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Brad Breininger & Marko Zonta

Zync - Journal | When brands collide.

Discussing strategies behind brand wars.

When brands collide.

Do brands purposely create rivalries to increase attention?

How important is it to enhance the overall story so that all brands benefit? From Coke and Pepsi to PlayStation and Xbox, brand wars have been going on for a long time—and the truth is, everybody wins.

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Recorded on November 16th, 2020


Brad Breininger: 0:00

Hi, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Everything is Brand. Last week, a couple of big brands were releasing gaming platform. So it was a bit of a war between Sony and Microsoft for their new game consoles (Playstation and Xbox). And it got us to thinking about what happens when brands collide. So whether it’s McDonald’s and Burger King Coke and Pepsi, Apple and Samsung, well, quite honestly, Apple and pretty much everybody else. But is there an advantage to these brands colliding? Or is there a disadvantage? Does it go against what we know about branding for these brands to compete? Or does it actually fuel the whole industry? So what do you think, Christian? Does this battle of the brands help brands? Or does it hurt them?

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC: 0:50

That’s a good question. Actually, I consider myself a gamer, or I don’t have all the time to play video games as I used to have but I usually follow these brands. And I actually find it fascinating. I’ve been following them for the last couple of weeks, because of course, that console launch that was happening. And it’s crazy how people react. We usually talk about, for example, brand loyalty, there’s so much of that, when there’s such a big launch every five to seven years that there’s a new iteration of those consoles, the brand loyalty is skyrocketing. So that’s one interesting point. We’re in the midst of a pandemic, people are looking for ways to spend their time and it was crazy that a couple of weeks ago, both consoles were trending topics even above and beyond that Trump versus Biden elections.

Jeremy Linskill: 1:54

Christian. It’s interesting, you say brand loyalty, because I was thinking about this. And you know, what is the strategy behind? Why these companies are coming here at the same time? Like is the benefit is that you know, I think that honestly, like my reaction to that is around this brand loyalty thing years, I think that if I don’t know which one came first, to be honest with you, but let’s say if Sony came up first, with their with their machine, kids and parents and everyone, I guess, so alike are so desperate for the new technology, that I don’t think there’s any brand loyalty, I think the issue here is that whoever comes up first, if the other one doesn’t follow immediately, everybody is going to jump onto that train and buy that machine. And I think that that’s the real situation here is why they ended up colliding was because they realized, and again, this is just my interpretation button, they realized that if if they don’t both come out at the same time, or that one doesn’t follow the other, they’re going they actually could lose a huge amount of their audience. Because everybody, you know, my kid play video games, for instance, if all this friends and get the latest machine, and it’s like, well, but I have an Xbox over here. I want to play with my friends and they’re playing on the new platform. I’m gonna, my kid’s gonna pressure me for that he’s not tied to Xbox. He’s like, he just wants to play with his friends. He wants to be playing the latest and greatest. So, I mean, I think that maybe that’s why they did that from from this perspective. So I don’t think there is brand loyalty. And I think that that’s more what they’re addressing the situation and hang out. Okay.

Gabi Gomes: 3:24

So a couple of things. Number one, let’s not kid ourselves that they both launched these new platforms, they launched them right before the holiday season, right? So we’re getting we’re getting into the holiday season. They know they need to get in before in terms of shipments and whatnot in order for it to arrive for the holidays, Christmas, etc. But the other thing is that the difference between these two platforms largely is the games, correct?

Jeremy Linskill: 3:57

I mean, yeah, there are a few games, but I was actually talking to my son this weekend. And the games that all his friends are drawn to, or the cross platform games, because they’re the ones that they can play. They’re not segregating their friendship. Because like my kids, there are some kids that are on PlayStations. There are some kids that are on Xboxes. And if they were only to play the games that were available on their machines, they wouldn’t be hanging out which, frankly, you know, most of the ways that our kids hang out, especially during this COVID time is through their their online gaming platforms. They’re in their rooms on their headset, playing games and sharing conversations. And they’re doing that through games that they can play on both. They don’t really go off and play a lot of the games on there. I think the older generation goes off and kind of does that. You know, they’ll play a game for a game, but I think a lot of the younger generation the kids are playing because they can play with their friends. So they’re playing games, they can play on both sides. So anyway, I just want to put that in there.

