Tag Archives: branding

Forget Early Adopters, iPhone 4S Appeals to Majorities

Apple iPhone 4S new featuresApple’s announcement yesterday disappointed some that wanted to see a new iPhone design, the iPhone 5.  Had the iPhone 5 been announced there would have been throngs of innovators, early adopters and first droppers lined up to buy the device on the first day, shattering sales records and making news. But that did not happen and as a result Apple’s stock dropped 5% even though they are delivering another quality product. The new iPhone 4S was announced with some major improvements:

  • Speed: 2X faster downloading files (14.4 Mbps).
  • Performance: new A5 dual processor is faster loading web pages, rendering graphics, loading apps, etc.
  • Camera: 8 megapixel sensor, a new fifth lens, an enlarged aperture, face detection, reduced motion blur, shoot 1080p HD video.
  • Kick ass factor: Siri, the new voice activated personal assistant.
  • Compatibility: GSM/CDMA compatibility creates a phone for international travelers as well as brings Sprint into the iPhone party.
But it won’t come in a shiny new design. So Apple will have to say goodbye to the 16% of customers that must have iPhone 5 to buy.  Innovators and early adopters make up 2.5% and 13.5% respectively.  Sure they give great buzz and short term gain that Wall St. loves but they don’t sustain the product sales over the long haul. And those first droppers? Heck forget about them.  They are going to be the first to drop your product and move on the the next greatest thing that nobody knows about or has proven effective, they just want to show how uber cool they are all the time.

So who was Apple going after with the 4S?  They are going after the 70% of customers that make up the meaty part of the bell curve called the early and late majorities.  Each of these groups have 35% of the customer base and they are what keep companies profitable over the long haul. iPhone customers that want to upgrade their 2 year old 3GS or older 3G will upgrade to the 4S and enjoy the shorter lines and wait times.  Consumers that have not bought smartphones will upgrade now that it’s a proven design with improvements on antenna and more carrier compatibility.  Wall Street will even forgive Apple as they buy shares lower today and sell at increase in 6-9 months when iPhone 5 has launched and Apple sold millions of 4S phones as well as the iPhone 5.

What’s your take on Apple’s announcement?  Was it disappointing or another great release from the largest technology company in the world?

Will Brand Redesign Bring Back Budweiser’s Customers?

New Budweiser design and several can redesignsBudweiser announced that it is redesigning its cans. The bow tie Budweiser logo will be emphasized along with the red color. I wonder if this will attract new customers?  Sure there will be interest when the new design is seen on cans and swag, but will it last?

Overall the beer market has shrunk the past year.  People have stayed home and drank less during the recession.  Budweiser is now owned by InBev a Belgium brewer. U.S.-based sales for Budweiser dropped 7.3% in 2010, while sales for Bud Light dropped 2%, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.

Still Bud and Bud Light are the top two beers sold in the US. A can redesign changes the packaging but how does it fit into Budweiser’s overall marketing strategy?

Bud has built the brand with aggressive advertising and promotion at national and local levels. NFL and other major sport ads provided the air cover that kept the brand fresh cool and present in consumers minds. From the talking frogs to the Wassup? guys, Bud has spent more than any other advertisers on the most expensive advertising event, the SuperBowl.

At the local level Bud has partnered with leading distributors and provided co-op dollars to sponsor local events and venues. By working with local bars and restaurants Bud and Bud Light have pushed special pricing to win sales based on price. Even the local delivery trucks have Bud splashed across the vehicle. A new brand requires some time to gel with fans while a throwback one could lead to immediate acceptance and appreciation.

Will the new design just give short term buzz and excitement about the brand yet long term sales will continue to decline? Bud has a long heritage that it could reach into. Bringing back Bud Man or some of the traditional designs could give it a more authentic nostalgic connection with consumers.  A retro design could tie in to digital media as it would allow for customers and fans to share in their memories and what they love the brand’s heritage.  Similar to how we’ve caught up with all our old high school friends on Facebook. I don’t think consumers will talk online much about the new can.

I think part of Budweiser’s redesign strategy is to attract younger customers in their 20s and 30s.  Yet the younger beer drinking public may see right through Bud’s gimmick and stick with their hipster brands like PBR or be craft beer connoisseurs. Is this Bud for you or for the rapidly changing younger generations?

Rein in Your Event Hashtags

Too many hashtags leads to confusion and dilutionI saw the program for a social media conference recently that had 16 unique hashtags peppered throughout the agenda program.  My first reaction was why?  Some of the hashtags were the city and state name of the event location while others were plain generic like #Day1 and #blogging.  The event had a unique name that should have been the main hashtag used to create awareness of the event.  However by placing up to five hashtags for each agenda item the event hashtag got lost.

