My personal experiences with development of sales and marketing strategies, running small operations, and groups within larger global enterprises, working to scale for investors return, lead to the following assessment, with assumptions based on information available to me.
1. this new CEO person worked in top positions in regional markets of global brands. He was NEVER the lead of success, but the local executive lead to success, based on the Global Strategy of others.
2. he has not the slightest competence in marketing this special kind of product to any of the special target groups.
3. Mr. Schopf ‘s strategies “didn’t scale” enough to return the invest of Dr. Kaufman’s dreams, and ensure a planned return to investors.
4. Investors are NOT patient people, NEVER!
5. Investors make WRONG executive decisions, ALWAYS! They are Investors, not CEOs for the invested market. Rarely share the same market. If so, they’d just merge.
6. LEICA will struggle with the new Management, change again, struggle, change again, … We had many of these external management changes destroying big brands. Leica had its share of experience and is just starting again with the same scheme. Stop it very soon, please.
7. Apple, yes, Apple hires the specific people to SCALE new luxury products into new markets, under the “well defined cultural principles” of the Company.
8. I do not see, neither Panasonic, nor Blackstone, where they are now, being capable of evolving Leica to the success the brand deserves.
I’d focus on:
0. Immediately fix CCD problem for all, regain trust! The current solution is only a patch.
1. The classic Brand and a New Generation Brand under Leica
2. Sell the essence and the Fun using a Leica camera, build like no other camera manufacturer can build T
3. Run limited editions, but keep them limited and related to a “Driving” Identifier.
3. b. Whoever likes to have his own a la carte limited edition run for his company, produce them at margin for them, let them make their promotion for these.
4. Renew technology frequently, while keeping “essential” and “fun” principle at highest priority the new generation product (T).
4.b. Allow for big updates.
5. Produce real Leica Glass for all camera systems (m43, X, FE, T, …)
6. Promote the hell on Leica Glass. The Leica Character of BW Glass and of Color Glass.
7. Keep prices honest
8. Do not resell/-label other Camera/Glass – everybody can do.
9. Make Video a key T FUN feature, excellent Video capabilities, compact, complete, characterful
10. Sell in Leica-Stores, only.
11. Shut down Leica Stores without Art-galleries and shop, creative public room like photographers cafe and workshop room, Tech-support, Interim-Replacement, Print, Global Service; i.e. my camera breaks in London, I leave it there for Leica repair, get a pool-cam, fly home, return the pool-cam in Munich and receive my repaired Camera in my Munich Leica-Shop.
12. Create a Leica Owners Group, a real official Leica Owners Group, not Grandpa’s high-nose I’ve been Leitzman 60yrs already, dusty crap philosophy heritage keepers. It’s about fun not historic dust.
13. Run Events, remote free little and big competitions at all levels, beginners, artists, …, locally and online. Every leica shop must run Leica specific Leica Owners events and activities, every month. Little but FUN, local FUN, people connecting people.
14. Engage with the local young artists
15. Engage by flexing the shop atmosphere, it’s so snobby today, you wouldn’t like to walk in without your business suit.
16. Engage not only with Maserati … Owners.
Stop the Yuppy/Hipster orientation, that market will vanish, if not yet started, soon. Catch the honest wealthy-enough hobbyist/fan who could own one Leice, not two, three, twenty.