Stick to the past and you'll miss the future

Some brands and their custodians just refuse to listen. To the wind, to the trade and to their cusotmers. What they have in the end is a lost market share and the brand's slow but sure death.

In this week's FE Brandwagon, Ravi Karamcheti, managing director and country business general manager, consumer digital imaging group, India, for Kodak says,

"It's far more satisfying to click and then print your pictures. "

Well, the last time we checked, all of India that has a digicam, in most cases has one or more family members who are a part of some social networking (orkut, facebook) or photo sharing site (picasa, flickr) where they post and publish their pictures. In fact, the only pictures we've seen around that are printed are those in wedding albums and in the print media. Kodak has stuck to the film business, and is the only one still selling film cameras- One camera with two films free. No wonder its at the end of the queue for market leadership in the 'real', digicam market.

Companies that stick to old products, technologies will only get so far with their strategies. They destroy the positioning they've earned over long years of brand building. Just by refusing to let go of their products or brands, or wanting to milk them long after their decline has ended.

Take Skoda for example. Octavia was its flagship brand in India for a number of years, and it did well in the mid D-segment that it was operating in.

Then, fatigue set in with the old car, and its design, and to upgrade, it launched the model launched worldwide as the new Octavia as the Skoda Laura in India- the old Octavia still continued with heavy price discounts and offers et al. Today, other cars such as Civic and even SX4 (now in hitting range due to the lower price tag of the Octavia) are taking business away in droves.
What then, prompts managements to do this-
ET page 4 Business of Brands

They just refuse to listen to what the market is saying. Models like the Vista and the Laura have replaced the Indicas and the Octavias of the world. Being available at various price points for every one just drives the 'real' customers away.

They can just look closer home. Hindustan Motors' Ambassador will give them enough fuel for thought.


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