As I write this, the news that Blackberry is up for sale has been on the television and in the newspapers. This followed the announcement that 40% of the staff were to be cut. Four years ago, Blackberry had 40% of the American smartphone market. It looks as if this Canadian company will follow Palm into obscurity. We are also watching the swift decline of Nokia, once the leader in mobile phones. Even iPhone is losing its magic, although it still attracted queues at the recent launch of its new model. How much do brands mean to us? We are loyal to a point, but when something better comes along, few of us hesitate to switch brands. Within my own home, I have a Samsung TV, a Samsung refrigerator and a Samsung Galaxy. Yet I have no mental image of the brand nor emotional attachment to this Korean company. We can help our clients build and maintain a brand personality but unless the product or service stays ahead of the competition it will start to falter.
I am old enough to remember from my days in England, motor car marques such as Vauxhall, Standard, Triumph, Morris, Austin, and Rover. All have gone. In Singapore, Volkswagen and Audi have, in just a few years, become favourites. But with Google developing driverless cars and electric vehicles becoming more practical and environmentally necessary, how long will such brands last? We will almost certainly in the near future see the demise of the car as an individual reflection of our personality (or cheque book size) to become a shared means of transport. In Singapore, the driverless car is the answer to doubling the number of cars on the road while reducing accidents. Cars haven’t basically changed since the 1920’s and it takes a group of people like those in Google X to develop better solutions. Motor car brands that are familiar today will almost certainly disappear.
It is not just the telecommunications companies and car manufacturers who have to watch out. In the new digital world, we can witness Google and Facebook buying up company after company in an effort to be ready for the next technical development or consumer whim. They may currently be successful, but YouTube and Twitter are fast developing new areas so as to stay ahead of the game.
It is a ruthless world out there. We love you today but tomorrow?