Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bose Art

Talking with a UVa marketing major recently, I was surprised to discover that Bose® isn't used as a case study. Bose has carefully built their brand equity by delivering what their customers want -- better than average sound, discretely elegant styling, simplest possible setup and operation.

Harkening back to the Pew study, Bose successfully markets to those who either use technology grudgingly, or those who prefer not to use it at all. And by serving that large demographic well, they've become a very successful company. Here's how:

  1. Bose knows technical specs are intimidating to the average person -- Bose doesn't use them.
  2. Bose knows their customers don't read Stereo Review audiophile magazines. Bose places ads in the publications their customers do read -- upscale and general interest publications, like Architectural Digest and Parade Magazine.
  3. Bose knows hooking up electronics is scary for most people. Bose uses propiatary color-coded connectors. Everything hooks up just one way, and connectors are kept to a minimum, well within the comfort level of non-technical folks.
  4. Bose knows mixing and matching A/V gear is off-putting. Bose designs their products so that Bose gear always works with Bose gear. As long as you buy Bose, compatiblity is never an issue, and its always easy to hook up.
  5. Bose knows their customers don't think A/V gear is the most important part of their life. Bose equipment is styled to unobtrusively blend in to the decor -- not call attention to itself.

Finally, consider the Bose's uMusic® intellegent playback system. Feed CDs into the media center of a Bose Lifestyle® system (or similar Bose home theater system), and all the tracks are automatically copied. The system's loaded with a database of albums and titles, so it automatically fills in that info. Call the menu up on your TV, and delete out the tracks you don't want. Voila -- you've got a digital music library.

While this may seem awkward compared to the iTunes or Windows Media experiecne, consider this: Umusic lets you build a digital music library without using a computer or the Internet.

And that's appealing to a significant part of the population -- perhaps as much as 49%.

So why aren't marketing majors studying Bose? It's a mystery to me.

- Ralph

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