This is the wrong strategy for several reasons.  First it dilutes the main brand that you are trying to promote and position. Secondly tracking the tags to measure chatter volume will be inaccurate when you have tags like #RaleighNC or #SeattleWA that may be used by tourists or economic development tweeters.  Third and most important, you are confusing the very people attending the event that need to understand how to use social media effectively to communicate.

Most of the seasoned professionals in any discipline go to events for two reasons: to speak and to network.  They don’t go for professional development and education.  Sure they may pick up a few tips but they are not there to ramp up knowledge quickly.  The attendees that shell out their hard earned money are there for that.  They want to build up expertise quickly, find starting points for new projects and save time determining what thought leadership blogs they should be reading.

A novice may see multiple hashtags and wonder what they are, what purpose do they serve and how are they used?  By bombarding them with multiple keywords in hashtags the event staf is confusing them and not teaching best practices.  Part of me thinks that the reasoning behind putting multiple hashtags on a conference agenda or signage is to look sophisticated, smart and savvy.  This is when I love to yell at these people through my screen, “You’re doing it wrong!”

Tom Webster (@webby2001) puts out a tweet when he speaks at or attends events stating, “For those of you following at home, the hashtag is…” Tom gets it and knows that there are interested people not at the event that want to share in the information and knowledge being presented.  Multiple hashtags makes it frustrating and irritating for those following the event and not realizing that the hashtag they are tracking is only one of several.

What do you think?  Is having multiple event hashtags smart or confusing?

Are Hipsters Ruining Your Brand?

Convers Chuck Taylor All Star Low Top Navy Canvas ShoesI recently bought a sweet pair of navy blue Chucks the other day.  First pair of Chucks I had bought in a long time and first navy pair I had since I was a kid.  I was a bit excited and nostalgic over my new kicks but was interested in that my wife did not share my enthusiasm.  She pointed out how she was tired of seeing hipsters wear them and felt that the brand was less endearing to her now.

This really caught my attention. Can overexposure by hipsters turn you away from a brand?  And if so, would you ever come back?

When I was a kid nobody really used the word hipster.  My image of a hipster was similar to my image of a beatnik: guy or gal dressed in black, wearing glasses, man has a goatee and woman or man is sporting a beret.  Of course this stereotype was reinforced by many a movie, television show and MAD magazine during the 60s and 70s.  I don’t remember seeing anyone dressed like this in real life so it was a carictature.

Today hipsters are everywhere.  It’s cool to be a hipster and it seems to be the subculture of choice among today’s 20 somethings.  Some of the fashions they embrace are not my taste but I know the same was thought about me when I was their age by some middle aged jerk like me!

Current hipsters have embraced certains brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon which has enjoyed a resurrgance of sales the past several years.  I’ve always loved PBR but I also remember when they were still a big advertiser when I was a kid.  PBR was once the top beer in the US, advertised heavily and then stopped in the late 70s. It hung around and now it’s cool-retro.  Watch out Schlitz’s, you’re next!

But that’s what hipsters do. Embrace brands that people have written off. At first it’s the fact that nobody loves that brand so you look cool ordering it.  Then everyone follows suit and the brand becomes the cool hipster choice.  Others watch in wonder and shake their heads.  As the hipsters age some abandon the brand while others continue.

So in a way the hipsters keep our cool, forgotten brands around.  We all know that diminishing sales will eventually lead to the end of a brand unless there is something to keep it commercially viable.

What do you think? Have hipsters or others change your perception and buying behavior towards a brand?

Should You Trade in Your .com For A .co Domain?

.co domains are now availablePrior to 2011 the .CO domain was the Internet country code for Colombia.  Now it is available to the general public to purchase.  It is possible that the .CO extension will be as widely used as .COM due to its similarity and opportunity for global branding.There are several reasons why purchasing a .co for your company and brand names makes sense:

  • Brand stewardship:  Owning your brand names with the most popular extensions gives you control of the domain and reduces spammers and other malicious use.  With mainstream advertising by GoDaddy for .CO there should be large amount of .CO domain registrations over the next few years.
  • Global Branding: .CO is a natural extension of company’s brand to a universally understandable and relevant domain.  It can be used for a global website or a community site to give instant recognition.
  • Link Shortening:  Recent technology changes along with the nature of sharing information across networks and users has given rise to URL shortening services like bit.ly and tinyurl.  The .CO domain can be use with a short brand name to create a custom link shortening tool that captures analytics as well as perpetuates the brand name.

Check out and o.co as examples.