Emotional Investment

One of the things that the Internet manages to do well even though it wasn't designed for that, is give you a sense of people's emotional investment in products.

Emotionally connected customers are return customers, they're loyal customers, and they generate word of mouth sales in addition to their own upgrading/optioning. Every company wishes that all their customers are emotionally invested, but in reality, even in specialty products such as cameras you find a number of folk who are buying pragmatically (on price or availability mostly), or sometimes even just on a whim. 

Some of a company's success in emotional investing comes in how they interact with customers. In that respect, Canon has in the recent past done better at that than Nikon. Nikon was the first to start backing away from experiential expenses, such as lens loaners at workshops, traveling "schools", other hands-on opportunities, and proactively reaching out to customers. 

That said, it feels like Canon is retreating now, too, and particularly so with DSLRs. Of course, with the pandemic having cut into things, it's difficult to tell for sure exactly what's happening with programs like Canon's Live Learning.

Nikon School still exists, but it generally only wants to charge the customer for an online experience these days. 

I mention this because if Canon and Nikon really do want to sell any more DSLRs, it's all about leveraging emotional investment. Every day I encounter folk who are fully vested in their DSLRs, but who feel like the camera companies don't see or hear them any more. 

Too many DSLR users believe Canon and Nikon have been saying to them "Bye, see you over in the mirrorless world." 

Even Nikon's D780 DSLR, which should have sent a clear signal to those left clinging to the DSLRs, didn't get a lot of love or customer interaction from Nikon at the launch. Which meant the result was that even those that should have been most excited about the new product, weren't. Personally, I don't put that on the product itself, as I think the D780 is really quite good and should be welcomed by the Nikon DSLR user base. No, I think the problem with the D780's un-brilliant launch comes from Nikon's lack of full connection with those that are still emotionally connected to DSLRs.

Meanwhile, Canon may be backing completely away from DSLRs, as the rumor mill is full of "no 5D Mark V" claims. And despite the 1DX Mark III being introduced only seven months ago, it seems like Canon has completely moved on to just push RF now. The various Rebels that trickled out in 2018, 2019, and even in 2020 have gotten no love from Canon, at all. It really feels like Mama Bird Canon is pushing all the Baby Bird DSLRs out of the nest and saying "fly if you can..." 

So what do you do if you're emotionally invested in your DSLR? As I note in another article today, you build your own personal road map, and that isn't just about gear. Still, I understand if you feel like your product-producing parents are abandoning you.  

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