I don't know what a vitrue is, but they've done a Top 100 brands list of American Brands. 9 of the top 10 (except Starbucks) relate to media/entertainment/electronics. (Starbucks is about lifestyle/relaxation/socialisation.) Microsoft comes in with Xbox and it's own brand name at 5 and 11. Apple has 1, 3, 7 and 16. Note that Disney at #4 is to a large part due to Pixar which was Steve Jobs' baby too. The iPhone, iPod and Xbox brands are less than 10 years old and all appear in the top 10. Of course, the average age of people online tends to be the low to mid-20's, and hence the relative youthfulness of the brands too.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
But the point also is that brands find it difficult to make the transition from one generation to the next. Further, it is possible to establish a whole new brand with a whole new generation (besides, a whole new market segment, as in the case of 'Google', 'Facebook', 'Amazon', 'Nokia'). But it's got to look authentic: people -- especiall young people -- can easily see through old brands trying to dance like they were young -- the brand begins to look pathetic and ridiculous.
A dual-branding strategy typically works well -- one for corporate, one for the product/service -- so that even if the corporate brand ages, the product/service brand can remain fresh and relevant for a specific generation. IBM, for instance, couldn't possibly succeed in the consumer market on the strength of its brand alone -- it's brand is perceived as corporate-conservative. Microsoft isn't perceived as 'cool' but 'Xbox' works fine; indeed, anything with an 'X' in it seems de riguer for perceived coolth.
Anyway, the point of my post is that Apple has been remarkably successful in creating and promoting brands; that requires a special kind of creativity. Sony is a highly innovative corporation -- yet, it is no longer able to maintain a 'cool'/'hip' perception in the marketplace; the times when the 'Walkman' was the epitome of cool are long gone. The iPod & iPhone today are what the Walkman used to be 25 years ago.
Apple -- in particular, Steve Jobs -- has done a lot to maintain the 'cool' perception in the market by relentlessly releasing new products annually, and in a highly dramatic fashion. Apple has a very limited range of products, and thereby avoids brand dilution. It's hard to tell what would happen if/when Steve Jobs passes on (given that he is very ill presently).