Branding Isn't Always a Good Thing

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Many folks know that I purchased a new Toshiba Chromebook for a very low retail price. While I've been thrilled with the device itself, I've kept the exact nature of my laptop hidden from much of the world.

It's not that I think that I made a bad buying decision, but Chromebooks are typically seen as an inferior products - they aren't as good as "real" computers. No developer worth his salt would dare to buy such a device when other (pricier) options are available.

So although I purchased a capable machine, mum's the word when I go and meet with technology folks. My nervousness is lessening over time - folks have often complimented me on my "MacBook," mistaking the grey color and diminutive size of my Chromebook for that of the much pricier MacBook Air.

Why would I possibly correct them? In fact, I go to great lengths to hide the Chrome logo on my laptop for fear that someone might discover my terrible secret.

If I were given the chance to run the Chromebook program for Google, I'd certainly go to great lengths to ensure that Chromebooks were indistinguishable from pricier laptops. Until this product has received a critical mass of converts, image-conscious folks will feel uncomfortable using a product that can be readily recognized by outsiders.

When selling an item that is perceived (whether fair or not) as an inferior good, it is usually a bad idea to expend any effort to brand or label the product as such. Such efforts erode pricing power and reduce the ease of product sales to image-conscious consumers.

Fortunately, I'm very good at holding my new laptop just right so few can see the engraved label. But even more fortunately, everyone knows that my book on software pricing and my associated consulting services are of the highest quality. I need not expend any energy to hide their branding!