How brand could save HMV...
How a brand led approach could save this retailer…..
21 January 2013
HMV is a great British brand, bordering on a love brand, and its was with great sadness that it went into receivership, with the internet held up as its assassin – but I would put the gun firmly in the hands of the management team, who did not understand the power of their brand and leverage it in a commoditised market.
What makes HMV a great brand and could it save the business?
It has history
HMV have an amazing musical history and are part of the story of British music and its dominance across the decades. It provides a point of differentiation that cannot be duplicated by online brands or any future start-ups and has the potential to stretch into other media if licensed e.g. radio, TV, ticketing etc.
Customers love it
This is a brand that people love and were genuinely sad to see leaving the high street, and are actively routing for it to be saved. Music is about hearts and minds, it should be an emotional buying experience, every-one over 35 can remember buying their first record and the HMV brand is loaded with the emotions we associated with music. Customers want HMV on their high street.
It has amazing staff
The staff at HMV have always been knowledgeable, helpful and pleasant and have maintained an exemplary level of professionalism when dealing with customers during what must have been a very difficult week. Good staff, who live and breath the product are difficult to find and cannot be easily replicated, making them a valuable brand asset both in an on and off line environment. They have staff who want to work in HMV.
It supports new music
HMV supports the music industry, showcasing new music in-store, featuring original performances, providing a platform for new acts etc. If we start to live in a world where we buy our top 50 cds from Tesco, our musical landscape will narrow, decided by men in suits, and data analysts, making it harder for new acts to cut through. The music industry needs HMV.
What next for HMV
Sure HMV were tardy in embracing an online and mobile sales strategy and integrating it with their in store offer, but this analysis plays into the commoditisation of music, with sales based purely on prices.
HMV’s biggest asset is their brand, it ticks every box, it just hasn't been managed well. I would urge new owners to leverage this great brand and the passion people have for it both on and off line, to create a profitable brand led business and make Nipper the Jack Russell Terrier the most fitting of all brand symbols - as the business that never let go!