Technology: February 2011 Archives

Apple Hints at iPad 2 Naming and Branding

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iPadMarch2.pngApple has confirmed that the new iPad will be launched on March 2nd in San Francisco. The invitation that was sent out to the media features a huge "2" in the center, which supposedly references the date of the Apple event as well as the introduction of the possible iPad 2 naming.

There's no doubt that an updated version of the iPad is going to come - only 11 months after the first incarnation - but it is certainly not a sure thing that this will be called the iPad 2.

In fact, leaked shots of the case suggest it will still be the iPad. The launch is obviously timed to blow the wind out of the sales of the Motorola Xoom, which launches today.

As one blogger says, "Knowing that Apple will probably announce a new iPad next week, how many would-be Xoom buyers will put off their purchase at least a week to see what Apple reveals? The mere announcement of this event could throw cold water on the Xoom's retail debut."

We know it will be thinner, more powerful, and possibly have a camera. It should also have an updated processor and support for various wireless networks.

But I think that the big "2" on the invitation is a little misleading. Would it be wise to consider the name iPad 2 on this new product? Apple has 90% of the tablet market and has sold 15 million iPads to date. The name iPad 2 would immediately make all of those tablets look outdated and send out a message that the cool product you bought a few months ago is already headed to the scrap yard.

I blogged about this back in December, noting that Apple has yet to call the second generation of any of their products "2".

The second iPhone was just an iPhone, the second iMac was just an iMac.

I'm still betting that the iPad name stays put, but the product gets even more innovative.

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In the naming and branding business, brand loyalty is almost a mantra. So it is with some chagrin that I reviewed two articles that seem to indicate that brand loyalty is quickly fading, especially among consumers who are 25-49.

The problem seems to be that these consumers are able to do hefty amounts of research online about products that they want. No longer can a strong, recognizable brand name swing the buy, it appears.

I am willing to agree that today's savvy consumer is not going to blindly buy products made by one brand name or another - but is brand loyalty actually dead? I think that reports of the death of brand loyalty have been greatly exaggerated.

Hyundai.pngThe fact is, we still see tremendous amounts of it. Hyundai, for instance, has been telling all about its second consecutive place at the head of the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI). Surely Hyundai buyers are between the age of 25-49?

Those same people are busy updating their Facebook pages, and giving further loyalty to a mighty brand name that is pulling ahead of Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn at a rapid rate -- while those same brands also retain a broad loyalty base.

Media brands of all types top the brand loyalty index - Netflix edged out Apple, which has been sitting there ever since the first generation iPod came to us. And again, the major users of these brands are that same demographic that supposedly does not have much customer loyalty.

Today's demanding consumer wants to be "delighted" by innovation, quality and performance. No longer will customers accept a sub par product bearing a well known name.

And, given the sheer amount of brands that we interact with on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis, it seems unlikely that we will be loyal across the board. But should the brand name be married to a great, innovative, "delightful" product, loyalty will and does ensue. This is Brand Management 101.

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Icons.pngThe Huffington Post has an interesting article about how brand names are going to continue to get shorter as they begin to represent an "expansive experience" over a "particular product."

Amazon stands for many things, as does Apple and Kodak. Amazon Books, Apple Computer and Kodak Film are all past incarnations of these brands that outgrew their names.

I have been noticing a trend in naming where companies are almost forcing the shortening of their name.

The ultimate goal seems to be for the company to become an icon, with the logo having no name at all (think swoosh, apple, siren, spade).

Companies are risking much to make this happen. Starbucks and Kate Spade are great brands, but are they really iconic? The companies are gambling that icons can be made. Maybe Starbucks.

Case in point today is the possibility that Sony might actually scrap the PlayStation name (please do not spit coffee on your keyboard).

XperiaPlay.pngPSX Extreme points out that "most companies would sell their souls to the devil to have a brand name like PlayStation" and to actually turn away from it seems like a form of corporate hari-kari.

The idea is, ultimately, to use the Xperia name across a range of devices, and not have to tag the "PlayStation Certified" label on every gaming device and smartphone the company makes in the near future. This issue came to a head during the Super Bowl, when Sony appeared to give us a glimpse of the much-wanted PlayStation Phone called the Xperia Play.

Putting aside whether or not Sony can actually afford to do away with the PlayStation naming, one must consider why the company would move in this direction. The Xperia naming allows Sony to take a much wanted product (PlayStation Phone/Xperia Play) and use it to start to whittle down its naming into that "expansive experience."

The gamble is that customers will not understand that the Xperia Play is the PlayStation phone. But in today's wired world, this seems unlikely.

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Super Bowl Naming and Branding the Big Winner on Sunday

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Super Bowl brand naming and branding is here to tell you that the recession is over, according to CNN.

The ads are no longer about wounded Americans and instead in the familiar territory of "post-adolescent guy humor" bought and created at huge expense. Coca-Cola's "Siege" ad gave us a fantasy world of warring humanoids, while Kia brought us to alien planets. The tagline on a Chrysler ad featuring Eminem, "Imported From Detroit," was a big hit indeed.

VWCommercial.pngThere were big brand names jockeying for position alongside big celebrity names to create an advertising sideshow that almost dwarfed the game itself.

Think Audi, Best Buy, Careerbuilder, Coca-Cola Doritos, E-Trade, GoDaddy, Pepsi, Skechers, Snickers, Volkswagen and Bud Light meet Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Roseanne Barr and Ozzy Osbourne. And, oh yes, a mini-Darth Vader who did a brilliant job shilling for VW.

Best Buy handed Justin Bieber a million bucks to promote its brand name alongside Ozzy Osbourne.
GoDaddy gave us new girl to ogle, a move that earned it a great deal of hatred on the internet.

But the real loser this year was Groupon, who decided it would be funny to lend their brand name to making fun of Tibet.

You can get a good round up here and here.

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