Questions for the Case Analysis:
1) What elements and characteristics comprised the equity in the Silicon Graphics brand in 1996?
2) How would you characterize the SGI brand in 2000?
3) What do you think SGI did right in terms of building its brand?
4) Did SGI make any mistakes in the way it managed its brand?
5) Was the rebranding of SGI successful - and how would you measure success, in general?
6) What recommendations would you give SGI executives regarding stewardship of their brand in the future?
1) Silicon Graphics was founded in 1982 by Dr. James Clark, who was a professor at Stanford University and had designed a new chip that would ameliorate the 3D graphics performance of computers (Case Study). From 1982 until 1996, Silicon Graphics underwent many changes that directly affected the brand equity in 1996. In order to analyze what comprised the brand equity of Silicon Graphics one must understand what brand equity is itself. Brand equity is what sets apart one brand from another one, offering similar products. In this case, for example, we could argue that Silicon Graphics brand equity would be all the assets Silicon Graphics offers that makes it different from IBM while offering similar products (www.groups.haas.berkeley.edu). Brand equity is in fact a psychological value that is created in the minds of consumers and is only created when the consumer adds the real assets the brand is offering; brand awareness which would be how the brand manages to be associated to a certain category or product line. In the case of Silicon Graphics, it would be how they managed through time to be associated with “visual computing” which was their specific product cue. The brands level of perception, their quality compared to that of their competitors, which was one of Silicon Graphics’ best and most valued assets. Silicon Graphics’ had innovated computing and offered the best quality of 3D imaging, created especially for their high end target market (engineers, graphic designers, scientists). Another important asset is brand level of empathy, of confidence; and of course the brands attractiveness. All the intangible assets that sum up in the consumers psyche making them believe that when x=y, x is still better than y (Kapferer, N.J 1997). In analyzing the question raised, what elements and characteristics comprised Silicon Graphics brand equity in 1996 one cannot solely measure the brand equity during 1996. Brand equity is something that is created over time, and therefore, Silicon Graphics’ brand equity was influenced by the previous years. Silicon Graphics had a target audience and a secure niche market; it had positioned itself at the high end of the spectrum and most of its audience was willing to pay the price. Looking back, it is right to say that Silicon Graphics did have a special place in the heart of those customers but by 1996 Silicon Graphics had moved on into the mainstream market. Some of the key features of brand equity like brand awareness and level of perception could be found in the early stages of SGI, as previously mentioned, they had an established and loyal audience and they differentiated themselves from their competitors in the quality and special care they were putting into the production and aesthetics of their hardware. By 1996, it is very hard to talk about brand equity in the SGI brand. Although they did maintain a level of loyalty from their previous customers, SGI targeted the low end market and thus had downgraded in quality, what once was a difference with their competitors had become a parity. They had also lost in brand awareness and perception, although they were still recognized in their initial market they did not succeed to be recognized as a brand by their new customer base and this was a problem linked with their excessive sub-branding and the independence and consequent lack of relationship between sub brand and main brand, Dave Bagshaw: “for the first...
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