Gabi Gomes: 4:56

Yeah, so then it becomes what? So if you’re thinking that you know The platforms are all going to go cross platform and the games are no longer proprietary to the actual platform, if that’s the wave of the future, and we’ve seen that with that bloody game, that all the kids are playing fortnight, that’s the one of the major ones that are cross platform. If that’s the wave of it, then what is the differentiation between the platforms?

Jeremy Linskill: 5:21

Yeah, I mean, the difference is, is the games that they offer that are right now for them that that’s the differentiation. And that still exists, I think, like, I still think that the old the older people, or whatever, are drawn to certain games, and my kids will get there. But I mean, I think that, you know, I think you brought up a great point, I think, you know, the holiday season. Absolutely, I think and again, that goes back to my lack of brand loyalty in this situation, of like, the kids are gonna want something under the tree. And if only one machine was to come out, that’s probably the machine that would be under the tree. But if they both come out, then at least parents are going to be picking up the one that they probably had before. Because it’s easier for them to do that. They know what to buy based on that.

Brad Breininger: 6:03

Yeah, that brings up a really good point, Jeremy, that I think you’re alluding to, which is this idea that when the whole industry is lifted, every brand succeeds within that, so if one of the brands were to release their gaming platform in a sea of where they were the only one yes, they might get some loyalty, but that rivalry and if we look to history, we see these rivalries throughout brand history where those rivalries have actually created buzz they’ve created conversation they’ve created want or desire for those elements. Like if you look at the whole Mac PC battle that still goes on to this day, you know, they’re constantly trying to outdo each other, who’s better, who’s worse, you know, you have the Mac personality, you have the PC personality, you have the Mac, try the the PC tribe, it almost creates this idea of warring factions, or, or this idea of who’s better and who do I belong to? And it just elevates the whole conversation. Do you think that brands know this? Do you think that they use that to their advantage?

Gabi Gomes: 7:06

I think they know it, or they somewhat forced into it, what they love what they like to have a monopoly where there’s no competition? Absolutely. Every brand would love to have that. But do I think that inadvertently It forces a brand to innovate to do better to constantly keep hungry and not you know, wrestle on laurels? Absolutely. Look no further than the airline industry. For example, you know, Air Canada westjet Air Transat, I mean, those two are gobbling each other up in terms of Air Canada Air Transat right now, but westjet came out as a smaller player, employee owned company, completely different experience, which actually, I think consumers benefited from it in terms of having more choice to fly around the world and around Canada. But we got a completely different experience with Westjet, we had a company that purposely went out there and did something different in the airline space, right. Uh, personally, I’m one to think that we need more of that we need more challengers in order to drive down cost is one of them. But in order for companies to continue to innovate, and to be different, and to constantly keep the consumer in mind and bring value,

Marko Zonta: 8:16

But it’s also, you know, when it comes to some brands actually becoming very large and, and occupying a huge percentage of the market creates a bit of a vacuum as well, right? You know, what are you talking about airlines and all of a sudden, you have a huge airlines that charge a certain amount of money, they your business a certain way. And then you have like a newcomer, basically, that actually wants to change that that experience has a different story, different approach, and actually create the new opportunities. So having those brand stories that are established, and then that go a certain way, and that creates opportunity to see in some other ways, right. So and in some cases, some of those small players actually become very large, very quickly. And you will have again, that, you know, that kind of large brand competition happening and you know, it’s interesting actually see, even historically, you have some large brands like Coca Cola and Pepsi, that are constantly fighting for for market. But it also gives them opportunities to actually refine their stories and have different approaches to who they’re speaking to and how they’re telling their story. So it’s, so I think that overall, it’s great for brands.

