Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brother's "Plan B" color laser marketing campaign

As is typical of a stimulating business conference, like the just-completed Lyra 2008 Imaging Symposium, I've come to expect that some thoughts, ideas and connections may take a day, a week, or even a month to really click in. And I had one of those "aha" experiences today, on returning home from Rancho Mirage, and thinking about the Brother "Plan B" marketing campaign, which includes well-done TV commercials that I've become quite familiar with in recent months. The "Plan B" spots, while not funny like the very popular Staples (NASDAQ SPLS) "Just Shake It" commercial of 2007, are well done and make their point with the following claim:
Plan A is following the crowd. Plan A is doing the expected. When it comes to printing, Plan A is not your best choice. It pays to look a little closer and then choose Plan B from Brother. We make printers and all-in-ones that give you more.

Lyra analyst Larry Jamieson mentioned the Brother campaign during his "Tuesday afternoon" presentation and he had a little different twist on the objectives of the company's marketing efforts. While we'd both agree that HP (NYSE HPQ) and its color laser printers and MFPs are the intended "Plan A" company and products, it was Jamieson's assertion that it's really SAMSUNG that Brother is going after in their communications, Samsung being the other viable #2 market share contender. Neither competitor has any realistic hopes, in the short term anyway, of coming close to market leader HP, but holding a strong #2 (or the "B" for "Brother) position is very important. In other words, their target audience is the more risk-taking, say, 20% to 30% of potential buyers, who might compare specs and be willing to go with another brand other than the market leader. Insightful thoughts, Larry!


max said...

Jim, I don't think consumers give any thought to who is the leader. When I was looking for a home printer a few months ago I didn't give HP much consideration at all. When you do the shopping it's not obvious who is the leader. All you see are prices and the product range.


I don't think the Brother PLAN B campaign is successful at all, but then again, I'm the opposite of their target audience. See
for more.

fred said...

I loved it, but i am their target demo; there's a new one that i just caught and I was actually inspired by it but it's not on youtube or their website...shows an architect or builder sitting in a windowless office who converts everything to what HE wants, with a very motivational narrative. This is the reason i left my corporate job of 8 years to go out on my own, so I'm slightly biased.