Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How not to Brand Technology Products

In my earliest articlesin thos blog, I had wrtten about branding of semiconductors. Back then, Intel was doing everything right in branding and was showing the world how to brand an arcane and estoric products such as a silicon chip. Intel’s success was quickly adapted by AMD, Nvidia and others. And a lot has changed since then.

Last month I was looking around to buy a laptop to replace my aging "Celeron" based Dell Insprion Laptop. Today, the marketing of laptops have changed so much that I now need to choose the "platform" and then drill down to the final model. Being a ‘techie’, I first decided to look around for the right "Platform" or the processor for me and this is when a new realization hit me like a a tonne of brick - Intel is now showing the world how not to brand products!
The brand lineup from Intel & AMD was confusing the customer - unless the customer is tech savvy like me and can differentiate between "Two CPU dies in a package" and "Two CPUs on single silicon" and "Dual core CPU".

The words Core Duo, Core2 Duo, Pentium D, Pentium Dual Core, Turion X64, TurionX2, and confusion would mean all the same for the consumer. These brand names may make perfect sense to all the thousands of engineers at Intel, HP, AMD, Dell, etc.

But for a layman, having a long dazziling array of brand names for products in the same category does not help.( I am sure that even engineers at Intel, AMD would be equally confused). Finally, I called a friend and a former colleague of mine who works in Intel R&D, but he too was mixed up all the monikers at first.

As a marketer this was an interesting observation, All this shows how challenging it is to maintain brand distinctions from the customer point of view. All to often, companies fall into the trap of ‘marketing by geeks’: "If R&D engineers who developed a product can differentiate products be its name, then everyone in the world too can make out the difference."

As computers have become a consumer product - Intel & AMD will have to think of branding their products like how P&G brands its soaps: i.e, brand it like a consumer product. For example Centrino, Centrino-II, Centrino II Plus, Centrino-III etc., would have had a better brand recogniztion than calling it, Centrino, Centrino Core2 Duo, Centrino Dual Core, Centrino Duo.
Having a sequential naming or a logical naming like what Intel followed with its earlier Pentium branding strategy would have had a better recollection and stronger connection with customers.

Closing thoughts

Marketers have to undersatnd the psychology of consumers to be success in branding. Marketers need to understand the mental state of the buyer before making the purchase decision is the key to influence the buying decision.
Having confusing brand extension names (fusion, CoreFusion, Core Duo, Dual core) for estoric products will weaken the main brand and companies will lose their competitive edge.

Also See:

  1. Branding of Semiconductors
  2. Successful Online Branding
  3. Fighting Commoditization of Brands
  4. Branding on Internet
  5. Marketing - Position before you communicate
  6. Developing a Brand Position
  7. Selecting a specific brand position
  8. Define your Brand and determine its value
  9. Brand Management
  10. Branding Mistakes - Having a "Me-Too" Brand Name
  11. Marketing - Build a distinct brand with Product Differentiation

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