RIM and HMW – two brands who have both been in the business spotlight recently. And both brands, which, in my opinion, need to grow a pair to arrest startling declines.
Both of these ideas suggest that neither brand knows who their audience is, nor what they want.
The last decent piece I saw about RIM suggested that the company was going to pull back from the consumer market, and focus on the B2B segment instead.
That, in itself, is sensible strategy. Blackberry is designed for business, the B2B segment has very specific needs which the company can fulfil and, as the linked article suggests, this is a historic area of strength.
So what the hell is the company doing trying to flog an over-priced iPad rival into the consumer sector? Trying to continue to appeal to both sides of the purchasing equation is bad business sense – especially so given RIM’s current woes.
HMV, meanwhile, is pinning some hopes on this ‘social media cafe’ store in Cambridge.
Aside from the WiFi and coffee, everything else is already in existence with my local (sub-standard-retail-experience) Worthing branch.
Taking a leaf out of the Waterstone’s book (many of their stores already contain cafe areas) might seem like a good idea – but it isn’t answering a fundamental question:
Why aren’t people buying music instore in the first place?
And, following on from this, will increasing dwell time make that much of a difference? The coffee had better be good – many small independent coffee houses already offer free WiFi, so if you’re using that as a point of difference, it had better be the best Cup Of Joe for miles around.
It’s also entirely possible that the free HMV Wifi will increase scan-and-scram – the brand’s prices aren’t that competitive and you can often find the same item at three different prices on shelf anyway.
The space for local bands isn’t a new concept, and the ‘local exhibitions’ area is lifted straight from Starbucks… Hardly ground-breaking and, I’d argue, not that attractive either to the wandering consumer.
For every brand, there’s a big red STOP button. HMV and RIM need to find theirs and thump it for all that they’re worth.
But that requires huge amounts of bravery – to admit that you’re wrong and, rather than plough blindly ahead like a ship in the fog, take a few moments to sit back, look at the data and work your way out of it.
RIM needs to drop the fluff and get back to serving the business market, providing solutions that enable owners/managers to pull their business to the next level of profitability through streamlined mobile technology. Leave the consumer market well alone – Apple, Google et al have this sewn up tighter than a 50 Shades Of Grey WOM model.
HMV, on the other hand, has two issues to deal with. One is the instore experience and the declining sales. The other is slightly further outside their sphere – the decline of the High Street which provides a meta-environment to their current crisis.
I’m pleased that HMV adopted one of the ideas raised in my ‘7 thoughts…’ post (the cafe), but they still haven’t fixed the rest of it.
And with the other six points forming the bedrock of a business model, that’s a problem…
In order to remain viable, both RIM and HMV need to take some time, and innovate.
What I’m seeing today is more of the same. And if you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
Which, judging by both brand’s last financial results, is diminishing by the day…
Neil Hopkins is a Marketing and Branding Theorist at heart, and a Marketing Communications Manager by day. His blog – interacter – is the primary location he shares insight and information relating to marketing, branding and advertising strategy.
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Featured image is from oddsock’s Flickr stream under Creative Commons