This week, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich informed audiences at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada that his company would finally drop the McAfee brand name. Over the course of 2014, McAfee Security will become Intel Security.
Abandoning the McAfee name actually came a lot more slowly than you might think. Intel acquired McAfee in 2010 for $7.7 billion and the McAfee Security name has been around for more than 20 years (McAfee founded his company in 1987 but left in 1994). In 2010, it could still be assumed that the McAfee brand had value.
Fast forward two years to 2012 and John McAfee was in the news after fleeing Belize under suspicion of murder. Later that year, he released a controversial video telling people to stop using the McAfee Security products. Despite the fact that John McAfee hadn’t worked for the company in nearly 20 years, the public perception of McAfee the man negatively affected the perception of McAfee the brand. In the court of public opinion, the two had not been completely separated over time.
Finally, Intel is rebranding McAfee Security. While the complete rebranding is expected to take the next twelve months with Krzanich promising more details in the coming months, it was revealed that the McAfee shield logo will remain and a new pricing structure is coming. The product will be marketed through a freemium model and certain components will be offered for free on mobile devices. The company will decide which components will be offered for free within the next three months.
The desktop security product will not change (except for the brand name) and mobile malware protection will be offered for free. According to Seth Rosenblatt of CNET, this new strategy will support Intel’s goals to bring its security product to all mobile devices.
Interestingly, John McAfee publicly responded to the rebranding announcement by telling the BBC that he was, “everlastingly grateful to Intel,” for freeing him from the association with the McAfee Security brand explaining that his, “elation at Intel’s decision is beyond words.” From a brand marketing perspective, it’s Intel that should be celebrating the rebranding that has been needed for a long time—desperately in the past couple of years.
What do you think of the rebranding of McAfee Security to Intel Security? I would have liked the shield logo to be replaced, too. If it’s going to take 12 months to fully implement the brand name change, it would also be the time to start with a clean slate with a top-down rebranding and an opportunity to redefine consumer perceptions.
Image: Madhusudan M.
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