Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 23, 2009 06:42 PM
Hark, I’m-a-PC people! The Scottsdale, AZ Microsoft Store has opened! Behold the high-fiving employees wearing sweaters in an array of bold colors! Lust at the enormous screens displaying Xbox games like Halo and Guitar Hero! Endure (if you can) the in-store Ashley Tisdale concert!
Microsoft’s long-overdue retail foray is well-timed with the release of Windows 7, which Slate calls “the best operating system on the market.” The news will also steal some thunder from Apple, which is also enjoying a particularly good week.
If Scottsdale is beyond your acceptable driving range, Destructoid offers an opening-day tour of the Microsoft retail location, and declares it the closest thing to an Apple clone since Steve Jobs pulled the plug on the Mac OS licensing program – but notes that “the people who care about that already aren't likely to be shopping in a Microsoft Store to begin with.” A second store is set to open next Thursday in Mission Viejo, California.Continue reading...
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 20, 2009 02:20 PM
How does a brand known for some of the world’s most innovative products spend the day it reports estimate-trouncing quarter-ending profits? If you’re Apple, which is enjoying a 47% profit increase, you’re announcing a redesign of several computers and peripherals (including the instantly lauded Magic Mouse), readying the introduction of (non-pirated) iPhones to China next month, and dropping hints (maybe) about a new line of tablet computers.
Add to that Apple’s efforts to help Think-Differently-cize Disney’s retail locations, recent operating system and iTunes upgrades, and anticipation of the latest attempted iPhone killer and the first Microsoft retail store, and you’ve got a busy brand that continues to defy definition.Continue reading...
when brands collide
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 16, 2009 07:32 PM
Thanks to Apple and Disney's new retail partnership, your kids may soon be satisfied with a trip to the mall instead of Orlando or Anaheim. (Though since Steve Jobs is involved, it'll probably still cost you.)
As reported this week, Disney is planning to spend $1 million per store over the next five years, with Apple's help, to convert each existing Disney-branded outlet from a simple retail location to a complete "experience."Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 16, 2009 05:36 PM
No one would confuse an amateur review of a Nikon D5000 on a site like Associated Content or Epinions with a more thorough overview of digital cameras from Consumer Reports magazine. But starting December 1, the Federal Trade Commission will care whether the writers received their review products for free – or whether they were paid to write a positive review.
This branding issue cuts both ways: The photographer who reviewed the D5000 wants to be respected as an authority on photography products. So if it's later learned he received a product he praised, his personal brand integrity takes a hit. Likewise, there’s a limit to the kinds of promotion that most consumers will accept from a brand, and blatant payola usually crosses the line.Continue reading...
Posted by Susan Chi on October 16, 2009 05:33 PM
MySpace is aiming for a comeback. The Wall Street Journal reports the once-dominant News Corp-owned social network convened its global ad-sales staff to strategize ways to use its still-potent brand equity in entertainment to lure back visitors and kick-start advertising revenue.
Despite being eclipsed by Facebook, MySpace retains strong brand identity and remains a popular resource for music and videos. It's still a necessity for bands. This cultural positioning -- and the tagline, "a place for music" -- makes viable the site’s new shift.Continue reading...
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 13, 2009 03:35 PM
Ten years ago, Apple Computer products were sold online or at computer retailers like the now-liquidated CompUSA. Today, the Apple Store is the jewel of many a mall and generates nearly five times the revenue as Best Buy per square foot of retail space.
So it’s no surprise that Disney called on one of the guys responsible for boosting its film fortunes – Pixar’s Steve Jobs, who you might also know is the CEO of Apple (and is on Disney's board of directors) – to help Disney inject some “think different” magic into its line of stores.
Steve’s advice: “Dream bigger.” That a computer company is demanding more creativity from the world’s largest entertainment factory, which once launched an initiative called “Where Dreams Come True,” says a lot about both brands.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 13, 2009 12:27 PM
In a move that can only be described as deja vu all over again, computer giant HP is introducing a new line of computers under the name Compaq.
How can we forget Compaq? Once the high-flying chief competitor to the IBM PC, Compaq lost focus in the late 1990s after a series of acquisitions, and stumbled for years until being acquired by HP in 2002. Ever since, Compaq has been somewhat of a stealth brand that one could easily assume HP had permanently sent to the brand graveyard.
But just in time for Halloween, Compaq has risen from the grave. In conjunction with the October 22 release of Microsoft's Windows 7, HP is bringing out a series of low-priced Compaq computers targeting small businesses. John Cook, an HP marketing VP, told InformationWeek: "Compaq is still a multi-billion dollar brand and some folks don't know it's HP!"Continue reading...
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 12, 2009 06:40 PM
Though it’s arguably taking over the world, even Google isn’t big enough to ignore the Federal Communications Commission, which is demanding more info about the intricacies of Google Voice.
Google claims the service is merely in the call-management business – e-mailing and transcribing voicemails, for instance – but AT&T charges that Google Voice, by blocking some calls to rural areas, violates phone service-provider laws, thereby making it subject to FCC regulation.
Google counsel Richard Whitt blogged that AT&T is “using regulation to block or slow down innovation” – guess which company Whitt thinks is the innovative one – and says the real issue is about “outdated carrier compensation rules that are fundamentally broken and in need of repair by the FCC.”Continue reading...