Corporate Eye

Is Microsoft’s Brand Strategy Poised to Fail Again?

Last month, I wrote a post called Microsoft – A Case Study in Failing to Meet Customer Expectations where I discussed three of the main reasons that Windows Vista failed and Microsoft’s brand reputation has been less than stellar in recent years.  Each reason related to failing to meet customer expectations, one of the most important things successful brands must do.  Today, I read an article on The Register demonstrating that Microsoft still hasn’t seen the light.

At Microsoft’s worldwide partner conference this week, Microsoft’s vice president of Windows consumer product marketing, Brad Brooks, blamed much of the tarnished reputation of the Microsoft and Windows Vista brands on Apple and the “lies” told in the popular Mac vs. PC Guy commercials.  According to The Register, Brooks said during his speech at the conference, “Today we are making a statement and drawing a line right here that we are going to do things differently. That we are going to tell our story.”  Notice there was no mention of failing to meet customer expectations with Windows Vista.  Instead, he simply stated that, “WindowsVista is a good product.”

Perhaps that’s true, but there is a reason (actually, there are likely to be many reasons) why consumers don’t like Windows Vista and I doubt Apple’s commercials are it.  I love advertising and I think the Mac vs. PC Guy commercials are great, but they’re not the only reason that Apple picked up 6.6% of PC desktop marketshare since Windows Vista launched.  Don’t believe me?  Check out my aforementioned Microsoft – A Case Study in Failing to Meet Customer Expectations to learn three more reasons.

Instead of addressing problems and customer concerns, Microsoft is steamrolling ahead with the launch of Windows 7, which will be based on the Windows Vista operating system.  Microsoft will stop providing support for Windows Vista’s predecessor, Windows XP, in May 2009.  Sounds like the message Microsoft is sending is that customers better embrace Windows Vista or else.  That’s not the way to meet customer expectations nor is that the way to re-energize a brand.

The lesson to learn here is this – ensure your brand consistently meets customer expectations and don’t be a brand bully.

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
Comments

ortune is Most of what Microsoft sells for damn scarce cash is free on the net. Some of the net programs (Ubuntu) are loadable onto SD memory chips now – free of course, and take no space on your computer! Microsoft is a sad case of a large American corporation at the wrong end of its business curve. No, Microsoft, you can’t coerce the world legally or otherwise to use your products, you are now ‘passe’ and technology advances have made you obsolete. You flowered, you bloomed, we all visited your flower, now that your bloom has faded, we fickle as usual have moved on to fresh blooms. Such is life in a free capitalistic fortune is competitive marketplace. You must now let go and diversify into mortgage markets or something to survive, as the remaining fortune is piddled away by misadventure and mismanagement.

I just wonder if Microsoft will eventually become another StarBuck .. losing the heart of loyal fans…

Vivienne, I think your comparison to Starbucks is spot on.

I completely agree with everyones post. Bang on!!

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