Brand has become so crucial in the 21st century because our purchasing choices have expanded and we do not have the time or energy to compare every product or service.
Furthermore, our buying decisions have become increasingly confusing: everybody copies everybody, everybody claims superiority and best value.
Increasingly we base our choices on brands we trust to deliver on our expectations and to fix things if there is a problem. It is not anymore only about product or service features and functions, it includes what kinds of people buy it, what market segment will I join, where does that position me?
Think of cars. What is the product feature difference between a Lexus and a Mercedes?
Some, but that is not what determines our choices.
It is not about the features and functions.
It is about how it makes you feel and what it says about you. >>>
Raj Vaswani is currently the Chief Technology Officer with Silver Spring Networks. Equally as important and interesting for my audience is that he also has completed an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program with Foundation Capital. While I did discuss his overall background, as well as his role in founding Silver Spring Networks, Raj also provided some good insights into the Entrepreneur-in-Residence programs, also know as EIR. >>>
[SM: I received the following email from Jorge Freyer: “I am a partner with Hultquist Capital, an investment banking firm focused on high tech. I have been going to India since 1974. My wife (for 30 years) is Indian. I was born in Argentina. I just came back from India where I went mostly for personal business. I would like to share my thoughts. Let me know how I can do that. I think my perspective is somewhat unique.” Subsequently, Jorge sent me the series you are about to read.]
After a 10 years absence, I was expecting to see a very different India. What I saw was an India not too different from that of 1997. My expectations were based on reports from my Indian friends and family living in the US that frequently travel to India. It seems to me that the effects of IT and call centers were highly overstated. >>>
In my recent iPhone series, I touched a lot of nerves when I said that Apple might drive the industry towards a global standard, and that standard might be GSM.
USA Today reports: “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years — an eternity in the go-go cellphone world. And Apple is barred for that time from developing a version of the iPhone for CDMA wireless networks. >>>
Sales of clothing have surpassed sales of computer hardware and software for the first time in the ten years of online retailing, according to a new report by Forrester Research for Shop.org. Online sales are forecast to increase 18% this year to $259 billion.
In 2006, clothing and accessories, including shoes, totaled $18.3 billion against $17.2 billion for hardware and software, long the frontrunner for non-travel online sales. The category moved into second place in 2006 at $17.2 billion, followed by sales of autos and auto parts ($16.7 billion) and home furnishings ($10 billion).
I can tell you from deeply painful personal experience, that this was not the case 7-8 years back when we did Uuma. This year, however, experts expect 10% of all US clothing sales to happen online. >>>
Photobucket, founded in 2003, by Alex Welch and Darren Crystal is an image hosting, video hosting, slideshow creation and photo-sharing site. VCs including Insight Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures funded the company.
According to comScore, January 2007 reports, Photobucket has 17.6 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S. and over 27 Million unique monthly visitors worldwide. The site has over 40 million registered users. According to Reuters, Murdoch’s Newscorp, owner of MySpace, is all set to acquire Photobucket for an estimated price of $250 million. Photobucket, with close to 3 billion photos, is the # 1 photo site in the world. >>>
A brand is a person’s perception about a company, a product and/or a service (support, training, customer service, straight service).
It is emotional and personal: each of us decides to recognize a brand positively, negatively or not at all.
A brand is what people say it is, not what a company tries to project as its image.
A brand becomes the reference point for people to compare alternatives when they buy.
Case in point: Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, both popular grocery chains. >>>
We continue our discussion on India’s economic development, and the gaining affluence of the middle class. Harish challenges the common statements that there is high economic growth, countering that the growth only affects a very limited portion of the population.
SM: So the middle class has created affluence. HH: 18% of the wealth is with 1% of the population. For me, that is scary. There are 80,000 auto rickshaws in Bangalore alone. People say that is a growth. How is that growth? These are 80,000 who cannot find a job, and the only other thing these people know to do is rent an auto rickshaw and drive it. >>>