The Problem of Branding: The Live Search Edition

January 8, 2009

I have just about finished the book Buyology by Martin Lindstrom. His thoughts about the value of brands in today’s world are interesting. Brands can be like religions. But if not integrated, brands lose their zing in out information-charged world. SeattlePI ran an interesting news story “Microsoft Actively Considering Rebranding Live Search.” You can read the story here. The article references a Microsoft spokeswoman who allegedly asserted a brand change was under consideration. The new name for Live Search? Kumo is mentioned. Microsoft is proud of its search deals with Dell and Verizon. Can a name shift change market share? Stepping away from the name “Vista” might work. But search is different fish. I think that the search experience is more important than the name. The present Live Search renamed or rebranded as Kumo will still be judged by users against the Google. With Google’s market share increasing and Microsoft’s slipping, more than a name change is needed. But name changes are easy. Catching Google and its multi-year lead in search is a horse of a different color, not a fish at all.

Stephen Arnold, January 10, 2009


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