Amazon Has Over a Dozen Unmarked Private Label Brands (Aug 7, 2017)
Twitter Launches #SeeEverySide Marketing Campaign (Jun 19, 2017)
Americans Don’t Care About Nokia (or Huawei) – PCMag (Mar 7, 2017)
This is good from Sascha Segan, explaining why “Nokia” (really HMD Global) and its new 3310 are irrelevant in the US, but also in some ways more interestingly why Huawei (and other Chinese manufacturers) have long struggled here. With Nokia/HMD, it’s a long-standing lack of investment in the unique requirements of the US market including CDMA networking technology, whereas with Huawei it’s a more complex geopolitical issue involving Huawei’s networking gear. It’s easy to dismiss the US government’s objections to Huawei equipment in networks covering US network traffic as scaremongering or protectionism, but in a previous job I heard from very reliable sources about Chinese gear (not Huawei’s) in telecoms networks which had backdoors installed – these concerns can’t just be dismissed out of hand. But even beyond that, there are significant other reasons why the Chinese brands don’t succeed here, including notably the fact that those brands simply aren’t known, and in many cases the companies aren’t doing enough to change that. The one place where some of the Chinese brands do reasonably well in the US wireless market is the prepaid segment, were several have made a decent business. But that’s much less brand- and much more price-sensitive than the much larger postpaid market.
As usual, it would be great to understand in more detail the methodology behind this survey, but it’s not available. The Verge seems to have got the rankings wrong – from what I can tell, Samsung was 7th and not 3rd last year – but it’s also worth noting that Samsung’s score dropped from 80.44 to 75.17, which sounds a lot less dramatic than dropping from 3rd (or even 7th) to 49th. The fact is that there are a lot of companies clustered together between 75 and 87 points and so a small drop in the score produces a big drop in rankings. Since the survey was also conducted in November and December last year, when the Note7 debacle was still very fresh in people’s minds, I’m guessing it would score a lot better just a few months from now. Though the Verge picked up on Samsung’s drop as their headline, it’s worth noting where other tech companies sit too: Amazon is #1 (score 86.27), Apple #5 (82.07), Google #8 (82.00), Tesla #9 (81.70), Netflix #18 (79.86), and Microsoft #20 (79.29), all of which classify as either very good or excellent. It’s also worth noting that big cable companies like Comcast and Charter score in the low 60s, which qualifies as “poor”, while the major wireless carriers score 66-72 (“fair” to “good”), with T-Mobile top and Sprint bottom.
Apple is no longer the most valuable brand in the world as Google takes top spot – MarketWatch (Feb 2, 2017)
This is one of those exercises that seems almost entirely intended to garner interest for the company doing the evaluation, and indeed Brand Finance’s actual report starts by explaining how it does similar analyses for clients. As usual, the methodology is just opaque enough that we have no idea how the results are actually arrived at in detail, but it’s fairly clear that there is a financial component – in other words, it’s very likely that Apple’s drop in revenues in the past year had a big impact on its 27% “drop in brand value”. It’s ironic, then, that the report should arrive the same week as Apple announced its highest ever revenue and iPhone shipment quarter, not to mention highest Apple Watch shipments and revenue and highest Mac revenue. The short-term financial focus of the Brand Finance exercise is clearly something of a flaw in its methodology, but it’s generally worth discarding any such study entirely, unless it’s strongly rooted in customer perceptions of brands and the products they represent.
Galaxy Note 7 recall did not damage Samsung brand in U.S.: Reuters/Ipsos poll | Reuters (Nov 20, 2016)
The actual findings here are more complex than the headline suggests – those who had used Samsung devices tended to be relatively unfazed by the recall, while non-users’ opinions were swayed more, results that have been borne out by other surveys too. In other words, Samsung shouldn’t lose many customers over the recall, but might find it a little harder to win converts.