This week, I’ve been talking about relationship branding (see “Creating a Relationship Brand” and “The Path to Creating a Relationship Brand“) and relationship brands such as Apple, Macintosh and Harley Davidson. Today, I’d like to focus on another relationship brand that has been in the news a lot lately – Mozilla’s Firefox.
Firefox is a web browser that has drawn a huge amount of online buzz over the past few years. While Microsoft’s Internet Explorer remains the market leader, Mozilla’s Firefox has taken a comfortable chunk out of Internet Explorer’s market share. The secret to Firefox’s success – allowing people to experience the brand then band together as the “cool group” that uses Firefox instead of the behemoth, Microsoft’s, product. Sounds similar to how Mac became a relationship brand, doesn’t it?
Slowly but surely, the word spread about Firefox and more and more people have been making the switch to find out what the buzz is about and what they’re missing out on. Now, the world is made up of people who have made the switch to Firefox and those poor souls who still have not (at least that’s what Firefox users believe).
With the upcoming launch of Firefox 3.0, Mozilla’s public relations team is betting on the strength of its relationship brand and asking its customers to help break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of software downloads on a single day when Firefox 3.0 is released. Already, nearly 200,000 people have pledged to help Mozilla in its quest to earn its coolest title yet – Guinness World Record Holder.
The word-of-mouth marketing behind the Firefox brand helped drive its market share and turned it into a perfect example of a relationship brand. As I’ve written before here on Corporate Eye, relationship brand strategies work very well for market followers such as Mozilla’s Firefox, but they don’t happen overnight. It takes time to allow a relationship brand to develop at the hands of consumers. As marketers, we can help the process along by nurturing it and maintaining the buzz, but ultimately, it’s consumers who will band together to push a brand to relationship status.
So which camp do you belong to – IE or Firefox?
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