Bad Branding Strategies

April 1, 2008

I figured I would write one last post on Seth as his blog really makes good points that relate to Business. His blog on dumb branding strategies really made a lot of sense when reading it. There are many companies that have bad branding strategies such as Computer World, and Party Land. Names such as those do not make me feel like I am missing out on anything if I don’t stop into those stores. For example Computer World really seems like a plain store name. This name does not make me feel like like is a great store to stop into.

The picture below is of many successful brand names.

I know personally when I hear bad brand names I do not want to enter the store. Names with that extra catchy word or phrase really can make you want to enter the store. Future Shop might have a simple brand name, but it makes me think that everything in the store is up to date, and new ideas of the future. Or Captain Sub makes me think they are the best at making subs. I came across an article on Google dealing with the image that a good brand name does in the mind of the consumer. In this article it says that a lot of companies are fighting for mind share. A good brand name sets confidence in the mind of the consumer. If you are use to buying General Electric products and and have always had success with them. Than you are more than likely to continue buying GE products in the futurue. It sets a standard of expectations as well. An example of this would be when I buy Sony products I always think I am getting the best of the best. As well good branding makes you spend more money. I would rather spend the extra $50 dollars and get a really good pair of jeans. It gives me the confidence that those jeans will last longer, and be strong. Recognition is key in being competitive with the competition. Recognition can either be positive or negative. When I go traveling I have come to expect that when I go to Subway, I will get a good quality sub at every Subway location. Loyalty is a key factor in any business throughout the world. I am loyal to Honda, as most of the vehicles that they create are gas friendly, and most importantly reliable.

A few examples of other catchy brand names that have created strong recognition are:

  1. Starbucks
  2. Tim Hortons
  3. Best Buy

I think it is necessary to have a good brand name in order to gain more customers, and get loyalty.

Mitchell Watts

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Countdown to iPhone 2.0

March 30, 2008

Apple is planing on having an increase  in sales for the iPhone 2.0.  Analyists are suggesting that sales of 8 million units for the iPhone are overestimated.  “Every additional million beyond their projection translates to about $400 million in added sales and 12 cents per share – or 2% – more in profit.” It will be interesting to see what the total sales of the iPhone 2.0 are.  Hopefully the price will be a little more affordable to the consumer.  I know I wouldn’t want to pay a few hundred dollars for a cell phone.

 Mitchell Watts

I was reading through digg, and I came across an article that was really interesting called The 10 Most Disruptive Technology Combinations. I think this is a very interesting topic, as it covers many types of technology that people use every day.

The tenth most disruptive technology combinations involves DVR’s, and Entertainment on Demand. I really think its cool how you can pause and play live television. Many people are becoming to expect to watch their favourite television shows whenever they want or wherever they want to. I remember when I thought the VCR was one of the best inventions letting you watch and tape movies. Now with the ability to pause live tv, I wonder what will come next in the future.

The ninth disruptive technology involves youtube, cameras, and camcorders. In this article it says “YouTube wouldn’t have reached such heights without cheap digital cameras, camcorders, and cell-phone cameras.” I think that is a valid point as youtube relies on people to upload videos for people to watch them.  Youtube accounts for more than 60% of all video-site traffic which is quite a lot. I really find it cool how people from all over the world can upload videos, and everyone can watch each others videos. I am not to familiar with other online video sharing web-sites. I did some research and found an article from techcrunch called , Online Video Sites: Breeding Like Rabbits. It says that two of the more popular online video sites are:

  • Motionbox – easy to edit and share videos online. You can highlight, tag, and share your favourite video scenes. An interesting feature that I came across was downloading your favourite videos to your iPod.
  • Jumpcut – has many features such as video mashing between users, there a number of transition features as effects, a good tagging feature, allows uploads up 50mb compared to 100 mb of youtube. Videos can be kept private, or can be public.

The eighth disruptive technology is opensource and web-tools. Linux has allowed manufacturing companies to build cheaper machines such as Asus’s Eee PC. I did a post earlier on Linux, and I will consider on using Linux in the future. An interesting point brought up in this section was “things that would have cost $10 million during the bubble can be done for $500,000 today.” This can be compared to many other items that consumers buy. Example – Hybrid cars and dvd players were really expensive when they came out, now they are come down in price a lot.

  1. Here is an interesting article on how Apple apologized to consumers who bought the iPhone at a high Price. After the consumers bought the iPhone at a high price, it dropped in price. Apple did compensate those consumers with an in store credit.

The seventh couple of technology involves MP3’s and Napster. In this article it says that Napster has started a medium distribution for people in peer to peer distribution. A lot of people now think that music should be free since the emergence of sites such as Napster. The MP3 allowed people to upload their songs to their Mp3 player. I like the example in the Daves and Katelyn blogs last week on how Apple might consider offering users the options of downloading so much music for a monthly fee. I think this is a step in the right direction.

