Stand out, stay in shape else crash and burn: Kodak v/s Apple, Kingfisher v/s Virgin Case studies


Select a product, check the number of manufacturers offering the same product, see the difference, and choose the one that suits your requirements the best.

Had internet not been so advanced and comparison would have been tedious and selection based solely on visual appeal and convenience, then a product with bright colours and appeal to the lowest common denominator would have sufficed.

Now you have the internet, the cable and the mobile working in sync and delivering data about products simultaneously. With each manufacturer trying to outdo the other, the exclusive specialization is the key.

Exclusive specialization (ES) according to me is a special property about a product that makes it exclusive. This ES can be a marketing gimmick, a feature that makes a product stands out in the crowd.

A company can’t solely base its mojo on innovation anymore. A product which you have envisaged is probably in the R&D stages in some other company. A pipe dream that you think during normal day to day life may already be in motion someplace else.

Constant innovation + present and future adaptive marketing = $$$

Kodak Vs Apple

Apple Vs Kodak

Kodak’s Case..

  1. Monopoly in analog photography.
  2. Foray into every market that could possibly use images.
  3. The world goes digital, monopoly ceases.
  4. Kodak gradually shifts to digital, with innovation.
  5. Analog dies and so does a chunk of its income.
  6. They rely on the brand image rather than marketing it as new. No rebranding image after digitization.
  7. Slowly and steadily, Kodak becomes a name of past. 133 year old company files for bankruptcy.

Kodak never stopped innovating; it was their marketing which was not at par with its competitors.

Apple’s Case…

Apple captured the imagination of the youth and made Apple a brand that way synonymous with America. Though now hardly any part of manufacturing is done in USA, still the branding of Apple remains firm. Apple doesn’t rest on its past laurels but doesn’t let the market forget them either. But does this mean they gave up on innovation, no and their products now speak for themselves (literally, SIRI).

A look at Indian aviation turmoil

Branson vs Mallya

Closer home, Dr.Vijay Mallya who (tries to) ape Sir Richard Branson doesn’t understand one basic thing that makes Virgin and KFA completely different…. themselves. Mallya is an excellent manager, he took the company from pillar to pillar, strength to strength and made the UB group stand at the pinnacle of beverage industry. I have no doubts in his crisis management and restructuring abilities.

At this point though I guess he might be considering selling or partnering up with some foreign company or sell breweries to keep flying (like Branson sold Virgin label to revive the aviation business).

Branson is a visionary, he knows how to start a business from scratch, enter risky areas and make profit. Aping him or the Pirelli calendar will not really help Dr. Mallya. Restructure it and change the whole company image and run it on the lines of Indigo. That is sure to kill the flamboyant KFA image, but survival will build the investor confidence.

Branson and Mallya are really good in publicizing. They themselves are brand ambassadors for their respective brands, Branson uses stunts to grab eyeballs and Mallya throws grand parties. This is one common attribute, else they are poles apart.

What’s your take?

1 Comment
  1. Vineet Bhanot says

    its just TIME, nothing else.

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