A strong brand generates strong differentiation, attentive and loyal customers, and proud employees.
It incents creative people with the best ideas, products and services outside the company, to come team up with the strong brand and help them continue to leapfrog competitors.
Strong brands tend to know what they are doing: they innovate and surprise, then fine-tune with the market. They do not wait for customers to tell them what to do as, often, customers tend to think incrementally and not leap to the next big bang concept.
Only one company can compete by having the lowest price.
All others need to compete with their brand.
Only one winner tends to convince people that there is no substitute.
This ultimate branding position needs to be earned day after day, produce better designed products and services that evolve, innovate and matter. It continues to align and fit with how the target markets feel about themselves and who they are.
Dell had a good customer experience that they eroded gradually for cost saving reasons.
It is to the point that they reneged on a service contract to support the PCs in my household, regardless of brands. And they refused to register a Dell that I bought used on eBay for one of my sons “because we did not have the detailed previous owner information”.
Dell laughed at Apple ten years ago. Dell better stare at Apple today as the customer experience is at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Palm had everything to succeed and a hot brand.
Their position eroded because their design was not “wow”: the Treo is OK (I have a 650) but bulky.
The bigger issue is that Palm stood still on the software side: I use the Palm OS and it has hardly progressed in 10 years. It was best-in-class 10 years back, but it is behind today.
In addition, the price for the Treo is 30-50% higher than its competitors. Hence market share erosion.
Wait for the iPhone to see a startling user interface. Look at the new Nokia PDAs at $150 and its OK Symbian UI. The two ends of the spectrum, with Palm stuck in between, without a positioning.
Palm is a declining brand in the US. Very unfortunate as they had everything to be one of the hottest brands on earth.
It is very easy to lose the hot brand status: one quality problem that is mishandled, one major piece of the value proposition that gets not pushed, one scandal with the CEO, a drop in service, a competitor that comes out with a better value proposition.
Winning is earned day after day.
Behave as your brand.
Attract and nurture creative people from outside the company and ensure that people inside the company continue to be capable of fostering high creativity and take advantage of (threatening) market discontinuities.
And don’t get stuck!