The sixth couple is google ads and blogs. Before the internet was created it was cost a lot to be a publisher of a book. Now with the emergence of blogs people can publish many blogs, and share their opinions to many people. The top 50,000 blogs have pulled in ad revenues of $500 million in 2006. Although there have been many great blogs created, there are spam blogs as well. Blogs have created a free way for people to express their opinions.

The fifth couple is cheap storage and portable memory. An example being how cheap flash memory allows people to carry along of songs on their MP3 players. The author says the disruption in this situation is where would we be without cheap portable storage. Many people take it for granted how we can store so many songs on our iPods.

The fourth involves cloud computing and always on devices. Cloud computing is an alternative to having local servers or personal devices handling users applications. What are some examples of companies who use cloud computing?

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • IBM

The third couple is broadband and wireless networks. Broadband has being a huge factor in the creation of many video and music Web sites, and Wi-Fi is bringing the internet to everyday household appliances such as stereos. I am still using dial-up internet at home, and it isn’t too fast at all, 44kbps. We can’t get high-speed internet through Aliant yet.  I found an interesting article on how Google is going to offer an extremely fast broadband connection at data transmission speeds of billions of bits a second.

The second couple is the web and the graphical browser. The author has made a really good point in this section. “Before 1993, however, the Internet as we think of it today was a loose collection of protocols, networks, and tools built by university geeks.” As well he mentions the internet is just another piece of the puzzle. Meaning that there is much more to be added to the puzzle in future technology.

The first couple is cell phones and wireless internet access. I really like the point being made about how we are all reachable 24/7 with cell phones and wireless internet.  More and more phones are becoming internet friendly such as the G-Phone, and iPhone.   It makes sense how cell phones and wireless internet access are number 1, because of all the people who use these services around the world.

Heres an interesting video I on found on youtube regarding how the FBI can hear you talking even if your cell phone is turned off.

+

= Couple

Mitchell Watts

I came across an interesting article this morning when I was scanning through news on the internet, dealing with the FBI. “Since online gambling is now illegal, if you bet real money in an online office pool on a social network, and then that real money changes hands in a payout, you can be charged with a crime.” Its interesting how people get bet on sports games legally here (for example through Atlantic Lottery Corporation) – and in the US it is illegal in most of the states.

I don’t see a problem in dealing with the idea of having online pools in facebook. Some people really keep up to date on sports games, and enter online pools. To me I do not see a difference at all dealing with buying a lottery ticket in the US, and betting on a sports game. Either way you do not know if you will win, and either way you are betting money.

Obviously some people can get out of hand and bet too much, and betting is a form of gambling. I just find it interesting how people can bet on sports games in Canada and not in the majority of States in the US.

Heres an interesting article that I found relating to this topic. It is interesting how Nevada and Atlantic City are the only two states where you are aloud to bet on sports games.

I decided to do a bit of research regarding on what some countries are doing regarding online gambling. George Bush is serious about shutting down online gambling web-sites in the US, which shows us the US Direction on this topic. In Canada, “Although operating online gambling sites here is supposed to be illegal, the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve in Quebec has been hosting dozens of betting sites for a decade, claiming that Canadian laws don’t apply to them. They insist that they maintain sovereign authority over Internet gambling on their territory, arguing gambling is part of their ancient rites and traditions.” Presently I do not think it is a big deal yet in Canada involving what Facebook is doing.

A lot of people are currently signed up on the CBSSports NCAA March Madness pool. I can see how these pools get out of hand by a few people who start writing bad comments on the pools wall on facebook. It is free to sign up for this pool, and there are prizes which makes people sign up.

I found this youtube video discussing how Texas HoldEm poker is becoming increasingly popular on facebook, the main clip of the video involving facebook is within the first minute.

As well I found it really interesting how people bet money on how long it will take to sing the national anthem. Its pretty crazy all the things that people bet on. I myself wonder if Social Networking Sites are going to keep these applications on their web-sites or not allow companies to put up applications involving gambling.

Different applications on facebook involving a form of gambling, but they are free to add to your facebook.

  • Jackpot – you get so many tickets per week, based on the amount of points you have accumulated.. Prizes are between $250 and $500 and the application is free to add.
  • Different hockey, and basketball pools.

There are over 20,000 different brackets on facebook, but not all of them are involved in a form of cash gambling.

It will be interesting to see what the FBI will do in this situation of betting pools on facebook. What do you think social networking sites will do in the future regarding companies putting applications on their networks involving gambling?

Mitchell Watts

Blackberry has decided to get their own music store for consumers who use there hand held devices. Users will have access to Puretracks online music store. Prices have yet to be disclosed on how much the music will cost, nor how many songs will be available in the Puretracks library.

Is there a market for cell phone companies to let the user download music to their phone? Clearly this is a market for this as companies are making a lot of money of this concept.

