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Fender Branding Idea

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ggvicviper, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    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 Blacktop
    Fender Standard
    Fender Pawn Shop
    Fender Deluxe
    Fender American Standard
    Fender American Deluxe
    Fender American Vintage
    Fender Artist
    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".
  2. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    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
  3. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    It's not that Fender brand sales are hurting, it's a matter of buying a Squier vs. buying a Fender. A lot of people would feel better knowing they're buying a Fender - let's face it, there's plenty of gear snobbery out there. Why not eliminate the snobbery?

    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.
  6. circuitspore


    Aug 27, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    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).
  7. circuitspore


    Aug 27, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    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.
  8. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    I'll check out the book, thanks.
    Now I'll ponder some of the cool things that could be...
  9. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    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.
  10. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    I see your point - but other brands have cheapen to good results. Warwick comes to mind - went from RockBass by Warwick as a brand to the Warwick Rockbass series.

    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...
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This exactly. Unless they were to put a big American flag or some other dead giveaway on the USA series basses, the sales of US made Fenders would plummet. They know exactly what they are doing. It's classic marketing. (I hold no grudge for good marketing, or profit for that matter.) It's the same reason that the companies that make both Polo and off brand shirts don't just put a Polo logo on everything. They will sell plenty at both price points. But many will pay a lot more for the perceived difference in the one with the right brand on it. If you are not that kind of guy, this makes no sense to you. But most ARE that kind of guy. And just as mellowgerman said, the ones in the middle wouldn't sell at all. People who don't care about where they're made will buy the cheapest ones. And the people who care about where they are made, will buy the high dollar ones. No one will buy the ones in the middle. And the middle (in many cases) is where your profit margin is. You can't make any money off of a $100 bass. And you will get beat up on price on the high dollar ones. But the middle ground can be used to make up for what you lose on both ends of the spectrum. I have sold everything from copiers to tires to electrical supplies to music gear. It's like this for many things.
  12. David Lakin

    David Lakin

    Aug 13, 2011
    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.
  13. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    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.
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    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.
  15. I think I saw one those in our Costco.
  16. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Personally I think it is an excellent idea. It would put the Squire Police out of work! :D

  17. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    You wouldn't be eliminating the snobbery, you'd be pandering to it.

    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.