Why Instagram and not Polaroid?
Why Draw Something and not Pictionary?
Why Words With Friends and not Scrabble?
Why Skype and not AT&T?
Why iPod and not Walkman?
Heads First creates advertising for products in the physical and digital sectors but even so, I just don’t get it. So many physical brands own such great products and yet rarely do we see them become market leaders in the digital space. Why? Is it because digital so often means free? Is it because it could steal revenue from the physical product? Or is it because digital doesn’t fit into the core brand guidelines?
Whatever the reason, this shouldn’t be happening; not on such a regular scale. OK, maybe Sony really didn’t forsee how digital music would require a digital marketplace but they still had time, plenty of time, to trade on the goodwill of the Walkman brand. All they had to do was to be bold.
It can’t be a financial thing either. Not when companies such as OMGPOP sell for $220 MILLION on the strength of one game (Draw Something). Bubble money or not, that’s value any company would jump at.
It could be that older companies, with such great physical products, don’t have the culture necessary to translate their brands into digital products that have real value (though really, I don’t understand what culture is really needed to grasp this – it’s like deciding whether or not to accept the offer from a big Hollywood studio to turn your theatre production into a film).
I’d love to say that there is time. I’d love to urge brands to make the leap now before some smaller, hungrier gang of 4 geeks just bases an idea on their hundred year old products but really, I suspect that chance has almost gone. There is no real risk for brands adapting their products into the digital world. The risk is in not doing it before someone else does.
The challenge now would be to get smarter.