Strangled by a name? ~ Brand Mix

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Strangled by a name?

When I saw the new Video Only store open up in Marin, I wondered how much business it has lost over the years because of its name. It doesn't sell only videos. It mainly sells TVs. Until I decided to write this post, I'd never visited the store because the name was enough of a barrier to keep me out.

Its About Us makes a valiant effort to make a silk purse out of this pig's ear:

"Video Only is much more than our name, we consider ourselves the premier home-electronics retailer on the west coast."
"As the name implies, 'Video Only' states a clear focus on Video and Audio related products."
"An abundance of recent technological advances has led to a cornucopia of entertainment media choices for today's wary consumers. Our goal is to help you cut through the thick jungle of electronic double-talk...."
The last of those three statements is the closest to how the store actually differentiates itself. It has a relatively limited selection of products displayed with a lot more space and focus than the Best Buy, right next door. It does seem less jungle-like. (On the other hand, based on my now one visit, it does have a more aggressive "Can I help you, sir?" sales staff that doesn't make the experience that much better from my perspective.)

Let Video Only serve as a warning to take care when picking names not to lock yourself into a narrow line of business that may make it more difficult to grow your business in new directions in the future. Be especially careful if you are connected in any way to technology where whole categories can become irrelevant in a short period of time. Back in 1982 when Video Only was founded, this name may have seemed perfect. Now it's a mill around their neck.


Anonymous said...

This is where Kitchen N Things, and Bed Bath & Beyond have allowed themselves a limitless cornucopia of wares for sale. Pity their names, though...

muondo said...

très bon blog

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