Tag Archives: branding

Lada making a UK comeback?

The BBC magazine asks if the car brand Lada can make a comeback in the UK in the current era, given that now, more than ever, you are what you buy. One interesting quote:

Bayley believes the relative popularity of the Lada in the UK was down to two things – first, the car’s robustness and longevity; and second, the fact that owning one of these fairly drab, rudimentary vehicles from the East allowed one to wriggle free from the consumerist pressure to buy a big flash car in order to show off.

“Car ownership is all about cultural modelling and making a display, it is all about buying a vehicle that apparently says something important about your identity. The great thing about the Lada is that you could free yourself from all of that.

via BBC News – Can the Lada make a British comeback?.

Perhaps it could be a way around consumerism. A brand for those who don’t want to be branded. But, I guess, by saying that, it becomes an identity marker just like every other.

…and I’m a PC

im-a-pc

Interesting that Microsoft have taken the negative, slightly mocking slogan used by Apple in their “I’m a Mac” adverts and turned it into something more positive. I saw this banner advert whilst logging onto my hotmail email account (which I tend to use only for spam). Clicking on the banner takes you to a site which lets you pick what sort of Windows platform might suit you best.

A few years ago Volkswagen cars bought the Czech Skoda brand, recognised in Eastern Europe but ridiculed accross Western Europe. They sold cheap, ugly cars, made from cheap materials which break quickly. With such a bad brand reputation, surely, the best thing to do in Western Europe would be to scrap the brand nd intorduce a new one? But no, VW quickly increased the quality of Skoda cars to match VW themselves, and cleverly introduced an advertising slogan which turned the brand reputation on its head. The adverts showed people seeing the cars and not believing they were really Skodas. The tag line was “It’s a Skoda. Honest”  One advert even suggested that they had put the wrong badge on the front of the car. Anyway, the perception of the brand quickly changed and they are now known for producing quality cars at more affordable prices than VW.

I wonder if the Microsoft adverts will have the same effect.

Devaluing the Starbucks brand

The First Starbucks in Seattle
The First Starbucks in Seattle

It has been announced today that Starbucks have made their first quarterly loss in the company’s history (from BBC news). The article claims that shop closures are to blame. However an older article, also by the BBC looks at other issues.

They claim that the brand has been devalued through its own success. There are too many Starbucks shops around, too many in the same city as they began to take business away from each other. Quality has slipped leaving room for competition from more exclusive chains which serve ethical quality coffee, and independents that aren’t two-a-penny. They also tend to serve better coffee.

Latte Art at Stumptown
Latte Art at Stumptown

On my trip to Portland and Seattle in the spring, I drank wonderful coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters of Portland, and Top Pot in Seattle. These independant shops were way better and felt more individual and unique than the cloned Starbucks experience. And they were generally cheaper too. In Plymouth, I tend to go to Caffe Nero, an italian style chain which is cheaper and much nicer tasting than Starbucks.

Starbucks kick-started the coffeeshop craze, but have they become victim of their own success?