Tag Archives: Positioning

Product naming going wrong, case: Apple Final Cut Pro X.

Since 2005 Apple has sold a professional video and audio production suite for OS X named Final Cut Studio. The core product inside this suite is Final Cut Pro, a video editing product. It has been around since 1999 and is used by many filmmakers.

A couple of weeks ago Apple launched the long-awaited successor of Final Cut Pro 7, called Final Cut Pro X.

Here is a test for all readers… by just looking at the name and without possibly any prior knowledge of Final Cut Pro…  what would you expect of Final Cut Pro X as a successor of Final Cut Pro 7 ?

Could it be: everything from version 7 and much much much more… including some super new innovations in video editing (why otherwise use the X in the name)? This expectation building was happening inside the community. To sum it up with two words, the expectation was nothing less than total awesomeness.

Apple however decided to do things differently. They build Final Cut Pro X from the ground up as a new product, leaving many features desired by the Final Cut Pro 7 audience out. To name a few: importing of video projects from version 7 to X does not work (hey? why do you call it still Final Cut Pro if it cannot handle Final Cut Pro files?), multicam editing (hey? isn’t this a Pro feature?) and many more.

Professional editors get even more the feeling that this is not a Pro product when they launch Final Cut Pro X for the first time. At that time a dialog is presented to import iMovie projects. iMovie is Apple’s entry video editing product that is part of iLife. Products considered to be used in the home environment, not by professionals…

As a result of all of this the product is rated really bad on the Apple Mac App Store. And note, consumers can only rate after they purchased the USD 299 product:

For any Apple product these are not normal ratings, far from it! So the question is could it be that the name positions the product wrong? I think partly it is. Let’s take a look:

  1. A name has a meaning. There is Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5. A consumer expects all of these to be photoshop. The same applies for Final Cut Pro. Unfortunately Final Cut Pro X has little or nothing to do with the previous Final Cut Pro 7.
  2. Do not alienate your target audience. Clearly, for whatever reason Apple is not after the professional market and that is of course totally fine. But it is not smart to let your previous target audience believe you still make a great product for them. In stead, Apple could have simply named the product iMovie Pro as many have suggested on their product reviews on the Apple Mac App Store. That way it would have been clear to the professional market that they should switch to another brand, without letting them buy Final Cut Pro X and be double disappointed. At the same time not naming the product Final Cut Pro would show to the professional consumer that there now is a product beyond iMovie that is not as hard to use as Final Cut Pro was. Something Apple clearly wants to achieve.

Take a look at the two reviews below. These reviews were served first when searching for Final Cut Pro X on July 19.

The big questions: would all of this have been different if the product was called “iMovie Pro”?
… And by doing so would the one star ratings go away?
… Would the endless complaining about the Final Cut Pro X not being the same as Final Cut Pro 7 go away?
Ultimately: would the product have been positioned correctly by naming it properly?
Screenshot from July 19, click to enlarge

Lexus LFA 350K sports car: why did Toyota not introduce a new brand?

Lexus LFAWith quite a few posts about car brands lately you might think that I am an actual car enthusiast. Truth to be told: not so much and at this moment I actually do not even own a car! So what is with the interest in the car industry? I simply think there are lots of interesting things happening. Brands are trying to reestablish, re-associate themselves or find ways to take a bigger bite of the pie.
This week I was reading about the Lexus LFA, a 350.000USD(!!) Lexus race car. Yes, that’s right: a 350K Lexus! The car looks stunning and according to Car & Driver the mechanics are really good as well. In fact according to C&D the LFA is on par with a Ferrari 599GTB of about the same price. C&D asks the question “in what parallel universe is this thing remotely Lexus-like?”

The fact that a comparison with Ferrari was made me wonder as well why Toyota did not opt to create a new brand for these high end sport monsters.

What would you think about the following:

Lexus?

Lexus? It simple does not work… this is a different car category than the once Lexus is competing in.  With Lexus in the category of high end race cars I am getting confused with Lexus: what is Lexus all about?

Would have something like Veloce have worked? I think so!

Veloce-brands

By creating a new brand, let’s say Veloce,  Toyota would have had all the freedom to build a high performance race/sports car brand. In fact by doing so, Toyota could stretch Veloce down with models around 100K and compete with the iconic Porsche 911 model, especially now Porsche has given up their unique brand position since focussing on SUVs and 4 door cars.

The fact that Veloce is by Toyota is fine, most people also know that Lexus is by Toyota and yet they are happy to pay the extra dollar. At the same time Toyota is racing in the Formula 1 so it has at least some credibility.

And finally on colors: Ferrari is red and Veloce could by white.

all-with-cars

It works very well! White is the color of purity, which works very nice against Ferrari when executed properly.

What would you have done as brand manager at Toyota HQ? Let me know your ideas!

Volkswagen USA: what is happening?

Since my visit to the New York auto show in April I have been wondering about the Volkswagen brand positioning here in the USA. In Europe Volkswagen is really positioned as the peoples car and as such their visual identity and communication reflects that.

Here in the USA it has been different and VW has been making some steps a long the way. Take a look at the examples below:

Playing tough...
Previous website: playing tough...
... friendly, the brand for everybody
Current website: perhaps too premium design? And... where are the People?
Very sophisticated at the New York auto show April 2009
Very sophisticated and premium at the New York auto show April 2009
Even though next to Audi, the VW stand really looked much more premium
The Audi stand next to VW looked really basic...

Yes, Volkswagen has made progress from the tough looking old website design to the more approachable current design but it still feels Volkswagen is a bit lost.

It is lost in its positioning against Audi, the other brand in the Volkswagen group.

In order to be the people car it should not out win Audi in webpage design. It should also not out win Audi either in big events like the New York Autoshow. It should never out win Audi.

What should Volkswagen do? It is of course up to the Volkswagen Group to figure out how to play with Audi, VW and Porsche in their brand portfolio but it is clear that there is some clear overlap at the moment. That is bad, as it will decrease distinctiveness of these wonderful brands against competition. My recommendation would be to bring much more focus on what made Volkswagen big: being the people car and Das Auto! There is a lot to play with when you think of a car for the people. That is, The Car for The People!