August, 2015 | by

A letter to Logitech’s competitors

When a company makes major changes to its brand it usually signifies a strategic shift in direction. This can be triggered by numerous things, from entering new markets, to competitive positioning, to reinvigorating sales by appearing “new.” Whatever the reason, it impacts their competitors. In the case of Logitech, their recent rebranding is made more significant because they are a leader in so many categories, from peripherals, to mobility and gaming. If Logitech applies the same Designing Thinking across all of their categories, the way they are starting with the Blok iPad cases, their competition will be left scratching their heads while they lose market share.

So what happens after all that scratching? Well, Logitech’s competitors now have to decide what they want to do about this. Do they want to stay the course? Make a dramatic shift to match Logitech’s move? Or maybe do something different to give their brand a little breathing room in the market. As they make these decisions, here are the three things they should be thinking about.

The first thing is whether you feel your company needs to respond in kind. The obvious example of this was Beats by Dre. After they burst onto the market, the audience was soon facing a slew of competitors trying to push the same thinking. And sometimes if you have a strong brand already, you can make this shift and be able to make your brand follow.

However, more often than not, playing “following the leader” means that you’re far too late. Logitech started with revamping their product design over two years ago. So, think of this new logo announcement like part of an iceberg; 90% of what is to come can’t be seen yet. Over the next few months I bet we’re going to experience new product announcement after new product announcement from Logi, and each one is going to feel like a shot to the breadbasket of those trying to chase them

So, what is the next choice for Logitech’s competition? Well, for one thing, maybe this is NOT the time for a copy cat move. Maybe instead of figuring out what their new meaning is in the market, you should look to your own meaning for the answer. In other words, why do you exist, and why should anyone care?

If you answered, “to make money” as to why you exist then you’re going to need to dig a little deeper. We interview dozens of Consumer Tech companies every year, and a common theme across many of these companies we talk to is that no one is on the same page. In fact, sometimes when we interview them, they almost seem like they work for different companies.

So, maybe your first task is to unify all of your efforts under a singular vision.  Uncovering the soul of your company and agreeing to “why” you exist will help guide you forward and lay the groundwork for a strong response. Even better, when done correctly, this means that your customers will come to share these beliefs and become fiercely loyal. So the next time a competitor does a big shift, it won’t matter. After all, do you think loyal Apple followers care when Microsoft changes their brand? Erm, nope.

A third way to address a new brand meaning in the market is to flip the script, and instead understand your competition and the meaning they possess. For instance, in tech Logitech means PC Peripherals, Otterbox = protection, and Beats by Dre = good sound (even if it’s not true). Once a brand earns a position in the market it is very hard to shake that meaning in the mind of the customer. Knowing what meaning your competition “owns” will help you to notice what opportunities are available when they make a shift, and how you can take advantage of them for your benefit.

Logitech just abandoned their earned meaning to become a fashion brand. They want to be the Apple of their categories, but whether or not that is a short term gain and a long term loss (or the other way around), is too soon to tell. What we can see is a very large opening where they once stood. A brand that knows where their competition stands means you can also take advantage when they move, grabbing an audience that suddenly feels abandoned.

So, before you react to a competitor changing their brand in the market, stop, and think about the best course of action. Take a long hard look at yourself and discover what you’re really great at. Be honest about what you are and, more importantly, what you are not. Then, look at the market and find your place in it. And then finally, understand what this change has meant for your competitor and their audience. And once you decide on a direction stop and remember, what will spell ultimate success is not being like someone else, but being true to yourself.