Brands passing in opposite directions – real time
What a thrill it is to be watching, in real time, two very different brands being repositioned in front of our eyes, one going north and one heading south. One attempting repositioning by its owners and one being sent south by the market as it looses its magic touch. These are MBA case studies in the making.
First I am referring to Virgin Blue who is spending millions trying to reposition the brand upmarket – as the business carrier of choice in Australia. Today Virgin is offering a one way domestic fare from Sydney to Perth, business class, for $1,399 – more than an economy return international ticket to LA ($1,113). And, with all the advertising of plush leather seats and preferential treatment comes an offering to Velocity Lounge members of lifetime membership for close to $10,000. That’s brave, especially when much business talk is of GFC II.
Many have come and many have failed to take over the Qantas business market, and time will tell if Virgin are successful in their repositioning (while trying to hold on to the more economy minded patrons – that’s me, at the same time).
The second and much sadder example is the continual slide of a great, if not arguably the greatest brand at one time. I am referring now to Sony. I am not saying Sony does not still mean quality and much more but Apple has completely stolen the product buzz that was once Sony’s, for example when they launched the Walkman.
It is really driven home to me how much Sony have lost their way when I visit Sony Centres. Compared with Apple stores which are usually packed, they are deserted. There simply isn’t the product buzz or excitement we find at Apple. And those black Sony uniforms could not be in more contrast to the light blue ones worn by the “kids” at Apple.
Apple just announced quarterly results to December 2011 with revenue of US$46b and net profit (again just for the quarter) of US$13b!
Perhaps the story of the Sony reflects the sad spectacle of what’s happening to Japan. I read yesterday that just 40% of the Japanese government’s spending comes from taxes and the rest from borrowings. The government’s answer is to try and double sales tax. This is sad, sad, sad. Raising taxes won’t help one bit. And today the reports say Japan has suffered its first trade deficit in 30 years.
So from a marketing point it’s great to sit back and enjoy watching these two brands Virgin Blue and Sony as they pass in opposite directions.