Interbrand Sampson chief executive Jeremy Sampson says: “Microsoft offers great technical features, but Bill Gates is not a good communicator. This has allowed Apple to move ahead cleverly where companies like Sony and Walkman, who should have cornered this market, have failed to plan ahead. Now Apple is regarded as the first mover in this space, and other brands are considered mere lookalikes.”
In the gaming console space, South Africa’s young people are divided on the merits of the PlayStation consoles and the Xbox.
Boys seem naturally more versed in the specs of gaming consoles, but they are also mindful of value for money.
“Gaming consoles are very expensive,” says Trevor Crouse, 14.
“One problem is that the technology dies out so quickly and is replaced by better machines, so you’re forced to buy another one. Then, the games are so expensive that if you buy a couple of games you could have bought a whole new console for the same price.”
Sensitivity to value for money has led many youngsters to opt for PlayStation games adapted for use on personal computers.
“Kids in our school have either a gaming console or a PC with PlayStation games. There’s nobody who has nothing to play games on,” said Michael Nicoll, 15. “When it comes to value for money a lot of kids also choose iPod shuffles because they are cheaper. Or, they just play music on their cellphones instead.”
Many young people are increasingly interested in co-branded products — following the example of the Dolce & Gabbana Motorola cellphone.
“We’d like to see something like the Xbox combined with the iPod,” adds Woods. Microsoft has included MP3 player interoperability and a docking station with its new Xbox 360, although there is not as yet an official relationship between the console and the iPod.
Sampson adds that co-branding was allowing companies to reach previously unattainable market segments through repositioning.
“Co-branding can help a brand reposition successfully through association with another respected brand.”