Sunday, 29 April 2012

Nintendo: Catching up with the Digital Revolution in Gaming

Nintendo blaming price promotions ( for a profit slump is nonsensical; discounting is only ever a symptom of an underlying business problem rather than a cause. Strong brands and product manufacturers do not need to reduce their prices to shift volumes. Judging by Thursday’s announcement Nintendo’s recent focus has been to desperately cling onto market share, even at the cost of profitability.
The underlying reason for such ailing fortunes is the expansion of their competitive set. The digital revolution that is underway in gaming (as well as most other industries) is fundamentally altering consumer behaviour in a way that is squeezing Nintendo’s devices out of the market – who wants to buy a hand-held console if they can download the games onto their iPhone for a lower price? Portability and convenience used to be Nintendo DS’ great selling point, but carrying one device is infinitely more convenient than carrying two.

This is part of a wider trend in technology that is leading the consolidation of devices into a fewer number of formats, each of which acts as a multi-purpose platform. The result is that Nintendo’s strategic focus going forward should be on software rather than hardware, both from the point of view of the market trends and the core strengths of their brand in the eyes of the consumer.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Boutique Budget Hotel: Redefining Luxury Customer Experience

Once upon a time, luxury brands were premium and budget brands were mass-market. Yet as consumers become more demanding, brands are becoming ever more creative in meeting multiple, seemingly irreconcilable customer needs.

The launch of Bloc Hotels is in Birmingham is the latest in a series of such feats. A ‘Boutique Budget’ hotel brand, Bloc has developed a new model based on an in-depth understanding of customers’ behaviour and needs when travelling on a budget (rooms start at £30).
As most short-stay travellers do not unpack and prefer not to eat in their hotels, Bloc has chosen not to offer storage or dining facilities. The resulting savings mean that its hotels can focus on those elements that cue a premium accommodation experience for guests: for example luxury linen, powerful drench showers, state-of-the-art WiFi and HD TVs, and a superb location.

By focusing on the brand touch points that make a real difference to its customers, Bloc is able to provide a luxurious experience in spite of its failure to tick all of the customary ‘luxury hotel’ boxes (with associated price tags). This innovative challenger model has potential to shake up not only the travel industry, but also potentially any luxury product category.

Even if you can’t build your customer experience from the ground up, do you have a full understanding of what’s important to your customers and what isn’t? Focus on the elements that have a real impact on consumers’ perceptions, rather than wasting resources on those that don’t, and you can create a superior experience without an associated increase in cost.