DOES BRAND MATTER?
Sure it does. Come on, really? Look around your office, your bedroom, your car, wherever you spend a lot of time. Are you Johnny Generic? (Probably not) There are some things that you have been loyal to all of your life, your toothpaste, the kind of butter you buy at the store (I love butter), maybe your car. A lot of us have been loyal to the LED manufacturers that built the first, second and third generation offerings for the rental and staging market. Stagers and clients have been brand loyal for many years. The Chinese have entered the market with a force, and there is no turning back. I have been to Shenzhen and the sheer number of factories producing this equipment would baffle your mind. It makes no sense.
For the past ten years we were accustomed to having a handful of major players, Barco, Daktronics, Lighthouse, Mitsubishi, Toshiba etc. Each manufacturer became known for something, their great processing, their innovative design, their reliability, their steak dinners…they built their brands around all of those things. As rental houses, we gravitated towards the ones that matched our needs, and we became brand loyal, then we preached the gospel to our clients. The past few years VER has brought WinVision to market, (Joe Blow, real name removed because of individual’s internet paranoia) at (real name removed because of individual’s internet paranoia) and (real name removed because of individual’s internet paranoia) have brought their (brand name removed because of Top Secret Search Engine Optimization Technologies) series…and know we’re offering our own, Color Specific. These ARE brands, and they DO matter. If someone orders some Chinese LED off of the internet, and they slap a sticker on it that says “Joe’s 10 millimeter” is that a brand? It sure is, and what does it represent? It represents Joe’s commitment to cutting corners and being cheap and you will learn all about it when you hire Joe to bring screens to your event.
When I am in a competitive bidding situation, and I am trying to convince a potential client that my offering is the best choice for their show, I will often ask…”What kind of gear/products are the competition offering in their bid?” It blows my mind when a guy says, “Well, I’m not exactly sure, their quote just says 17’ x 27’ 15mm LED screen.” Oh….that’s clear. Those 15mm screens are really nice, tough to compete with that. Come on people! Stop accepting that vague bullshit. Demand a brand! Even if its a young, start up brand. demand that they put their name on it. I debated for many months about what I was going to name our new gear. I was damn close to just calling it Doug’s LED….because our clients trust that I have done my homework, and that we inventory a quality product, so I didn’t think the name would really matter. I’m not really into the name DOUG, so Color Specific it is. I visited countless factories. I researched for a year and half. I spent many of my nights “working a Chinese business day.” 12 hour time difference is painful.
I wanted to buy American, I love Daktronics. I love their gear, I love their people, I love the company. I love Barco. Belgians are just cool. They have great design genes. Lighthouse? How could you say a bad word about Lighthouse? We still proudly offer products from ALL of these companies, and hope to do so well into the future. There is no doubt that they have bigger R & D budgets than Color Specific, but I can tell you one thing from personal experience…they all drink at the same Irish Pub in Shenzhen. *That’s the punch line folks. Its not the craftiest punchline ever written, but if you spend a minute thinking about it…you’ll get it.
Do you get it?
*to be fair, there was no one at that bar from Daktronics.
President of Upstage Video