Ultimate Electronics… or is it Best Buy?

Once again this post is not about sustainability… well not sustainability in the green sense of the word, I will get back to those posts soon I promise. This post is about a subject that was inspired by Mark on Marketing Blog on that blog post iowaadguy was talking about the new color of 2011, but he mentioned one thing that made me think of this.

Iowaadguy said, “Let’s just say you want to get into the tractor business, I would strongly suggest you don’t select green.  But if you are anywhere near John Deere’s influence you will need a contrasting color to differentiate yourself.   In many cities, competing hospitals use the same blue.  Each hoping to out-color the competition.  It doesn’t work.  And, it confuses the marketplace.  Could you imagine Wal-Mart and Target using the same color to brand? Pick your color, but be sure to check around the marketing community in which you live and see if there is another dominant player using that color.”

Here in Oregon we are very familiar with Mark Wattles he was the founder of Hollywood video which had video rental stores and Game Crazy stores across the United States Hollywood Video had their headquarters here in Oregon. Over a year ago Hollywood Video went bankrupt, it was owned by another company by this time. However, now there are other stores across the United States that are closing down, this chain is also owned by Mark Wattles, it is Ultimate Electronics. I have never been inside an Ultimate Electronics store before, although that might also be due to the fact that very shortly after one of the stores opened here it was soon shutting down. The one thing that I never understood about this store, is that it was simply just another Best Buy store. No it was not owned by the same company, but it sold the same merchandise, and promised the same low prices, although Ultimate Electronics claimed even lower prices than Best Buy. They were taken to court a while back because of this lofty claim. So everything was almost exactly the same as Best Buy… even the color and look of the store.


Don’t these look oddly similar?

Now don’t get me wrong I am all for competition, and I never like seeing a chain become so powerful that other stores can’t afford to stay in business, but I am also a fan of being smart about branding your company. What did Ultimate Electronics expect? They had no where near the financial backing that Best Buy had to sustain the lower than Best Buy price claims, plus it didn’t help that they were branded almost exactly the same as Best Buy down to the look and feel of the Best Buy stores, and the color scheme of the store and logos. A lot of these stores had their doors open for only a few months before they started putting up liquidation sale signs.

The lesson here is to take iowaadguy’s advice, and choose different color schemes if you are of the same influence of another company in the industry that you are trying to compete in. Companies that do this might stand a better chance to actually compete with the top dogs in that industry. While the loss of Hollywood Video and other video rental stores was a significant loss, and a sad loss as well, the loss of Ultimate Electronics most likely will for the most part go un-noticed.

What are your thoughts on this?


The Green Guerilla