In his Macworld 1997 keynote, Steve Jobs said that the two most important assets that Apple owned (because it did not own its customers) were the Apple brand and Mac OS. While it was still one of the most recognised brands in the world, “Apple” had been dragged through the metaphorical mud, and the brand was suffering.
“We have one of the world’s greatest brands, and we haven’t paid much attention to it in the last several years, and I think you’re going to see that start to change.”
Jobs certainly turned the Apple brand around, but surprisingly it’s only at number 39 on Business Week’s Top Brands 2006 list. Mind you, their analysis is not based on pure brand recognition, it’s mixed up with a bunch of earnings potential mumbo-jumbo. Anyone got figures on global brand recognition?
On the other hand, Microsoft — despite being number 2 on the Business Week list — can’t seem to control their brand spasms. Tourettes, even. It seems that whenever someone in Microsoft cottons on to a good idea, the rest of the company follows suit, massively diluting the strength of the brand.
How many of their .NET brands survived? Once we got past the brand tourettes, what the hell was .NET? How many of their Windows Live brands will survive? Not only have they managed to release two products with the same name — Windows Live Search — but they just shipped Windows Live OneCare anti-virus software (which is apparently selling well… ship a shitty product and you get to sell the fixes too).
Seems like all the product teams want in on the Live brand bonanza… But maybe it’s just the best way to dodge the Vista firing line.
I wonder if Sun are slowly clawing their way out of Java brand tourettes?