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Life after the dinosaurs

If Apple is reinventing itself as a solutions provider, then you know the game is changing for the hardware industry. The whole market has been disrupted and everyone is working hard to keep up. This alone is enough to make me pause for thought, but with many of the former behemoths of the tech industry suffering the most, I’m interested in how this could transform their messaging – what will these companies say to the market in the future?

Some of the larger (and older) hardware companies are still trying to reinvent the world in their own image, perhaps not fully recognising just how much it has moved on. If they spent more time with a much wider range of influencers, they would see that this introverted approach is unlikely to work. Better to consider a new business model that makes it easier for retailers to adopt new technology that is ready to run and deliver.

Other more nimble companies are onto something. They are using their role as industry leaders to work with a collection of startups and best in breed tech companies and taking their collective time to create solutions to problems that, to date, have not been solved. My money is on them, but the problem of messaging remains.

How can these legacy hardware companies create and communicate a message with sufficient clarity and relevance to actually reach their targets? Call in marketing you say, but there is an elephant in the room to deal with first.

The issue of trust. The behemoths I once trusted because they pretty much wrote the rules of tech design, products, language, sales and implementation, now are attempting to diversify their offering, evidenced by some of the more surprising mergers and acquisitions we have seen in the last 18 months. Maybe money’s cheap; and this might be enough to keep the show on the road for a while.

But longer term? Trust once lost is hard to get back, particularly where it is replaced by a new generation of tech company that cares nothing for the fact the behemoths once ruled the world. But rather than fear their own extinction, the behemoths should be looking at how they can adapt; they have the brand names, the track record, the money and the reach. It is all a question of whether they can put that to work before the trust flies out the door. Time is not on their side.


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