March 07, 2004

Customers First, Brand Second

This is interesting in that I'm sure the two Apex founders (wealthy by now I imagine) didn't give two hoots about their branding strategy, nor did they hire consultants to help them map out their corporate strategy.
Globalized production strategies, however controversial they are in the political realm, have thrown bargain culture into overdrive, converting luxuries like cashmere and high-tech gizmos into affordable commodities with astonishing speed. Based in Ontario, Calif., Apex Digital was founded by two immigrants from China and Taiwan and is a thoroughly global operation: all the DVD assembly is done by subcontracted workers at a factory in Jiangsu, China, where labor costs are low. Apex has only about 100 employees on its payroll, most of them in California.

A big chunk of Apex's 2003 sales (about $1 billion) came during the run-up to Christmas -- when a kind of extreme thriftiness has come to manifest itself in virtual scrums as bargain hunters throng at low-price retailers for while-supplies-last deals. Last Christmas the Deal was often a DVD player marked down to an absurdly cheap $29, and that DVD player was often an Apex model
Not for everyone ... but losing focus on making money and supporting customers happens when we make business complicated.