Viewfinder: Trusted Brands

The number of companies offering products and services is growing and so is the competition. In the early days of the camcorder, there were less than 10 brand names to choose from, all of which were internationally recognized. These days there are dozens of companies offering products that shoot video and you may not recognize their company name. Manufacturing camcorders used to be quite difficult when there where so many moving parts required to transport videotape from one reel within the cassette to the other. The advent (and eventual domination) of the solid state camcorder has eliminated nearly all of the moving parts. The components required for manufacturing a camcorder (lens, encoding chips, memory card slots) are now near commodities so it is much easier for a small manufacturing company to get products into the market.

I am curious about your perception of the importance of brand names. Are you willing to purchase a product whose name you don’t recognize but it has the right combination of features and price? On the high end there is the Red One and on the low end there is the Flip. These brand names are young compared to Canon and Sony who have gained a foothold and are prospering.

The same holds true for video editing software. NCH and Wax are very new brand names compared to Adobe or Avid. Writing video editing software has become more achievable. There are millions of software code writers and a plethora of code writing tools that make the process easier.

In both the camcorder and video editing categories, new products have been created which address smaller segments of the market. Pure Digital (now Cisco) made a very simple easy to use camcorder, the Flip, much easier to use than Canon’s low-end point and shoot models. In fact the Cisco now offers FlipShare, a video editing software solution that’s so easy, some people may not even recognize it as a software application. These examples are at the low end of the video production market, while the Red One is at the very high end. The activities of newcomers in the video editing software category are happening in the middle market.

You may have noticed a reduction in advertising in the magazines and web sites that serve the video production community. It is not clear how this advertising change may be related to the increase in newcomers competing with manufacturers with strong brand names. Perhaps some of the well-known brands are totally unfazed by the arrival of newcomers and their reduction in advertising is based upon other economic factors. On the other hand perhaps there is a greater concern and there is an intentional strategy that companies prefer to rest upon their virtual laurels and do less advertising. All of this is of obvious interest to me, but it isn’t clear if today’s customer cares much about brands and advertising to strengthen branding.

Matthew York is Videomaker‘s Publisher/Editor.

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