Friday, July 13, 2012

How Important Is Creativity In A Brand Name? (Microsoft & Yammer)

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How important is creativity? Of course it's important.

You can have a wacky name or a non-wacky one. Neither choice to me is creative. What's important is the creativity of the brand strategy.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Microsoft and Yammer. Microsoft is a staid name. Yammer is a wild name. There is a culture clash implied in the name difference. The communications director at Igloo Software (a rival to Yammer), Stephen Rahal, is saying that the culture clash is real:
''If you look at Microsoft and Yammer they really have completely different go-to market design philosophies. Yammer embodies the very definition of anti-Microsoft. That is in terms of agile development, frequent updates and their implementation process." -

"Rahal said Microsoft is playing catch-up in the social enterprise arena, and that is why it was attracted to Yammer."
From a brand strategy perspective, should Microsoft change Yammer's name, or its own name, or come up with a completely different one?

This is an unanswered question in my mind. Because it depends on what Microsoft's brand strategy is.
  • They could make Yammer boring but acceptable to the corporate types who trust Microsoft - and turn it into a Sharepoint add-on. But that could de-Yammerize the experience.
  • They could keep the Yammer name and just bolt it onto Microsoft products. I think the rank and file would like it better because the logo is fresh and implies openness, innovation, and collaboration. But executives might be averse to it because change is threatening.
There really is no one right answer - but what's important is to know in advance what your intentions are, then name the product accordingly.