Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Not your father's PC

According to Engadget, via Slashdot, and probably via someone else...

The Commodore company, the same name that made PCs 20 years ago, is planning on competing with the likes of Alienware in the high-end gaming hardware industry. Now this is, of course, probably not the same people or "company" from way back when. People come and go, the brand survives. However, owners do drive the direction of their brand and this particular move perplexes me.

It's very similar to Acclaim. Acclaim Entertainment was the company behind Turok and all those games in the 90's. That company went bankrupt for multiple reasons. The brand, however, was alive if only in the minds of gamers. When Acclaim Games started, the company I was involved with, we leveraged that brand recognition. Sure, the last memory of Acclaim in most gamers' minds wasn't pretty, but the brand still have value in that it was built on better days. It worked for us because Acclaim is associated with games, good or bad and was relatively a fresh brand (only a moderate level of brushing off the mold was necessary).

What baffles me about the Commodore move is that the Commodore brand has quite a different background. Fresh it is not. It is connected to games (it was Atari's competitor) but again, those were different days from long ago. For those of us that even remember a Commodore, do we have any feelings whatsoever about that brand other than nostalgia? Therefore, can a nostalgic brand really compete in the same space as a cutting edge technology brand? I'm doubtful. It would be like Sony digging up the Walkman brand to sell high-end phones.

Brand recognition is valuable but don't forget the details of that recognition. If the generation that knows your brand is associating you with the wrong things, you have no value. If the current generation doesn't even know your brand, except in passing during some garage spring cleaning, you have no value. From there, you might as well just start from scratch and not carry the baggage of the brand.

Wishlist: The New Atari X9 with Blu-Ray. Classic controller optional.


Stanto said...

I fall asleep hugging my Commodore Amiga 1200.

Ken said...

You don't say?! I shower with my Atari 5600.