Feature Article - May/June 2017

Picture This!

Motivate & Inspire With Digital Camera Incentives

By Emily Tipping

Picture this: A dad's out on a sidewalk, his camera on a tripod, while his wife and three kids, along with 13 of their nearest family members stand on a concrete stoop in front of a screened porch on a warm and sunny Sunday morning. He sets a timer and runs for it, jumping into his spot in the shot just in time.

Now picture this: That same dad, 40 years later, sets up the same shot, but this time, he's in his spot already, using his smartphone to make sure everyone's in the frame, to capture the photo, and then to touch it up and share it with everyone there within minutes.

Picture this: A 10-year-old girl is riding a green bike on a dirt path. She goes flying from a little hill, lands flawlessly and speeds around the turn, thinking, "If only my friends could see this!"

Now picture this: That same girl, 30 years later, riding her mountain bike in Utah, action cam catching the action from her helmet to be shared later.

When you think about it a minute, the evolution of technology in cameras over the past four decades is nothing short of amazing. And just as manufacturers have incorporated ever-more-advanced technology, making it possible to easily catch photos at high speeds, from long distances, even underwater, and then edit and share those images instantly, they also have developed user-friendly features that make it possible for anyone to become a pretty fair photographer. And though smartphones have largely taken the place of many types of digital cameras, there's something to be said for a tool that is designed specifically to perform the task of capturing and preserving the highlights of a lifetime.

"People are taking and sharing more photos than ever before, and now, with cameras offering connectivity, people can take images they are proud of and share them, making cameras more appealing," said Larry Rougas, national sales manager, Photo Specialty, Nikon Inc. A DSLR or an advanced camera is a big-ticket item that stays with a person for years and lets them record memories of their families and adventures."

This lasting appeal and connection with positive life events makes cameras an ideal fit for incentive, reward and recognition programs.

"There is a prestige and brand factor of wearing and carrying advanced amateur equipment," said Matthew Gorman, director, Sales Development eCommerce and Strategy, Canon U.S.A. Inc. "There is also a potential for add-on sales, like better lenses or new equipment, that takes hold as the user develops more of an aspiration to keep spending in the future."

When you think about it a minute, the evolution of technology in cameras over the past four decades is nothing short of amazing.

In addition, said Joe Hafenscher, vice president of sales, Special Markets, Fujifilm North America, digital cameras have " mass appeal to all demographics."

Rougas agreed. "If you are rewarding someone who has a family, loves to travel, enjoys being active or has any other passion, a camera is a perfect gift for them," he said. "Cameras will allow them to capture and keep these special moments forever."

"People will always want the ability to capture experiences as a frozen moment in time, so they can relive them in the future and share with others," said Carey Berg, vice president, Special Markets, Vivitar Sakar. "With cameras, you are also selling experiences and memories, not just a piece of hardware. I think the romance of capturing memories plays directly into the rewards business. They are also a natural fit as a gift for any meeting at a venue where the employees have to travel, so they can capture the sights and sounds of that new place."

The Right Tool

As smartphones have developed better picture-taking functionality over time, camera manufacturers have adapted, developing cameras that can go far beyond what a phone can do. At the same time, they have incorporated connectivity, recognizing that easy sharing is a selling point, too.

Manufacturers have also given attention to making cameras that can go, well, anywhere, with waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof and more.

"People appreciate gifts that will enrich their lives, but are also easy to use," Rougas said. "Connectivity in cameras continues to be a strong trend. Consumers want to have the ability to share their photos with their friends, family and social media channels."

Berg said that the most important features being developed in new cameras enable them to go places and do things that phones can't handle. Rugged, waterproof cameras and action cams are a strong category that is rising in importance.

According to Hafenscher, the " biggest differentiations are much more sophisticated high-end image sensors coupled with superior quality lenses. The combination produces images unparalleled with smartphones." He added that "special-effect features found on these higher-end cameras offer much more creative picture-taking for a true professional look."

Rougas agreed, emphasizing "powerful zoom lenses, larger image sensors, low-light performance, fast focus capabilities and amazing image quality" as advantages of Nikon cameras. "All these features give you the ability to capture special moments like your child's ballgame, your family vacations or your favorite pet."