First of all, the Blackberry is a handheld device introduced in 1999, that allows the user to send e-mail, text-message, use the internet, and phone people. Research in Motion is the company behind the Blackberry. Research in Motion is one of the leading developers in wireless solutions throughout the world.

Who are Blackberry’s competitors? Blackberry has competitors such as Motorola, Nokia, Cingular, and Apple.

Why would Blackberry want to have an online music store? Blackberry’s other competitors such as Apple are offering these services. Clearly there is a market for this, as the consumer has shown they will download music online.

Research in Motion clearly has a big part of the handheld devices. There latest new product is the BlackBerry Pearl handset, the 8120. The Pearl has a better camera to capture videos and stills. As well voice calls are more clear to here for the consumer.

I personally do not own a Blackberry, but I have thought about owning one in the past. I don’t think I would use it enough to get my moneys worth of the phone. I think the Blackberry would be beneficial for business people who receive a lot of e-mails through work.

Why would Blackberry team up with Puretracks? Puretracks is a Canadian company as Research in Motion is, as well Puretracks is very knowledgeable in dealing with the online music scene.  Puretracks is very similar to the competitor Apple’s iTunes.  It wouldn’t be too hard to transfer over to Puretracks if you are addicted to your Blackberry  – and want to use this particular service.

Mitchell Watts

AOL is buying a large social network called Bebo for $850 million in cash. Something interesting that I have found dealing with social networks is the value put on these social web-sites. MySpace was bought in 2005 for $580 million by News Corp. MySpace is reported to be worth more than $15 billion like Facebook.

Bebo is number 3 on the above list, which shows strong recognition of this company.

I think a large factor in determining the value put on these companies is the amount of users using the service. One thing I do not like particular is the advertising on Facebook now is all the applications. I don’t mind some of the applications such as the hockey pools, but most of them are annoying. As well companies are competing on what markets they are in. Certain social networks dominate certain markets. Such as Facebook having a large portion of the North American market. 

I just find it interesting how the value of these social networking web-sites are worth so much. I can see how marketing companies would love getting advertisements on these web-sites, as the traffic is really high on a daily basis visting social networking web-sites.  But are they really worth hundreds of millions and billions of dollars?

Mitchell Watts

From reading the wired.com article I have learnt that many companies will give away products such as a cell phones for $0. But they will get you with the contract you sign. Throughout the business community there are many companies who offer free products, but will make money of the contracts you sign. All the little fees that are added onto your cell phone bill can make it seem much higher than it should be. I think a lot of people would sign a cell phone contract on the spur of the moment decision, not thinking of the bills that will come in the future.

One question that comes up is why do companies offer free products?  I think mainly because once you get the free product, you have to buy other products to use that particular product. Or once you try that free product, you might really like it and are willing to pay the actual price for the product.

I really like the example used of Gillete razors. If you get the Mach 3 razor for free, they get you by buying the shaving cream. Most people would think the razor would work best only if you use the Gillete shaving cream.

A question that arises to me is dealing with if companies are better off offering free services to the consumer?  For example hotmail letting people sign up for e-mail accounts, and e-mailing people for free.   The answer is yes for the fact they have other services the consumer can pay for  such as larger inbox storage for your e-mail. As well many people are signing up for new accounts because it is free. The value of Hotmail is very large mainly because of all the people who use this service.

“From the consumer’s perspective, though, there is a huge difference between cheap and free. Give a product away and it can go viral. Charge a single cent for it and you’re in an entirely different business, one of clawing and scratching for every customer. The psychology of “free” is powerful indeed, as any marketer will tell you.”

 

I think a valid point is made in the above quote.   People are attracted to free products or services.  Once you charge a certain price for your product, you are competing with many other companies prices.  Parking is another free thing that many people like. Nothing more annoying than paying per hour to park downtown Charlottetown. I never know if my time is running out when I am in the mall.  I always try to find a free spot to park.  If there was more free parking downtown I would shop more.  Why are we paying to park in Charlottetown? Most likely to pay for services throughout Charlottetown. Maybe to pay for the pavement on the streets.  Its more a less just annoying having to pay to park.  But at Christmas time and on weekends it is free to park, which encourages people to shop more.  Which is good for our economy when more people spend money.

Heres an interesting video that I found about the conept of how people like free, and the concept of free.  In this short clip the person constantly mentions the word free. Free process to set up your account, get things for free etc., and most importantly you get free products.

I think the main point of offering products for free is drawing the consumer in to try other products or services that your company offers.  Or once you sign that contract for the free phone, you are paying monthly bills for 3 years unless you opt out of the contract and pay the penalty.

That one product you offer free could be your companies ticket to business from that consumer.  If they really liked the free sample, they probably would pay for the actual product in the future.

The concept of connecting with your consumer is very important as the consumer is the most important part of any business. Without customers, many people would be out of work.

Mitchell Watts