November 30, 2007
AOL to Become Brand Name History?
Wired's Epicenter asks a hard question today: "whither the AOL brand?"
The company, as a whole, has been in decline for some time now, due to an outdated business model and decentralized leadership. However, AOL, as a brand name, still holds a lot of leverage. "AOL is a high fast ball," Frankel says. "They have everything you need to make it a great brand besides a strategy," states Robert Frankel, a branding expert.
Instead of leveraging the established AOL brand, the company has been actively developing brands that do not include the AOL name, like TMZ.com or Truveo, and adding a new ad division called "Platform A."
These new developments seem to fit with AOL's new strategy of getting away from the Internet portal and instead becoming an online advertising giant. "You want to be there whether you're branded or not," said Kevin Conroy, executive vice president for products at AOL. What it comes down to, is that AOL executives either do not believe that the iconic AOL brand name is as important anymore, or they just do not have a branding strategy, which I doubt.
This is really just another argument about brand image. AOL's CEO Randy Falco sees AOL as a house of brands, like Proctor & Gamble. Falco also believes that the attributes attached to the AOL brand are not all positive.
However, the "You've Got Mail" announcement has become part of popular culture, and products, such as AIM (AOL Instant Messenger),which still hold most of the market share, in their respective markets.
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