Olympus is aiming its Pen compact system cameras at young, fashion-conscious women who do not fear the lack of a viewfinder, hoping they will promote the brand through social media, the firm tells AP in an exclusive interview

Picture above: Toshi Terada

Explaining the rationale behind the recent launch of the Pen E-PL7, Mark Thackara, national marketing manager for consumer products at Olympus UK, said: ‘Basically we were so fed up with people saying “why hasn’t [a Pen] got a viewfinder’, that we launched the OM-D.’

After much discussion Olympus bosses realised they needed to target people who don’t complain about a lack of viewfinder.

The move follows Olympus’s success in marketing its CSCs to females in the Japanese market.

‘Those types of users are also looking for something that looks professional, not a toy,’ said Toshi Terada, a products planning manager at Olympus Japan (pictured above).

Thackara added: ‘Essentially, [the target market] is people under 30 who use a phone and don’t really know what a viewfinder is.

‘If you take that to the next stage, it’s a simple case of the compact market disappearing because everyone’s got a cameraphone.

‘That’s polarising into special interest hobbies, but there’s still this reasonably large group of people who are a little bit ambitious about their photography, and who like the idea of being creative.

‘So, you marry the whole thing together, and the reason for the positioning we are using with “fashion” is because – from lot of research we have done – this is what everybody loves to talk about.

‘Not only is it very visual but it’s one of the most discussed, shared topics…’
Olympus Pen E-PL 7Image: The Olympus Pen E-PL7, launched last month, was very overtly aimed at the selfie generation

He said that some people realise that if they get a good quality image on a blog then they ‘get better traffic’, without the need to carry around a large SLR.

At the same time, Olympus hopes that fashion opinion formers will promote the Pen camera through their social media presence.

Thackara said Olympus realised it must ‘talk to right audience’, rather than targeting the wrong people.

He suggested photo enthusiasts should buy a OM-D E-M10 if they want a viewfinder.

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