Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Being Number Two

Safe to say these days that being number one is risky business. Wal-Mart certainly faces this problem while number two Target appears to enjoy media praise, robust earnings and customer support. A Pew Research survey that was released yesterday found that 85 percent of the general public is favorable towards Target while only 69 percent feels the same about Wal-Mart. Or to read it another way, a slim 15 percent is unfavorable towards Target versus 31 percent who express unfavorability towards mega-Wal-Mart.

We may have another target on our hands. Now that Pepsico's market value surpassed Coca-Cola's for the first time in 112 years, Pepsico might face some of the tough challenges that numero uno companies confront daily.

Darling Google (#1 in the search engine space) is doing fine just now. Over 90 percent of the general public have favorable views of the search engine firm in the just mentioned Pew study. But as a fierce reputation watcher, I expect Google to misstep along the way. AOL, Amazon, ebay and Microsoft have all had their comeuppances along the way to stardom. Some have weathered the storm better than others. I guess we will see whether Google's investment in AOL will turn out to be the midas touch or the emperor's new clothes.


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