Guest post: Four photography brands that are nailing their digital marketing

In a digital age where consumers focus on the instant gratification of visuals and the attractive aesthetics of social media, photography brands have a head start against the rest.

With a strong emphasis on imagery, an easily marketable product, and the ability to gather and utilize user-generated content for their own promotional gains, it’s not surprising that photography brands are nailing their digital marketing.

Of course, some are better than others. We’ve gathered the top four photography brands that are truly smashing their digital marketing. Read on to find out who they are, what they do, and how you can learn from them.

1.   Canon: nailing user-generated content with vibrant visuals


Canon Instagram homepage

Leading the charge in expert digital marketing surely has to be Canon. Renowned worldwide for being arguably the best in the business when it comes to their products, Canon has made sure that they have also stayed relevant with their marketing.

Over the last few years, Canon has shifted their digital marketing to appeal to a market that now does a lot of their social surfing through mobile.

Through Canon’s use of user-generated content (UGC) in their digital marketing, they have widened the lens to showcase not only their products, but also their online community.

Canon has created Instagram accounts and Facebook pages for each country or area that they have a large presence in, ensuring that local communities are built around their brand and that content can be made far more relevant to their target audience.

The photography giant has also created a centralized Canon Photos Instagram account, showcasing and creating inspirational travel content from their online community. Currently boasting an incredible 2.6 million followers, the company expertly takes advantage of people’s eagerness to share vibrant, inspirational photos from across the world.

UGC is an extremely powerful tool that helps to reinforce the consumer-brand relationship, and strengthens the brand community as a whole. By featuring images from budding and professional photographers alike, Canon broadcasts them to a huge audience and bumps their visibility in a fun and exciting way. This shows followers that they are valued and connected to their brand, turning prospective consumers into loyal brand ambassadors over time.

2.   Nikon: reaching a wide audience with inclusive marketing

Nikon is another pioneering photography brand when it comes to digital marketing. The photography company has grown into an international brand over recent years, and this is in part down to their continual innovative marketing efforts.

They’ve always been on the ball when it comes to their marketing campaigns — remember the Coolpix advert from a few years ago? Here’s a reminder:

The catchy TV commercial featured the perfect hopeful/nostalgia-inducing song (Radical Face’s “Welcome Home, Son”) accompanying home-shot videos and photos taken by a range of different Nikon customers, including some famous faces. It showed that photography didn’t have to be an exclusive club, and that Nikon had a range of products for all levels of photography. It wasn’t the quality or perfection of the content that hit home with viewers — it was the emotion.

Since then, Nikon’s digital marketing has gone from strength from strength, partnering with SXSW to be the exclusive camera for the music event, and capturing new fans with their cross-promotion, engaging with UGC, and promoting their annual inclusive Nikon Photo Content.

The brand’s most recent global campaign, “Capture Tomorrow,” is designed to promote Nikon’s new product, the Z series, and showcase professional and amateur photographers as well as the cameras.

3.   GoPro: using movement & adventure to disrupt and own their niche

Truly pros when it comes to digital marketing, GoPro is currently on 15 million Instagram followers and a 10 million-strong Facebook community. It’s not too surprising, considering they post exhilarating extreme sports videos and vertigo-inducing photos that will either make you wish you were there or need a lie-down.

GoPro is another brand that relies heavily on user-generated content, but in this case, by using a lot of fearless and fascinating extreme sports and stunts videos (although, of course, they do feature many awesome still images).

The concept of movement — usually fast, with an element of danger involved, and sub-zero levels of coolness — is a core trope that GoPro’s digital marketing is centered around. Their videos reel people in, wide-eyed, heart racing, and desperate to know what happens next.

It’s something the brand has even included on their Facebook page — with a cover video. Facebook cover videos are still relatively new and exciting, so GoPro including one of these on its brand page immediately makes it stand out from the crowd. They’re in good company —  here are some of the other innovative brands using Facebook cover videos to draw viewers in and introduce their brand voice and values quickly with eye-catching visuals.

The association between GoPro’s marketing and their product is clear: if you buy a GoPro, you could be cool and exciting too. This is only reiterated by GoPro’s partnership with various extreme sports big names and influencers.

4.   Polaroid: making a comeback with a colorful rebrand

A few years ago, if someone had asked you to name a top photography brand, you probably wouldn’t have gone for Polaroid. Yes, the brand had been synonymous with 70s pop culture, but in an age of digital photography, an analog camera brand’s days were surely numbered.

Not so. Polaroid has made a spectacular comeback in the last couple of years, rising from the brink of extinction to some very respectable sales numbers.

One of the main reasons for their success? Their awesome digital marketing efforts.

Polaroid has regrouped and rebranded, focusing their marketing at millennials and Generation Z: the new kids on the block. By appealing to the hipster-led vintage trend, Polaroid has made their cameras desirable and quirky. Retro is now relevant.

Just take a look at Polaroid’s Instagram account. It’s strikingly difficult to the Canon Photos Instagram account: where Canon tends to share awe-inspiring natural photography, Polaroid has gone fun, fresh and poppy. Posts are full of bright colors, unusual compositions, and young, attractive subjects.

By leaning heavily on aesthetics, and combining their own marketing imagery with curated user-generated content, Polaroid is not only surviving but thriving.

These are four photography brands that have really nailed their digital marketing. By creating a distinct brand voice in their target market and choosing to focus the majority of their marketing efforts on user-generated content to create strong brand communities, they have all become digital marketing masters in their own right.

By Patrick Foster

Ecommerce Tips is an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. Start growing your business today and check out the latest on Twitter @myecommercetips.