Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pentax. Practising the art of being different

It would be a boring world without brands such as Pentax.

Everybody using proprietary batteries? Why not use AA batteries instead?

Weathersealing is a pro-spec feature? Let’s weather seal a mid-range body then. And some lenses.

They’re all churning out massive plastic lenses? What about some good old-school metal? And let’s make a bunch of them slim ‘pancake’ design while we’re at it.

Others put image stabilisation in lenses and charge a premium for it. Let’s build SR into the body so even old lenses can benefit.

Bored with a choice of black, noir or schwarz? Maybe ‘Stormtrooper’ white or, oh’s a whole bunch of take your pick and we’ll build it.

I could go on like this, but I guess my point is, Pentax is defiantly a brand that, whether consciously or intuitively, lives by the principles of Disruption. When others zig, they zag.

Apple is one such brand, Absolut another, as are Leica, Nintendo with their Wii and Mazda with their rotary engined models. Disruption generally works best in a cluttered category littered with conventions. But whatever the sales results of Disrupted brands, the very idea of being different can, and will, polarise people. You just can't be neutral about these things.

One might argue that Pentax suffers in the marketplace by being different, but if they were just safe clones of the other big brands, how could they even be noticed in the clutter? It's not like they can outspend the big boys. Different gets noticed. If enough people ‘get it’ to lay down their money for it, then different survives. Otherwise it joins the Edsels of the world on the scrap heap of ‘what ifs?’

I for one am glad that Pentax still exists, against the odds, still marching to the beat of its own drum. Not everyone will appreciate what Pentax offers in a world of stultifying sameness; where every major brand is pretty good at what it does and our brand choices become no-brainers.

Yes, I’m not embarrassed to stand up and be counted as a Pentax Fanboy. I appreciate what the brand is doing and hope they can keep doing things differently and well.



RiceHigh said...

Congrats for the first post, Steve and well done! I think you've re-defined the term "fanboy" and I do like your first article - stating your views and opinions in a peaceful way. Still, the love to the brand is expressed.

One thing I am very much agreed with you is about the meaning of survival of brands like Pentax (or even Oly, Pana etc.) - Choice(s)! E.g., I can still have my choice of an Olive K-m. That's it!

Anonymous said...

> Yes, I’m not embarrassed to stand up and be counted as a Pentax Fanboy.

Sooooo gay.

Ying said...

This is so very much right on the spot Steve.

I am a sucker for 'being different' brands. I drive a Saab, and to me Saab and Pentax are separated at birth twins in their philosophy

Anonymous said...

i would change the name of the pentax motto:

Pentax: Let the frustration Begin!

Anonymous said...

Why are manufacturers avoiding pancake designs in SLR optics? Because they're an old-fashioned, and, in comparison to other designs, don't work as well.

DPOAB said...

I know this is an old post but.....I think the comparison to Apple is dead on and one I have made also.

Apple introduced colors to computers

Pentax introduced them to DSLRs

Apple pioneered the idea of a simple, three stage product line in consumer electronics

Pentax is doing the same in DSLRs

Apple concentrated on graphics design when it was a niche and was in a position to exploit that when it became mainstream

Pentax has concentrated on the rugged and weather resistant market - an area I think is going to be huge soon

Apple appealed to people who "Think Different"

Pentax needs to go after them more

I too am glad Pentax exists and I am a proud Pentaxian!

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