Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don't forget that competing brands work together in consumer's hands

Takeaway: when promoting a consumer product or service, focus on it's collaborative features. After all, most of us are naturally multi-brand users. Below is a real life proof.

I digitized my old VHS home videos, recorded in the European PAL standard, about six years ago. Apart from one tape which was recorded in NTSC back in September 1991. A friend had lent me his new camera just brought from the U.S., and I did my first video recordings then.

Yesterday I had some spare time at home. So I decided to have a go at the NTSC tape. Toshiba VHS recorder was brought back to life by replacing a worn out belt with a rubber band. Too bad, a fragment of the tape got first chewed up because of the faulty belt.

Samsung hard disk recorder would only play but not record NTSC video. I was left with the option of using an outdated Pinnacle USB TV stick with a video input.

MacBook Pro would not recognize the TV stick, and I didn't want to pay for software to be used just once. Toshiba notebook's Windows 7, on the other hand, quickly found a proper driver. Google helped me to find VirtualDub, open source software for video capturing which supported the TV stick. It came in Windows version only.

In about half an hour I was already capturing the priceless archive. But the story didn't end here. The open source software would not support compression. The resulting video file amounted to over 50 GB disk space. Samsung external hard disk drive came to the rescue, allowing for some basic editing to be performed on the digitized recording.

Back at the Mac, I browsed through a list of dozens of video converting utilities. A free one was eventually used to bring down the video file to a manageable 380 MB.

Notice the digital data processing chain: Toshiba – Samsung – Mac. Three grand competitors made to work together on a common goal, but each on own merit. Will any marketing communications ever convince me it's either/or for consumer brand selection? Clearly not in those cases where more than one device with similar functionality is used by a household.