The Tom Dougherty Blog



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Another Sony catastrophe in the making

Once again, Sony is missing the point. Its COO, Phil Molyneux, has come up with a zany scheme to give Sony’s new spherical Bluetooth portable speakers a name – by holding a contest.

That’s backward. The correct approach is to conduct research with the target audience and learn what moves them.

Based on those results, the company should then develop the most strategic name possible to attract that audience’s attention.

It’s a mistake to find an individual among the audience who comes up with a name that simply sounds cool.

Brand strategy is vital. Without it, brand becomes meaningless.

Question for Mr. Molyneux: Would you hold a contest to find out how much money you should allocate to research and development?

A name is one of the first brand identifications a customer makes with a product. An understanding of what is important to the market must drive the naming process, not catchy suggestions from random individuals.

Let me repeat: You should never base any strategic decision on qualitative research because it’s not projectable to the larger audience. And holding a contest is qualitative on a ridiculous level.

Instead, Sony must ask itself a variety of questions. How are these speakers different from the competition? Who is the person that would buy these instead of the Bose, Logitech and Beats options? How will they use them? Where will they use them?

The list of questions is long. But without asking them, Sony will not be able to stake out a position that sets itself apart from the others.

It all begins with a name that has meaning.

What Sony is doing is confusing public feedback with a strategic and sound investigation into a target audience’s mind. Making that stupid mistake is a brand catastrophe.




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