December 4th, 2011
When I took a typing class in highschool, my fellow students and I used typewriters with look-alike blank keys: it was incumbent on us to learn — without looking — the identity, purpose, and position of each key.
Likewise, when learning to play musical instruments, whose keys, strings, and valves are indistinguishable from each other, students must learn — without looking — their identities, purposes, and positions.
Alas, many vendors treat customers like music students, appearing as unmarked piano keys and expecting us to decipher their identities, purposes, and positions. Patently absurd, the antithesis of branding, but it happens every day.
Remember, people would rather blend than brand. Cloud computing proves it.
On December 3, 2011, SAP announced that it had purchased online employee-performance company, SuccessFactors Inc., for $3.4B. Businessweek reporter Ragnhild Kjetland wrote an article about it. Here’s his first paragraph:
SAP AG, the largest maker of business-management software, agreed to buy SuccessFactors Inc. for $3.4 billion in cash, stepping up competition with archrival Oracle Corp. in the cloud-computing market.
First, there’s no “cloud-computing market”: a market is people, not products. Second, we know nothing about the value SuccessFactors provides its customers, do we? No. Why is that? In tech circles, vernacular always trumps — and clouds — value.
Some believe that sticking a lower-case “i” in front of generic vernacular — “iBranding” — makes it unique. How so? We already have a plethora of i-names, a few of which (not including iPhone and iCloud), from vendors other than Apple, are listed below:
Redolent of Mark Wahlberg (Charlie Croker) admonishing Edward Norton (Steve Frazelli) in The Italian Job: “You’ve got no imagination.” That’s right. No imagination. Why do the heavy lifting? Let the customers figure it out; they’re music students.
Rx from the WhiteNoise Doctor™
Branding requires imagination — and being unique. My tagline is Be Unique or Be IgnoredTM for a reason! Copying everyone else, with generic vernacular and symbols, keeps you in the white noise and increases your costs of sales, capital, and media.
Yet, imitation and blending prevail.
So, you must attract attention, customers, and capital while identified as iBoring. Good luck.
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2011 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.