Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Posts Tagged ‘Blackberry

Decoupling From Your Brand

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The reality of today’s inter-connected economy is that all brands are reliant on a variety of partners to be able to deliver their brand proposition. For an airport to provide a good experience, the airlines have to be on time. For my car insurance to live up to their promise, the independent tow truck operator has to treat me well. These factors are often out of their control.

For a long time, the mobile phone brands were relatively free of this problem. While the likes of Nokia and Blackberry had to rely on the network carrier, this was rarely a differentiating factor for them.

The rise of third-party applications has drastically changed the brand proposition for mobile phone manufacturers and turned the brand model on its head. Mobile phones aren’t just appealing for the gadget you buy, but also because of the thousands of third-party applications that are available, any of which can drastically increase the value of the device to a consumer.

The manufacturers can no longer just market their brand to consumers. They must provide a compelling brand proposition to the army of developers around the world that impact the value of the handset. Apple has been a leader with this, as can be seen by their huge lead in the number of third party apps available.

People still buy the iPhone because they want the iPhone, not because they want a certain iPhone app. But that may change. People used to buy a Nintendo for the Nintendo but now choose their video game console largely based on the games available.

While the iPhone brand is all-powerful today, it could quickly become dependent on more powerful app developers.

What do you think? Will apps become more important than the phone itself?

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Written by benwisebranding

March 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

Can Google Support the Nexus One?

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The blogosphere is buzzing with the launch of the Google Phone, aka the Nexus One. Reviews of the product vary. Some have been very positive. Others, not so much. Either way, more competition is good for the consumer who has more choice and will enjoy more new features coming from all major players. But can the Nexus One live up to the hype and match the success of other Google product launches?

I see two key issues on the horizon. A big question remains about whether or not people will buy a smart phone without seeing and touching it first. This wasn’t a problem for the iPhone. Nobody lines up for hours if they haven’t already made up their mind to buy it. But the Apple brand has proven effective at generating the buzz required for this. Google has a history of quietly bringing in new products (Wave being an obvious exception) and letting the early adopters build the user base. With CES, an Apple Tablet, and the next version of the iPhone all coming soon, it will be hard for Google to gain traction for an extended period of time.

The other big question mark for me is their ability to provide customer service. If you buy the phone directly from Google, the carrier you choose separately isn’t going to provide tech support for the hardware. I have twice had to contact Google for customer service. Once it was quick and easy, and the other time it was so frustrating that I gave up. I doubt that 50% will be good enough against Apple and Blackberry. As their first hardware product, Google’s customer service capability, which is a key part of the Nexus One brand, is untested and could prove a big liability.

On the upside, the biggest impact of the Nexus One could be that a major mobile player is (finally!) selling an unlocked smartphone. This has the potential to change the dynamics of the industry and give more power to consumers while making the carriers more of a commodity.

What do you think? Will the Nexus One make a serious run at Apple or Blackberry? Will it change the industry the way that Google has done elsewhere?

Written by benwisebranding

January 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Posted in Tech

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