No question that the brand marketplace is changing. One of the significant trends that we have become increasingly aware of is the emergence of "disposable brands". Companies are creating brands from which they can extract short term value without any concern about their longevity.
One of the most developed examples of disposable branding that we have found is the brand architecture for XM Satellite Radio. In order to quickly build a stable of identifiable radio brands, the company has churned out dozens of mini-brands which reflect the attitudes of target listeners. Check out the Rock stations for example. Or Jazz & Blues. Urban, brother.
The funny thing about these brands is that one can imagine that at least of few of them could theoretically take off. After all, they will all receive a ton of nearly zero-cost exposure to a wide audience. This could then in turn lead to spin-off projects and licensing (television, record labels, etc). If that does happen (or even if it doesn't) the return on investment on these 'cheap brands' will be phenomonal.
Motorola's selection of Ed Zander as their new chairman and CEO is an indication that--despite all that has happened--the company still doesn't get it. To say that Zander "understands technology" is a bit like saying that Beyonce understands sex appeal. However, a leading operational role at a company like Sun has almost nothing to do with turning around (or "turning up") Motorola. Motorola's slippage in the cell phone world has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with relevant product design and smart marketing. Bon chance, Ed!
'Nuther One Bites the Dust
AT&T made a big VOIP announcement today. The whole VOIP thing is a multi-billion dollar/year game of chicken. One can only imagine that AT&T has been sitting on this press release waiting for something like Time Warner Cable's announcement this week.
The clock has started, the big boys are in the game, and telephone service will be a fraction of its current cost within the next 3 years.
If new players like Vonage can manage to build up some brand equity and keep the real pressure on, things should get mighty interesting.
Just a Gorgeous Ad
This is one of the most pleasing ads we've ever seen.
Just watch it. An education.
Lions! Tigers VOIP! Oh My!
Time Warner Cable's announcement yesterday that they intend to begin offering voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone service next year, is a seismic shift in the telecommunications market. VOIP is one of that things that is always just about to break out into the public consciousness. Now it seems like it might actually happen.
After years of foot dragging DSL deployment, the phone companies lost the lead in residential broadband services. Now the baby bells’ chickens are coming home to roost. As other cable operators follow Time Warner’s lead, people will start to see the coaxial cable coming into their homes as a viable source for alternative (and cheap, cheap, cheap!) phone services.
A Tale of Two Milks
Soy Milk and other organic foods present the marketer with an interesting challenge. While the organic foods star is certainly on the rise, there is no telling how long this might last. Our assumption is that the debate (schism might be a better word) in the market is only going to get more intense as bioengineering becomes more of a factor. People are very skittish about what they eat. Healthier eating will always sell. The trick will be educating the customer without appearing to be "fringe".
We're excited to see what they come up with.
I still have an Abercrombie & Fitch camel hair blazer
AOL's $299 PC
AOL has launch the latest salvo in the brutal ISP pricing war by offering a PC and color printer for $299 for customers who commit to the service for a year. The offer is currently only available in trial markets. The have a web site with more information.
This seems like a good idea for AOL as a way of protecting it rapidly shrinking subscriber base. You can certainly imagine that first time PC buyers or people who want a PC for the kids' room will flock to such a deal. However, the timing doesn't feel right. While Xmas would be a natural time to launch such an offer, this is missing that mark while also conflicting with the launch of AOL Optimized. The marketing of that new software was very upmarket. This new offer, on the other hand, is anything but.