The precautions taken to reduce the spread of the novel corona virus have hit the photography business hard. While the impact on us photographers has been immediate and painful, what about the companies who make the products and services we love and rely on? How has the virus affected them? What are they doing to survive, to continue to service customers and, eventually, thrive?
It’s tough for them, too. Even the companies with quality products, great customer service and smart business operations are being tested. Supply chains are disrupted. Sales are down. Some have had to temporarily close stores, offices or repair facilities and attempt to work from home. But they’re not just hanging tough, they’re also adapting. They’re adding education, training, support features and more. Still providing value to customers and taking care of employees.
We started by speaking to three of the companies (Tamron, Hunt’s & Fotopro) that have been supporters of NANPA. Over the next few days, you’ll hear what they said.
The good folks at Tamron have had to be flexible and creative during the corona virus outbreak. Their US headquarters and repair facility in New York were closed, affecting Tamron’s ability to take and ship orders, process rebates and make repairs. Like many modern corporations, Tamron’s supply chain stretches around the world and, while there have been no major disruptions so far, Japan recently started issuing stay-at-home orders.
There were all the in-store demos and workshops, travel, trade shows, conferences and appearances by Tamron Ambassadors that had to be canceled, rescheduled or moved online. In addition, the virus crisis came right as Tamron was introducing a new lens. Only two of their staff have samples and are limited to giving live presentations from home. That’s quite a list of adjustments to make!
Then there are the little things that are really big things if you’re the customer. Stacie Errera, Tamron’s Vice President Marketing & Communications in the US, told us about a professional photojournalist who had sent his lens in for repair. It was in Tamron’s repair facility when New York’s governor ordered businesses to shut down. The photojournalist was counting on that lens for his job covering COVID-19 stories, so the team at Tamron worked to connect the photographer with the local sales staff to get him a loaner lens so he could do his work.
Tamron has always offered educational and inspirational content on their website and in their newsletters. In addition to favorites like their One Location. One Lesson. One Lens. series, they’re creating lots of new content, from seminars for specialty retailers to webinars, educational videos and more. Check their Events pages for schedule. They’ve created a new website section called Homeschool with Tamron in the Photo Tips section of their website. Tamron is also hosting several online interviews with professional photographers on Facebook Live including April 24, 7pm EDT – Finding Inspiration with Lisa Langell and April 30, 7pm EDT – Finding Inspiration with Marcie Reif.
Tamron’s Technical Photographer Team has created Top Five at Five videos in which they show and talk about five favorite recent photos or give their top five tips for different photographic situations. Find them on the Tamron Vids YouTube channel. The team is also posting videos on topics like macro photography, slow motion video, national parks, hummingbird photography and more.
Tamron’s Facebook page is running a #lockedinwithyourlens photo competition and the company just started hosting a set of webinars on Wednesdays and Fridays on topics like backyard bird photography (Friday, April 17th), DSLR video and style and much more. Check Tamron’s social media or get their biweekly newsletter for more information.
As with every other company, sales are suffering because of COVID-19 restrictions, but Stacie Errera says “that’s secondary or even tertiary. By far, the most important thing is for everyone to get through this OK.” Tamron’s staff are working from home and various departments have hosted online happy hours to keep everyone connected and supported. All of the new content and online presentations are supporting local camera dealers, keeping the employees and ambassadors busy and keeping photographers engaged and learning.
“We’ll get through this,” Stacie said. “Here’s hoping that everyone is OK and we’ll see each other soon.”
We couldn’t agree more.