If you thought this was an April Fools joke, you might be onto something. Personally, I think it’s just a case of profoundly poor brand management, which has become a trend with this company.
I’ll never understand why mature companies attempt to make changes to assets that aren’t broken. It’s one thing to upgrade a process by adding another layer of value i.e., QR codes, holograms, etc. but big changes to branding and well-known processes are huge No Nos. The reason being is the latter changes cause unnecessary confusion and watered down quality. It doesn’t make any sense to change the building architecture when all that’s needed is new carpet in the lobby.
Focus on what’s important, not what you think is important.
Around March 30, 2023, Beckett shared a breakdown of new grading standards, which it announced at the Mint Collective in Las Vegas (3/30-4/2). Here’s what it looked like:
Take a moment to review that monstrosity and think about why such an outfit would propose such a change. Keep in mind that Beckett didn’t survey its base before throwing this thing together and announcing it at a big event.
What’s the one factor that drives all business decisions? Right, money! If Beckett rolled this thing out, just think of how much business it’d drive in re-slab orders from customer efforts to return 10s from what were previously 9.5s. But then what would that do to all the 9.5s already in the market? Great money maker for Beckett but horrendous outcome for the market.
It’d just devalue grades and make them even less desirable than those of competitors who currently enjoy larger market shares, which at the time of this writing, is everyone else (the other three relevant grading companies – CSG, SGC, and PSA).
A BGS 10 is a thing of beauty and one of the reasons why it’s so coveted is its rarity. When you water anything down, it becomes less desirable.
This announcement was met with severe opposition from customers so on April 1, 2023, Beckett responded to consumer feedback with this tweet:
Just so we’re clear here, Beckett proposed a roll out of a new grading system (without first consulting its market), got ratioed online, and quickly rescinded its roll out in an effort to save face. Got that? A few questions to ponder here:
- Why the heck would a company make an asset change without first consulting its target market?
- Why does Beckett feel like it needs to change its grading scale?
- Doesn’t this company have more important things to worry about?
Like, I don’t know, how to not be in last place in its category? Beckett’s current problems: poor leadership, inept management, and even worse customer service. There are ways to fix these issues but tinkering around with numbers on flips isn’t one of them.
Rule #1 in business: your customers are your boss; it’s never the other way around. You should never make mission-critical decisions about assets without first consulting the market, and even then it’s risky.
Over the past few years, Beckett has lost much of its market share and some of its key stakeholders to competitors, and the quality of its management and overall customer service has significantly declined. Here’s a follow up tweet issued on April 5, 2023 and if you wanna take the survey, click through the source link.
The phrase collector obsessed feels more like a Baghdad Bob type of situation than actual reality. If Beckett were actually “collector obsessed” as it claims in this here tweet, it wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with and it’d probably still be #2 instead of dead last at #4 in the grading market where it looks to remain for a while.
If Beckett wants to make a change, it should focus on improving its place in the market. One way to do that is to become, as it puts it, collector obsessed. By putting the customer first, Beckett could help improve its compromised brand image and in doing so drive revenue and growth. And hiring on a few extra hands wouldn’t be a bad idea either. None of this is likely but one can hope.
To view the current eBay auctions for BGS graded cards, click here.