights tool.

For companies like Nikon and Canon — who have done tremendous work to evolve their business models to concentrate on generating revenue from B2B applications of high-tech optics and imaging — learning more about the consumers who are talking about their brands on social media could help swing the revenue pendulum more forcefully back into the B2B realm. Social media marketing for consumer electronics manufacturers can be difficult, but with the right audience insights tool in place, brands can start to mine valuable insights about the customers they still have — and the ones they want to win back.

Social media users talking about these optics giants leave breadcrumbs of information about themselves that can be leveraged to build smarter ad campaigns, social media content, and partnerships with major brands that resonate with core consumers. For example, Nikon and Canon could take the brief summaries of their persona targets above and make the following smart business decisions based on the data provided by their advocates:

  • Advertising: Traditional ads in print and television for Nikon should be targeted to automotive and business niches, while Canon should focus their efforts within music and technology.
  • Content: Keeping advocates engaged with content across all channels should not require guesswork. Nikon and Canon could deploy a strategy that involves showcasing the geographic locales that their consumers have an affinity for — in conjunction with the topics mentioned above in advertising.
  • Partnerships: It’s clear that social media users who are talking about cameras have an interest in technology. Nikon could nurture this affinity through a partnership with Apple for add-on lenses and accessories to enhance the iPhone experience. Canon could travel the more organic route by running photo-filled advertorials on a website like Techcrunch.


Learning more about a target consumer group through an audience insights tool is just the first step for consumer electronics manufacturers who want to ride the same adoption curve that’s propelling their customers. The Synthesio Social Intelligence Suite combines granular persona building technology with social listening to help global enterprises stay ahead of that adoption curve, by leveraging detailed audience insights generated by the influencers driving supply and demand in the industry. Learn more about our enterprise manufacturing intelligence software.