Category Archives: Technology

Toshiba: The Cacophony of Consensus

Asian companies often pride themselves on a non-confrontational, consensus building management style. Here is proof that consensus can create cacophony for consumers (and not much for the bottomline). Toshiba makes fine laptops. However their communication singularly and consistently  fails to land a  big singular point.

The example shown above (with my comments against the white background) is just one of the many from their hall of fame, which keep gracing global weeklies. Fine footprints of at least five departments (marked in blue text) can be seen on this work of art.

I can almost hear the “eager to get promoted” marketing manager ask the boss: “Sato San, What would you like to add to this ad ?”.

China : Factory to Studio?

Read my assessment of China’s  prospects of moving from being a factory for cheap goods (and  code) to becoming an origin point for new products, designs and business models.

http://www.ddb.com/yellowpapers/

Social Media ROI and Enterprise 2.0

So many brilliant people are racking their brains, blogging, putting awesome presentations on slideshare, youtube (like the one above)  on how ROI of social media campaigns can be measured and how several companies are already benefitting from making social media a key part of their marketing efforts. Continue reading

Amazon learns from Apple ?

After selling just the Kindle reader for 2 years, Amazon first launched the “Kindle for iphone” app and now “Kindle for PC” . It was high time. Not everyone into reading is happy to spend USD250 for the Kindle reader or has a iphone. Despite being a voracious reader I have been dawdling a bit about buying a Kindle. With “Kindle for PC”,  you get a reading experience half-way between the book like experience of Kindle  reader and the current reading experience on a computer screen. So 50% improvement at zero cost. Continue reading

P&G keeps learning.

P&G is one organization which continues to amaze with its hunger  for “more and better” in everything. Its arguably by far the best consumer goods company in the world. Outstanding people are the foundation of this reputation and they have been trained and groomed largely internally. But in today’s fast changing marketing landscape, even P&G is realising that it doesn’t have all the answers and needs to reach out and learn. Connect & develop was one such initiative to accelerate its product innovation pipeline efficiently. Now in another interesting move, there is a planned talent swap with Google with the stated purpose of – “to learn more about each other and about targeting customers”. Read more here.

If Connect & Develop was about maximising the value of R&D dollars, this  is about maximising the media dollars. Think about what this early dalliance can lead to  : The world’s largest advertiser ties up with what is perhaps the world’s largest media property.

The timing is also good. With the recession led pressure on margins and costs, anything which helps maintain or increase share of voice with a reduced media spend is welcome. P&G wants to know more about the online media habits so that it can confidently shift more media dollars away from mass-media. For Google, getting a convert like P&G would mean other companies will follow soon.

Well done !! Stock up on both the scrips.

Buy Dell shares.

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You can’t keep a good man down for very long. First SONY and now DELL is on a comeback trail. I can feel it and see it. The focus on basics – good product design, excellent customer service and relevant innovation – is showing. Read here about how they are listening to the consumer, turning complaints/problems into a positive opportunity for the brand and harnessing the “wisdom of the crowds” to develop new products or improve existing ones.  Continue reading

SONY: Getting the Mojo back?

I wrote earlier about SONY losing ground in key categories. There are some signs that the company is starting to get some traction in regaining its technology edge. Continue reading

Geek goes sleek.

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I wrote in one of my earlier blogs about the opportunity for mainstream laptop brands (Sony, Toshiba, Dell etc) to introduce better styling, color being one of the clear and simple opportunities. Last 3 months have seen many new stylish laptops being launched and the action is hotting up. 

Continue reading

mini1: Swarovski USB drives @ £100

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Note : Quite often I come across new products, communication campaigns and ideas which elicit a medley of spontaneous reactions like “Interesting idea, maybe they can price it differently, it can be taken forward this way, will benefit from xyz etc”. Starting this week, I will be sharing such thoughts via a “mini” series which will complement the longer “analysis” style posts.  The first “mini” follows,

Philips and  Swarovski have unveiled a range of crystal-studded USB memory keys and headphones at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, last week.

If the blinged out design catches your eye, the price may catch your breath at slightly over $200 per drive. The drives will be sold at Swarovski distributors and come in a jewel box. They come with a cord and can be worn as a necklace. There is a fairly basic dedicated website www.active-crystals.com for the range.

Rudy Provoost, chief executive at Philips Consumer Electronics, explained that the alliance enables Philips to enter the market of “luxurious and fashionable electronic accessories for women. These new products will change the way women interact with innovation and technology”.

My early thoughts:  The core idea- “fashionable electronic accessories for women”-has potential; USB drive price is high given the memory(1GB); in-flight shopping catalog listing and product placement can drive volumes; not a bad surprise gift for your wife/girlfriend especially the headphones; good addition of “style” to Philips’ “sense and simplicity” platform; missed opportunity for SANDISK (global leader in USB drives) to move up the value ladder in an increasingly commoditized category.