Monday, July 8, 2013

You can't build value on features alone

You may have all the features people want. You may have excellent distribution. You may have a healthy advertising budget. You may have a nice share of the market.

But if you don't have a brand, you have nothing.

A product without a brand is a commodity.

Samsung is quickly finding this out.

Despite a relentless drive for innovation, increasing their ad budget by 58%, launching high profile promotions and partnerships with every major carrier, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will miss sales projections by 20 million units. One investor said the reason was "Galaxy Fatigue."

I think it's more like Galaxy Apathy.


Because neither Samsung nor Galaxy stand for anything other than a collection of features.

What is the benefit of owning a Galaxy over an iPhone, HTC, LG or Motorola?

A bigger screen? A higher definition camera? More memory? Hands-free answering? All features that are easily copied.

Brands must offer value beyond the product otherwise the minute a competitor offers better features or the same features for less money, you're toast.

Nike continues to dominate the market not just because it makes products with features that people want, but because it makes those who own its products feel like athletes every time they lace them on.

Toyota was able to survive a slew of recalls and its unintended acceleration scare because they built a reputation for reliability that allowed them to ride out those dark days.

Great brands own a relevant word, concept or phrase that makes them distinctive to such a degree that when that brand's name in mentioned that word or phrase comes immediately to mind.

What does Samsung stand for? Anyone... Anyone...

That's what I thought.

That's the reason Samsung will continue to suffer wild swings in demand as other companies match features, prices and other functional factors in a highly competitive market.

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