Should (Some) Companies Stop Branding Their Devices?

The title of this post is a bit controversial but I can't help it, when I see the names of companies on some devices today I wonder if my first impression of a new device wouldn't be more positive (or at least different) if I wouldn't see the company name so prominently displayed!? Let me give you some examples:

  • Whenever I see an HP notebook these days, I think, "Phew, that's the company that wants to get out of the PC business, this is one of the last" (yes, I know they since have said these plans are off the table). Time perhaps heals wounds.
  • Whenever I see "Philips" on a product it immediately goes back into the shelf because I will never buy a Philips product again in my life since the time they refused to give me a replacement for lost in-ear plugs for my noise cancellation headset when I had lost them due to them falling off all the time. A replacement part that perhaps costs one cent they refused to give or sell to me so I could continue using their headset completely destroyed their brand image for me permanently.
  • Nokia: So sad, whenever I see Nokia these days I think, "yeah, once a great company, being the leader in the mobile domain, doing open source, being open, creating great devices, etc". But with their 180 degrees turn-around earlier in the year to the ultra-closed Windows Phone OS, the slaughter of Meego and Symbian and their subsequent ultra quick move from market leading company to insignificance makes me feel sad when I see a Nokia logo these days.
  • SonyEricsson: Now that Ericsson has sold their stake to Sony and devices are likely to be re-branded soon, anyone with a SonyEricsson phone in their hand will immediately be identified as "out of date".
  • HP/Palm/WebOS: Out of business, just like that…

Perhaps you think these thoughts are shallow and one should look behind the company names. But I think the opposite is the case. Companies keep changing their strategies and leave an impression to consumers (or at least to me) that no matter when I buy something from them, the company is going to change in their core values (read: not only their marketing campaign) the second I've swiped my credit card through the reader at the cash register and the device I bought and the ideas it was built on top will not get support from the company in the future and will not see any successors.

Perhaps with the mobile industry evolving at such a quick rate, such twists and turns in very short succession are unavoidable as companies search for ways not to fall behind and gain market share. As a consumer, however, this makes me feel uneasy.

3 thoughts on “Should (Some) Companies Stop Branding Their Devices?”

  1. Aaah! But the brands aren’t aimed at you alone. There are a lot of people out there who see a name they know and buy the product because of the name – and that includes Nokia and Sony Ericsson as well as HP.

    These are the mass market! They have been brainwashed into branding. If it has no logo – it’s rubbish!

  2. So true, both the post & Jason’s comment.

    If everyone had the same experiences and cared enough then maybe it’s have an impact. But the fact is that 99% of the people just don’t know or care about Nokia’s, HP’s or you-name-it’s idiocies, mistakes or perceived mistakes.

    That, and you have to use _something_, and there hardly is the perfect brand for most categories.

  3. > As a consumer, however, this makes me
    > feel uneasy.

    You (also people reading your blog and commenting) are a special kind of consumer — more like business users (who tend to select their devices after a careful evaluation of features, connectivity options, price, reliability, long-term support) than mass-market consumers (who change their phone every second year or even more frequently and trade their barely used devices on e-Bay).

    By the way: Nokia, Palm, RIM, and SonyEricsson to a certain extent were corporations that had a leg solidly in the business segment — and it showed in the resulting devices (feature rich, plenty of connectivity options, security, long-term support). The fact that everything is going mass market with iOS, Android and even Windows Phone goes a long way to explain the demise of those once proud companies and the dearth of suitable replacements you are deploring.

Comments are closed.