June 29, 2012 in Media
With Google’s very own tablet entering the market. From a strategic positioning point of view this is very interesting. It remains iPad against the rest. You still have only two choices. Either iPad or something else. Once you have made the decision against iPad you begin sorting through the other offerings. What was basically an iPad vs Samsung choice, Coke vs Pepsi with Kindle Fire 7-Up to the two Colas, became with the entry of Microsoft and Google a messy brew. A strategist and a marketer’s worst nightmare for those in the anti-iPad camp. New entrants galore, some blurring the line between new entrants and substitutes. iPad remains at the very top level of the choice architecture. Even if the first choice goes against them, they still are at the junction where the first choice is being made.
What happens lower down the food chain? Intense competition in a downward price spiral – note the Google price! – commoditization and wafer thin margins.
Of course Apple may still lose out in the end, category definers can lose big time, as did Xerox and Palm (remember Palm!).
What is happening in the non iPad camp has been described beautifully by Harvard marketing strategist Younge Moon in Different: Escaping the competitive herd. A must read for marketers. The rush to compete on features, benchmarking against the competition and incremental differentiation ends up in a blur. She points out, in the end the different coffee brand become irrelevant. What remains is the difference between coffee lovers and tea lovers. Within the categories coffee and tea there is little brand loyalty left.
It is now more than ever difficult to establish a real brand with brand loyalty. If you pull it off the rewards in the world of blur is so much more telling – it made Apple most valuable company in the world.