A fair question 3 years ago could have been “Who remembers life without broadband?”
Last year, even late majorityans asked “Who remembers life without Wi-Fi?”
If Duracell plays it right, people in 2012 may be asking “remember plugging a phone charger into the wall?”. To get there, they face a few brand challenges.
For those who haven’t been following, Duracell’s new MyGrid (sounds like HyBrid?) is as close to Wireless Charging as people have been able to get. Here’s how it works:
- Plug the MyGrid panel somewhere in your house. Leave it in that spot.
- Plug a little connector into your phone’s charger slot (you can leave that jack in permanently)
- Place phone (and a few other phones) anywhere on MyGrid to let them charge
In a nutshell, Duracell face their own version of the TiVo problem. When introducing a new consumer category, you need to be as clear as possible what that category (frame of reference) is. TiVo’s early sales faltered when their marketing team refused to call it a Video Recorder (a category people already understood), opting for a more esoteric concept of “Viewer Freedom.” A difficult setup process and limited cable & satellite company contracts increased barriers to TiVo enjoyment.
Duracell has a wonderful product on their hands, but they need to clarify what this thing is; or more importantly, what consumers and electronics retailers will end up calling it. They’re hedging their bets so far by (a) giving it a branded name that alludes to a power station – MyGrid and (b) including the terms “Battery Charging Pad for Mobile Devices” AND “Charging Mat” in the code of their MyGrid website – just to ensure interested Googlers can get there.
Duracell is also taking a big leap (or trying to make a big stretch) by extending the brand into a non-battery for the first time. I think people are ready for Duracell to mean anything related to portable power, but I would love to see their research on how willing consumers were to stop thinking of Duracell as “disposable.”
Today’s points to Duracell’s brand team:
- Stop Hedging. You’ve chosen a name, now consistently link it with your BEST bet on what consumers will call this category. I would go with Mobile Charging Pad and always link MyGrid to the descriptor as in “The new MyGrid Mobile Charging Pad helps your mobile keep going and going and going” Get rid of the other “potential” terms.
- Be careful about how “Duracell” branded this is. Keep the black and gold colours and overall identity, but consider an endorser approach to “Duracell’s MyGrid” or better yet “MyGrid by Duracell”
- Focus the first two years of marketing comms on “This is how it works” explanations. If people don’t get it, people won’t buy it.
- Make sure the second version looks either great or like a mini-power-station. In other words, watch out for Apple. They WILL (a) enter this space in 2010 (b) call it something Apple people would think is cool (“the iCharge – what a GENIUS name!” Blechh.) and (c) make it seem like they invented it.
Finally, no post would be right on this blog without a reference to burglary. Some kind of ventilated locked cover for this Charging Pad, which would also lock itself to a table Kensington Style, would be a delight.