The inspiration for this blog comes from a piece written on Communicate Online by Zaira Lakhpatwala in 2015.

What do you associate Microsoft with?

Most of the people associate Microsoft with the PC, extending to desktops and now laptops. And, if this is so, Microsoft has accomplished its initial goal.

Microsoft branding strategy evolved around ease of access to technology. The company wanted every house to have a computer. Well, they have done it for the most part. And, now, just the name of Microsoft is enough to get a deal done.

Microsoft Marketing Strategy

Have you ever seen a Microsoft ad?

Until a few years ago, in most cases, the company never even mentioned it’s products. All you saw was Microsoft. The company, at some point, made the conscious decision that people will know the product by themselves. I won’t deny it – this sounds cool. But, the world doesn’t work that way.

Recently, Microsoft has made changes to its branding strategy. They even took it to a level where they edited their mission statement. But, there were still some opportunities lost.

Missed Opportunities

There are a few products that are directly associated with Microsoft by a large portion of the market. This includes the Microsoft Office packages, for instance.

But, there are other products that get lost in the mix. There are still people that do not know that Xbox and Skype are Microsoft products. This is where the problems arise. The holistic view of product development under a banner doesn’t always work.

At some level, each new product needs a little personality of its own, while being associated with the parent company. This is no different from a parent-child relationship. You want the child to develop as an individual, but the parent can help the kid go in the right direction. If nothing else, there will be a boost in sales with the needed association.

And, Microsoft has started doing this now. For instance, in the ads for Xbox, you see Microsoft clearly at the end. So, what do we learn here?

The Branding and Marketing Lessons

No matter what the size, companies face challenges.

In case of a well-established company, even a small degree of self-absorption can be harmful. While Microsoft has been using its name to progress, rival brands have reinvented themselves.

The best example here is Apple. Their products just feel more modern and it attracts a large portion of the market.

At a certain level, I want Microsoft to maintain its more serious stance. Given that their software development goes beyond targeting individuals, with their packages for organisations, and even cities, Microsoft needs a little help with reinstating its serious, quality stance.

The whole discussion here comes down to the appropriate mindset. Being self-critical to the right degree and the ability to take on challenges is what’s needed by businesses.

The specifics of whether you are targeting the emotional or the logical branding comes down to the specifics of your business. I will let you make this decision.