Saturday, 25 August 2012

Microsoft Changed Its Logo For The First Time In 25 Years.

Microsoft Corp. unveiled its first logo branding update in 25 years. As you can see, it’s a minimalist interpretation of its traditional Windows icon probably to represent its intent to provide clearer, more approachable products in the new Windows 8 era.

Already comments are circulating that the new Microsoft logo is not bad, but not really an improvement or departure of its prior icon. From a marketing and branding perspective, the new icon does resolve many conflicts and problems.First, it combines two images associated with Microsoft – namely the company name and its core product Windows. That resolves the multiple iconic brands in circulation.

 Second, it provides a common look and feel that will extend to all of the Redmond, Wash., software giant’s products. As Jeff Hansen, general manager of Microsoft’s brand strategy said, “This wave of new releases is not only a reimagining of our most popular products, but also represents a new era for Microsoft, so our logo should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning.”

Where this brand shouldn’t extend is to the partner level. The Microsoft logo is one of the most popular brands among solution providers who use it to legitimize their offerings, validate their expertise and demonstrate value to customers.

Solution providers will put the Microsoft logo and their partner status on their Web sites. They’ll include the Microsoft logo in their marketing materials and collateral. Some will even include it on their sales quotes and proposals.

Where solution providers shouldn’t use the Microsoft logo is on their business cards and signage. Unfortunately, many do. And they use other vendor’s logos, too, including Dell, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and VMware, to name a few. Some solution providers will make a vendor logo more prominent on their business cards than their own monikers.

Using a vendor logo on a solution provider business card is a mistake. Solution providers don’t spend enough effort developing their brand identity, value or equity. Too many trade on the equity of their vendor brands, hence, the reason Microsoft appears on so many channel business cards.

Solution providers should avoid leaning on their vendor brands for value and identity and develop their own value propositions. Their brands should reflect their core business proposition and value delivered to customers beyond what hardware and software products they represent.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Microsoft’s new corporate icon. It suits them well, but that doesn’t mean it should suit their partners as well.

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