Fender Branding Idea
Just a thought...
Squier for years had a reputation for making trash versions of Fenders instruments. Now, the past few years, many on Talkbass are saying that the Squiers have improved a lot with the VM and CV series. While that is great news, there are still people who shy away from the word "Squier".
Now, some of the factories producing the Chinese made Squiers are also producing the Fender line - specifically the Modern Player. So, what exactly is the point of the brand name Squier or Squier by Fender? Why not just make them all Fenders? Squier already has things divided into different series, and the series have different labels than their Fender counterparts (except Deluxe).
Think about it - wouldn't these instruments just bring more buyers if they had the Fender name alone, and people wouldn't be weary of the name on the headstock? They could divided the series like so:
Fender Affinity Standard
Fender Affinity Deluxe
Fender Vintage Modified
Fender Classic Vibe
Fender Modern Player
Fender Pawn Shop
Fender American Standard
Fender American Deluxe
Fender American Vintage
Fender Customer Shop
I don't hate Squier by any means (I once bought an Affinity Jazz V to donate - pretty nice bass and they liked it a lot), but since the Fender name is far more respected, why not do this? Especially since people like owning a "real Fender".
I think if they put the Fender brand on current Squier instruments, less people would be inclined to save up a little more so their headstock can say Fender.
In other words, if Squier CV and VM basses said Fender on the headstock, it would probably hurt MIM sales or maybe even make that line obsolete
Really? I figured there are the 4 price points - Budget/Beginner, Intermediate, Pro and Custom...
I see your point, but the Mexican factory would still be making instruments even if what you said was true. Maybe they could start cranking out more unique instruments rather than just the Standard line - look at the Deluxe, Blacktop and Pawn Shop models. Or maybe they could have some other brand strategy.
No offense, but it seems a rather excessive answer to something that's not really a problem. I'm sure Fender has no problem with people buying more Squiers. Fender still makes the profit. Besides, I doubt very much Fender branded instruments are hurting as far as their sales compared to Squiers goes.
Besides, not ever series will need to be there, and my list could be modified - I'm sure you could cut a few things out that aren't particularly popular, and free up the Mexican or Chinese or Indonesian factories to make different instruments. Fender seems to be in a playful mood the past few years, and more willing to experiment with both existing designs and new models. For instance, you could move the regular Jaguar Bass (currently MIJ) to the Mexican factory, and add a 5-string model, so that the Indonesian factories could make Standards. Or maybe the Chinese factories make the Deluxe models and Classic models so that Mexican Classic series could be moved out...
There are a lot of possibilities here.
If you're really that curious, I'd suggest reading Tony Bacon's book "Squier Electrics: 30 Years of Fenders Budget Guitar Brand". It is an interesting read and gives some of the reasons for the brand existing.
And I doubt Fender is terribly worried about 'bringing more buyers' to their budget line, since it is (according to Bacon's book) the most successful guitar line ever (by number of guitars sold).
One thing you also have to consider from a marketing perspective is cheapening your brand. Squier allows Fender to sell what is usually perceived as inferior product. By putting Fender on a $100 guitar, the person buying the guitar might thinK 'sweet, I'm getting a Fender'. But on the other end of the spectrum, the self-conscious buyer with $1800 in his pocket doesn't want to buy a guitar that someone could confuse with something that is the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel offering.
It also allows them to release oddball ideas to test the waters before moving them into the Fender line. The Squier 51 is a good example of this.
Now I'll ponder some of the cool things that could be...
I think as the Squier instruments continually improve, the stigma attached to owning one is diminishing. Ive read several threads on TalkBass about Squier owners raving about the virtues of their basses and how they actually prefer them over a MIA Fender!
I dont claim to be one, tho... I have a Squier Jazz and a '73 Fender Jazz. The Fender is a better instrument, by far.
Anyway, I dont see a big marketing advantage to badge everything with the Fender logo. imo.
Additionally, most of the oddball ideas seem to be on the Fender ends. Look at the Dimension, the Zone, Blacktop series, Big Block P, the prior American Deluxe series, MB-4/5, boner basses and more... I didn't count Pawn Shop because that DID seem to spawn from the Squier '51...
I had a 81' P-Bass. It was a good bass but I never could get the sound I was looking for out of it, I sold it a few years ago. I recently bought VM Jazz, love it! Today's Squiers are way better than they used to be. I've gotten many complements about my bass, many people are surprised that it's a Squire. The fit and finish looks as good as my old P -Bass. I don't care what it says on the headstock it's a great bass, period.
No one remembered the Fender Starcaster line? The only thing from Fender without the "Squier" that's worse than any lemon from Squier or Fender. Then again, it doesn't hurt the name all that much since it's so bad we all just burned it from our memories.
yeah, the perceived quality difference between "squier" and "fender" is important to the sales of the upper-end instruments, justified or not. (it usually is justified, fender's quality tends to follow its price structure pretty closely).
for example (and from the opposite direction), First Act (which makes really, really cheap stuff that you'd find at wal-mart) has a line of top-notch american made guitars, but they still say "First Act" on the headstock; they're non-starters in the marketplace for that reason.
Personally I think it is an excellent idea. It would put the Squire Police out of work! :D
I'd bet you cash that the mere existence of squier boosts the sales of fender basses. People perceive fender as superior, because there is squier to compare it to. There have been some psychological experiments on this, as it is an effect that is of course very interesting to businesses in everywhere.
Edit: plus, i guess there is the idea of starting out on a cheap/cheapish squier, and then 'graduating' to a fender when you get better. Say squier was in fact also named fender, if you would have started with a 'fender cv', you'd have less incentive to go and give fender your money for higher grade fender bass. After all, you already own a bass which plays quite nicely, and says fender on the headstock. You might be more inclined to judge your bass on it's merits, raher than it's brand. With squier making the quality they do, that might be a bad thing for fender's income.
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