Brad Breininger: 9:31

Going back to your example, Gabi, of this idea of being challenged, you often hear athletes who say when they are so head and shoulders above everybody else, that they don’t feel that challenge, they almost perform better when there’s another athlete that is within their range, and you see it like especially in sprinters or runners where they push each other to do better and increase their times. And so it’s almost like that the collision allows for greater change. meant and allows for an even broader conversation around either you know, the brand or the sport or whatever it might be. And, you know, using your example of westjet. In the early days, westjet had a certain personality, but over time, as they became large, they pretty much flowed into being quite the same as Air Canada. I mean, you know, now when you’re when you’re on either of those planes, it kind of feels like a very similar experience, but you’re writing the in the early days, it was quite different. So I wonder, is it less about the difference, because when you’re kind of a startup and or a challenger, you can kind of come and you don’t have to follow the same kind of rules that the that the main entity needs to follow. But does there come a point where the apples and the Samsung’s or the cokes and the Pepsi’s and the Microsoft’s and the Sony’s, they almost have to create this story, because there’s not as much of a challenge anymore. So they create this, this idea that there’s still the challenge there to benefit the entire industry that they might be part of.

Marko Zonta: 11:03

I think to some extent, that’s true. And, you know, they need I mean, they have to be able to continue to market to continue to promote themselves, so so they need a bit of a challenge in order to, to kind of push themselves. But you know, going back to the whole Westjet example, I think that’s a really good example in how a larger brand, actually then looks at a smaller brand that and basically, they say, wait a second, they may have something there, because clearly, they’re actually taking a percentage of our market share. So that actually forces brands then to actually adjust their story and an approach market, right. So it’s, so it’s kind of a strange thing, where smaller brands that are new to the market can be more aggressive can can really push the envelope. And that’s great for them. But then large brands actually look at that and learn from that as well

Gabi Gomes: 11:54

Look no further than the onset of the pandemic with Zoom, Zoom online virtual meeting platform, I think their claim to fame was really the ability to have everybody on the same screen, give Google one month, and they have the same features on there. And there went zoom. I mean, I don’t think zoom is suffering. But definitely Google caught up to them. And that one feature that differentiated one platform from another platform, and poof, gone.

Brad Breininger: 12:19

That solidifies what we were already talking about in this idea of video chats or video meetings, you know, whether it’s Google zoom, or now Microsoft Teams is in right in the mix as well. It’s almost as if having multiple brands involved elevates the conversation even more, would people still be doing video chatting? Of course they would. But it’s a little bit like, if you’ve ever been to like a koi pond, and you throw a piece of bread into the middle of the pond and all the fish kind of gather, it’s a little bit like that when you create a story or you create an event, more people gather to that event, and the attention goes towards that event. Very similar to what happened with the new consoles aunching. I think, Jeremy, you ring up a really good point. es, absolutely. 100%, you know, hey have to release at the same ime, because first in is still thing. And if if you’re first n and you’re the only platform n town, and your challenger is oming out very quickly, you’re oing to take market share for ure. So there’s multiple things appening here. I think there’s here’s multiple platforms being eleased, so that they create he story elevating the entire ndustry, because multiple big layers are all participating in t there is bringing the onsumers to the table, not only ecause they want a gaming latform, but because I mean, et’s face it, the diehard amers would be there anyway, hey know when things are going o be released, they know xactly what’s happening. But here’s this whole periphery, olks who may be elevating their ame system, they may not they ay be getting that for their ids. And by kids. I mean anyone nder 80 because they’ll play ideo games. But the idea is, is hat when you create these onversations, it brings more eople to the table, it brings ore eyes to the story, it rings more attention to what it s that you’re trying to do. oke and Pepsi and McDonald’s nd Burger King have been doing t for years and they’re not tupid. They know exactly that he entire challenge that they ring to each other creates a ore integrated story. And that ntegrated story is better for oth brands. I remember a great uote where someone said you now Pepsi is always challenging oca Cola for number one, but he reality is, is that being umber two in the cola wars is lmost just as profit. So it’s o there’s no harm in being umber two, you just don’t want o be number 10 or number 20 or umber 30. So you know being in hose top echelons is what eally brings the attention. It rings the brand loyalty, it levates the story and it allows hese brands to really nderstand that when brands ollide, everybody wins. So hat’s this week’s version of verything is brand new. Join us ext week we’ll have a new topic nd a whole new conversation. ee you then.

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