A number of photo sites have reported that the recent sale of the Olympus camera division to investment house Japan Industrial Partners could have a serious effect on the brand’s viability. Future cameras might have to lose the Olympus brand entirely.
Such a rebranding operation happened in 2014 when JIP took over Sony’s computer division. The Sony brand was dropped, by agreement, while computers continued under the sub-brand of Viao. In that instance, it was no great disaster because Viao was itself well established in the minds of consumers.
OMD, it’s a new brand
If this precedent is again adopted, it could cause havoc for Olympus cameras since the name of the parent company is also the brand. There’s no obvious sub-brand to use. However, 43 Rumors says that from 2021 cameras will be branded as OMD and PEN and lenses will be sold as ZUIKO, a name which has historical connotations and is well recognised.
This solution has obvious flaws. It would seem more logical to adopt OM as the primary brand, with OM-D and OM-PEN acting as product-line sub-brands. Zuiko is fine but, again, OM-Zuiko would be more consistent.
None of these alternatives makes as much sense as retaining the OLYMPUS brand..
If this rebranding does come about next year, it will be seen by users as a major setback in the fortunes of a once-proud international brand. Let’s hope this rumour isn’t true because to ditch the Olympus name would be sheer carelessness and. I believe it would do great harm to sales prospects.