Common Sense

When Good Companies Rest on Their Good Names

Remember when Sony was the one and only?

No one made a better TV, video camera or video game.

You paid more for a Sony, but the argument was, you got more from a Sony.

The late, great Akio Marita once said of his company that people will pay for a name that delivers. The problem is, that name doesn't deliver like it used to.

Painful reminders of that only these last couple of weeks, as both Apple Computer and Dell announced recalls of millions of Sony battery packs.

Apparently the batteries can overheat, even explode.

That's generally not good. And for Sony, it's not the kind of news you want to relay to customers, already skeptical of video game consoles delayed and big, flat screen TVs that carry too big a price tag.

It's sad, but predictable.

I've seen it happen so many times.

Mercedes blithely riding its uber-image and ignoring its very real mounting model defects.

Microsoft initially writing off the Internet, as its customers started writing off Microsoft.

And now Sony.

"It" companies for whom the "it" has now hit the fan.

So they re-tool and re-build. And they hope and they pray that their names will save them.

Oblivious to the fact that once burned, more than a few of their customers have said: the hell with them.

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