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Essay: Fujifilm: The Rise and Fall of Instant Print Cameras

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  • Subject area(s): Sample essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 981 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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After analyzing their internal and external environment, Fujifilm has integrated a variety of business method to realize their goals. From building their strength to fulfill market needs and opportunity to overcome their weaknesses which also include their product uniqueness and innovation. This section concentrates more on elementary strategies such as the survival in the 21st century, product differentiation, marketing and innovation. In the early days, Fujifilm is well known of their film manufacturing for photography. Fujifilm became the most favorable choices when it came to film purchasing no matters for amateur or professional photographer. In 1998, Fujifilm introduced an instant camera which is the Instax mini 10. The camera was a hit and sales peaked for several years and began to drop when entering the 21st century. This happens as the digital photography started evolving and modern smartphones started taking place. It takes slower steps for Fujifilm to gain their strength back and cope with the modernization. Fujifilm started analyzing their strength that is their advanced in imaging technology of instant printing camera. The founder of Fujifilm stated that they want to protect the movement towards analog product as soon as they noticed the potential in the traditional photography printing. Fujifilm has collaborated with Polaroid in the Instax production and promotion. When the original Polaroid patents expire, Fujifilm has become the only sole manufacturer for instant film cameras making it was the only kind that available when they resurfaced the market in 2008. With its sleek-looking camera that produce credit-card size instant prints, Fujifilm was able to sell the Instax camera for about 5 million unit per year. Nevertheless, it also was the most selling item on Amazon followed by the Instax mini films. Nowadays, Instax mini camera was not a stranger to the society that some of the youngsters could recognize it as the Polaroid camera.

Fujifilm core competencies are their differentiation of products. Fujifilm are recognized as the leaders in the instant print camera leaving any other companies such as Polaroid Inc. behind it. It is well known of having a high technology in instant film printing but also maintaining its capability as an easy-to-use device. Basically, Fujifilm offers five different Instax cameras and a mini Instax printer. It started off with the Instax mini cameras as in their 7th,8th and 9th edition. It is the cheapest among their Instax camera and the most basic one which suitable to almost everyone even kids range from 4-5 years old as it is easy to handle. The next Instax cameras are mini 70 and mini 90 which offers more features than the former model and of course, more detailed shots of manual photography. These Instax mini 70 and 90 also offers a more retro looking design of its appearances with color variation which creates a nostalgic feeling while using them. Not just that, Fujifilm keeps coming out with more Instax camera’s model such as the latest, Instax square SQ10 and also Instax wide 300. SQ10 comes out with a different pattern and size of the instant print that is a ‘square on square’ pattern. Same goes to the Instax wide 300 which prints out a rectangular size of instant film. Every each of these Instax cameras have different capability that suits the user’s need and affordability but provides the same old feeling of having a fresh printed film on the palm of the hand. Just when users think Fujifilm could not have been better with all these Instax cameras, Fujifilm just had to introduce another device which is the Instax mini printer that just the same concept of printing films, but from the user’s smartphone. It included Wi-Fi connectivity for smartphones to send the photos that wanted to be printed out immediately. Instax mini printer enables a wider control of your photos and avoid any wastage of films on any damaged or broken shots. Users nowadays are left with more variety of choices on which Instax camera suits them the best.

As for the marketing aspect, Fujifilm has come out with a revival of Instax’s packaging to keep the product up to date towards trend. This renewed packaging has an assortment of physical features such as the hello kitty series, sizing features and variety of colors to choose from pastel to bold that lead to gain attraction from youth fashion and culture. This idea can be proved as Fujifilm successfully draw the attention of users in Japan, South Korea and in most Asia’s country who valued this camera not as just a regular camera but as a self-expression tool. These efforts also have come out with a tagline of ‘the world’s cutest camera’ by the marketing team that prone to rise users across Asia.

Fujifilm’s ‘See-Think-Plan-Do’ approach and having innovation at its core demonstrates the company’s serious acknowledgment for the need of research and development in order to stay innovative, connected to its target market, and ultimately, sustainable. To stay connected to its target market in a world where digital cameras were becoming increasingly outdated due to smartphones, developing new technologies and products through its R&D was, and continues to be, paramount. Management continued to invest into R&D despite declining sales and foregoing short term profits. With major focus on R&D, Fujifilm endorses improvement in “basic competency” when training employees. Basic competency is essential in staff’s ability to comprehend the broader scope without being restricted by one’s specialisation. This is complemented by the convergence of expertise and R&D specialists pertaining to different backgrounds of expertise. This dynamic process of knowledge convergence external and internal to the company and its ability to restructure horizontal boundaries in response to dynamic external forces. This business model firm specific advantage has assisted Fujifilm in keeping up with global trends and enabled the company to sustain itself amidst the rapidly ever-changing technological world, ultimately giving rise to its overall sustained success.

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