Branding Blunder-Creative Technology’s Mistakes

Recently I was interviewed by Marketing Magazine, a local magazine in
Singapore that keeps close tabs on the marketing strategies companies of
all sizes use to reach out to their consumers. I thought that this is
an excellent case study of how important positioning, branding and
marketing are for your business.

For their feature story on Branding, the magazine asked for my comments
on Creative Technology’s (renowned for its sound card and MP3 players,
and most recently for its legal tussle with Apple) branding efforts.
While I’m a fan of Creative, I have to say that their branding leaves
much to be desired. In particular, comparing the arch rivals of Creative
Tech’s MP3 players vs. Apple’s iPod, it is easy to see where Creative’s
branding efforts had gone wrong. Below is a simple comparison of its
rival’s branding moves.


(A marketing and branding savvy company)

1. Understands the target market–young people want to be hip and cool.
So they created a hip and cool positioning for iPod.

2. Very sleek and minimalist cover design–enhancing the hip and cool

3. Great ultra hip and cool TV ad, using black dancing silhouettes (all
the better to contrast with Apple’s corporate white) against a colorful
background + hit song of the moment ‘Hey Mama soundtrack performed by
one of the hottest groups, the Black Eyed Peas.

4. Very focused in the beginning, starting with only one color, one
model: The white iPod. This makes it very recognizable and easy to brand.

5. Special edition signed by U2 (very hip and cool band).

6. Featured in many hip TV shows.

Creative Tech

(A tech focused company)

1. Don’t understand their consumers’ desires, preferring to focus on
product features, etc (appealing to logic, instead of emotions) and with
no strong positioning.

2. Tacky cover designs. Responding to iPod’s sleek design, they asked
their own engineers to design their new cover design! Huge mistake!
Naming their products ‘Zen’ doesn’t mean that they will inherit the Zen

3. Bizarre TV ads that consumers can’t relate to: one series of ad went
along the lines of ‘something you really need’ and ‘Panda Rhapsody’, an
ad using a panda bear listening to its MP3 player.

4. Unfocused and fragmented: Zen Jukebox, Zen Nano, Zen Touch, MuVo
Slim, MuVo TX.. etc (confusing consumers with too many choices)

5. Special edition signed by Creative Technology’s CEO Sim Wong Hoo…

6. Almost non-existent.

While Creative Technology first came up with MP3 players, they lost out
their pioneer status advantage due to incompetent branding and
marketing strategies. Apple has always been an innovative company when it comes
to technology. But more important than that, it has always been a
company that is close to their consumers, understanding their desires.

On the other hand, Creative has no strong retail experience. Its
earlier massive success, the SoundBlaster, was a technological breakthrough,
but it was not really a retail consumer product. Most people who buy
computers don’t know whether the soundcard inside their CPU is a
SoundBlaster or not. Of course, there are those who demand technological
excellence and insist on having the SoundBlaster. Unfortunately, they form
the minority.

Sadly for a hip product such as an MP3 player, Creative chose to take
the same approach–focusing on technology only, instead of combining it
with a massive branding and marketing campaign. It is important to note
that Creative’s MP3 players have received many awards and critical
acclaims. BUT it sorely lacked the ‘street cred’, the approval from the
target market. How many times did you hear someone say “I really want to
get the Zen / MuVo / Jukebox”? You don’t hear much of that because they
all want an iPod.

That is why Apple’s iPod holds near to 90% market share. Just take a
look at the TV ads from both rivals and you’ll understand what I mean by
Apple understanding the consumer’s mind, while Creative missed it

So the next time you think that by focusing only on delivering the best
product, you will be guaranteed success, think again. Creating powerful
positioning, branding and marketing strategies for your business can
make a HUGE difference!

Digital Technology Brings Video Borescopes Into the Spotlight

A video borescope is a borescope with an illuminated tip.  The tip has a digital lens that relays images over fiber optic to an LCD screen device for viewing.  A borescope can capture both moving and still camera shots.  The video borescope works very much like a digital camera or video recorder.

The LCD screen can be a small handheld device or a computer screen. There are many different levels of quality of LCD screens.  Remember;  the larger and higher resolution LCD screen; the more expensive the video borescope. When looking for a video borescope; shop for one with high resolution and large number of pixels.

Wireless video borescopes are available that do not require an electrical outlet.  They are powered by a rechargeable battery.  This feature in it does drive up the price quite a bit at the current time.  Some come with a memory card that can be plugged into your computer port for image viewing.  This feature makes storing, transferring and manipulating your digital data very easy.

Some examples of practical applications that prove the savings of utilizing a video borescope are:

o    Inspection of machined parts all along the production of the piece will ensure costly errors are found and corrected immediately.

o    Quality control workers can monitor saved video borescope inspections and increase the likelihood that mistakes never reach the consumer and are fixed in house at the time of manufacture.

o    Accuracy when machining parts is very important, even computer controlled machines are only as good as their human counterpart.  Continuous monitoring can be achieved and documented with this machine.

o    Industries such as auto, diesel and aviation use it by their mechanics to check engines for wear; before costly breakdowns occur.  With the aviation industry this also saves lives.

o    They are helping doctors diagnose patients better by enabling the surgeon to make a small incision in the patient and look at the organs and body function. 

This specialized video borescope is called and endoscope.  It may allow a surgeon to use microscopic instruments to do surgery as well.  Recovery times have been shorten so much by this technology; a surgery that could have taken you two months or more of recovery time; may now only take two weeks to get back in the swing of things. You may have lower hospital bills and less loss of income.

Digital and computer technology allow it to create images that were never before possible.  There are even borescopes that have an articulating tip that will rotate 360 degrees.   You have access to every surface on the inside of any item you may want to view.

A borescope can be quite expensive; however there are some very adequate video borescopes on the market available without breaking the bank.  As with all technology; some of the features may become less costly the longer the product is on the market.