Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Changing Competitor Landscape in the Satellite Navigation Space

With the growth of mobile and smart phone users and applications built for these devices, Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs), like those manufactured by TomTom and Garmin, are set to face a tough challenge from GPS-enabled mobile phones. While Google and Apple are set to redefine the navigation space, with terms like Mobile Internet Devices (MID) getting clearer definitions, it is still too early to say which direction the navigation market will move in or what niche each player will create for itself. There are arguments for both PNDs and smart phone based navigation systems alike - will the future belong to PNDs, Mobiles or both?

For a thoughtful article discussing the shifting competitor landscape, explore the following link - http://mycoordinates.org/pnd-vs-mobile-is-landscape-shifting/.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Nike's World Cup

Already in its second week, there are a few themes running through the World Cup: for those interested in the football, the results obtained by minor nations against world power houses have been noteworthy; for those more focused on the spectacle provided by the biggest sporting event in the world, the vuvuzelas' incessant humming has given rise to mixed emotions; meanwhile, those interested in the business aspect of sports will have observed Nike's successful ambush marketing strategies.

Ambush marketing refers to a situation in which a company not officially affiliated with an event, the World Cup in this case, runs and ad campaign that links the advertiser to the event in the customer's mind without ever calling itself a sponsor, therefore creating brand awareness by association while saving the money that would have to be spent to secure official sponsorship status. Nike is but one example of a company engaging in ambush marketing, Dutch brewer, Bavaria, provides another highly publicized example.

Not only has Nike taken the World Cup by storm and turned attention away from Adidas, the official sponsor, through the thoughtful use of social media channels, it has gone a step further through the brilliant use of product placement on a scale not often seen. Much like the vuvuzelas draw the attention of the ears, Nike's distinctively purple and orange coloured boots catch the eye as much as some of the skills on display. While official statistics are not available, it is without exaggeration that it can be said that a significant proportion of the players on the pitch during any given match are wearing one of three Nike boot models that have the same colour pattern. The colour pattern is precisely what sets Nike's strategy apart from other boot manufacturers that simply see it as enough to get as many players to wear their boots as possible. By making sure that all models are of the same colour and by making sure that that colour pattern is as loud as possible, Nike has made sure that the spectator knows immediately that a given player is wearing a Nike boot without necessarily having to see the boat from up close.

Nike's advertising strategy for the World Cup is a perfect example of how to get new life from a tried and tested strategy and its competitors better realize, sooner rather than later, that mere product placement is no longer enough.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do Silver Linings Exist?

After several weeks and millions of barrels of oil spilt, Barack Obama addressed the American public last night from the oval office about his administration's response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While it may still be too early to fully assess the damage caused by the uncertain amount of oil that has leaked out of BP's Deepwater Horizon well and it may even be too early to determine who is ultimately responsible for what is sure to be the biggest environmental disaster in American history, it is not too early to begin to hope that the appropriate lessons are learned.

Much like the silver lining of the worst financial crisis in a generation was the fact that it would hopefully spur on much needed financial regulation and much in the same way that the current European fiscal crisis will hopefully bring with it increased financial awareness in what have been free-spending governments, the seemingly never-ending oil spill will hopefully usher in an era of increased environmental awareness. However, it is far from certain that any of the above-mentioned crises will result in anything more than band-aid solutions and political blame games. It is often remarked that a crisis should never be wasted - implying that along with tough times, opportunities often roll along. It is unfortunate that it is a characteristic of human nature that we are often only called into action after things take a turn for the worst but what is even more unfortunate is that problems are often never fixed, even after a disaster presents a perfect opportunity to do so.

In the specific case of the BP oil spill, what would constitute a reasonable outcome would be something along the lines of realizing the perils of relying so extensively on polluting fossil fuels and consequently taking steps towards moving away from such a dependence into cleaner, renewable and eventually cheaper sources of energy. However, what is more likely to happen is that BP will end up spending a lot of money cleaning up the oil spill, then cleaning up its image while the American government moves to ensure that its regulatory framework is better placed to ensure the safety and reliance of deep sea oil wells. Barack Obama's speech (in terms of content and tone) made a clear argument towards aligning the United State's energy policy in the direction of decreased oil dependence and increased renewable energy sources; however, only time will reveal which path was chosen.