This achievement wasn't unexpected -- in August, 2007, we predictedthat Acer would become a formidable industry titan: "Acer's announcement that it will acquire Gateway is a clever plan, as Acer simultaneously improves its brand recognition, channel reach, and opportunity for gains in margin. Like IBM Deep Blue, Acer strategists calculated several moves ahead in the global PC chess game. If the execution is solid, this deal will create a powerful third-place PC competitor that will challenge HP and Dell by 2009, and it portends the rise of non-Japanese Asian PC superpowers."
Acer has proven shrewd in product strategy over the past few years. (Indeed, we declared that "even war strategist Sun-Tzu" couldn't have done better!). Acer's work with Ferarri was a masterstroke in branding (from an unexpected company, at the time). Acer's excellence in netbooks has ridden the wave of the market at the right time. More fundamentally, Acer's cost structure benefits from its proximity to Asian-based factories and original design manufacturers (ODMs). Dell, once the king of cost structure, isn't in as privileged a position. And Acer's access to retail channel (including Gateway's) and experience in SKU management in retail is currently superior to Dell's. (Dell re-entered retail after a long hiatus).
Forrester's Consumer Forum Theater Presentations highlight Forrester’s extensive data capabilities. Data is critical to the Consumer Product Strategy teams, and we work closely with our colleagues on the data team to produce our research. Forrester analysts will share highlights from our global benchmark survey data, as well as our forecast data, examining technology-driven trends in consumer behavior. These demonstrations will be hosted in the International Ballroom at The Fairmont Chicago.
You should check out Forrester analyst Lisa Bradner's post todayover at our Marketing Leadership Blog. Her concept of adaptive brand marketing helps companies re-think their approach to brand management in a world where brand messages are no longer a one-way push, but in fact are shaped by consumers as they interact with and react to brands.
CPS pros should take away the point that marketers and consumer product teams (which might have marketers of their own, or not) need to coordinate their efforts in lockstep to make sure the brand and the organization are prepared for instant feedback from consumers. Because, right now, most organizations are ill-equipped to handle this new world of "always-on" marketing.
In June, 2007, Forrester declared the beginning of the Age of Style. The Age of Style thesis posited that style and visual design would become critical vectors of competition in consumer electronics. We started our coverage of this trend with consumer PCs predicting that form factor innovations, increased aesthetic diversity, and consumer choice and personalization would become central tenets of competition for consumer PCs.
The baseline of comparison, of course was grim: For many years, consumers' home PCs and work PCs looked rather the same. Mostly bland and functional PCs reigned, aside from the products offered by a few trailblazers like Apple and Sony. But the growth of multi-PC households transformed PCs from "digital hearths" for the entire household into personal devices. Next, laptops moved the PC from the den out into the world -- making PCs devices that are public in nature.
Personal, public devices lend themselves to personalization and customization. Consumers wish to self-express through their choices: The color I like, a theme I enjoy, an association (with an organization or another brand), or even my personal beliefs -- as with the PRODUCT (RED) PC we wrote about when it was released. Self-actualization through the PC I carry with me is often, now, a goal for many consumers.
Forrester’s Consumer Forum 2009 is fast approaching — October 27 and 28 in Chicago! At this Event, leading Forrester analysts will present research on how evolving consumer online behavior demands that firms step up efforts to engage them, and executives will share their companies' best practices for creating breakthrough multichannel relationships.
This year's event has some personal relevance to me: I invited Brad Brooks, the Microsoft keynote, and will be conducting Q&A with him on stage. Julie Ask, who has developed an entirely new research practice in 2009, is a wonderful analyst on my team; she's conducting a main stage panel and a CPS Track session speech. Speaking of the CPS track session, we have Forrester's star speaker James McQuivey doing double duty with two sessions, along with Bobby Tulsiani.