So Gibson Aims to Become a Lifestyle Brand

A couple of weeks ago I was reading this article of the Wall Street Journal in which Gibson CEO was talking about the future of Gibson Guitars. And there was this excerpt that intrigued me :

“As for the future, it’s about expanding and improving the brand. Consumer electronics is a big target of ours because it’s a much bigger market than the M. I. [musical instrument] industry. . . . Right now we have a brand that people recognize and value. But only 5% of those people can buy something with the Gibson brand. . . In order to buy a guitar you actually have to play guitar. . . . You may say, ‘Wow that’s pretty cool to do,’ but . . . it’s like learning Greek. It’s not intuitive to sit down and start playing rock and roll. So guitar players reflect one in 20 consumers. But high-fi speakers [can be used by] 20 out of 20, so it’s a much larger market.”

Back then I thought : why should it be that weird that only a small percentage of the people can buy Gibson products? Gibby, you are a leader in a niche market! That’s not a big deal… Make great guitars, that’s what your customers want! Why would you go out of your niche?

And this morning I read the following press release : Gibson forms Gibson Pro Audio Division after acquiring KRK Systems, Cerwin-Vega! & Stanton DJ brands. So, Gibson will now also produce consumer electronics such as speakers, DJ products, headphones…

Ok, that’s probably what the market is telling them to do. But isn’t that a huge risk to dilute the strong identity of this historical brand of the guitar world? So, do you think it is a first step of Gibson Guitars brand decline or a huge opportunity for the future of Gibson?

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