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Image Should Reinforce Substance

When positioning your company or product, don't focus purely on image. Use image to reinforce perceptions of substance.

I began purchasing Sony laptop computers in the late 90s. The main reason for choosing Sony was that their "desktop replacement" laptops had all the features that made me more productive: large display, high resolution, and a touchpad. A bonus was that the laptops were sleek and stylish.

Though the stylishness of the laptops was not the primary reason for my purchasing them, it reinforced my purchasing decision. Rational or not, somehow the stylishness made me more confident in the quality and reliability of the product. My first Sony laptop did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, I am using it to type this blog entry. It has been durable and reliable.

After less than a year-long honeymoon, my second Sony laptop has been a major disappointment. It is even more stylish than my first Sony. However, it developed an overheating problem, the support for it was lousy, it went out of warranty when I needed it serviced for overheating, the backlight crapped out, its battery life is pathetic, and it weighs too much.

I had a similar experience with a Sony video camera.

Sony seems to be trying, like Apple, to establish itself as a fashionable brand. All of its products seem to be stylish is some way. But Sony is no Apple. Apple has substance to back up its image. Sony no longer does, at least in many of its newer products.

I would like to buy a new laptop, but I will not be buying a Sony, no matter how stylish it is. To me, there is no longer any substance in the "Sony" brand.


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