Microsoft Battles Brand Bedlam
April 8, 2013 ‐ 0 comments

Here’s a gem recently identified by BrandCulture’s department of “Surely, You Must Be Joking.” 

"Microsoft is making available its first public preview of HDInsight, the Hadoop big-data framework on Windows Azure technology it is developing with Hortonworks."

Truly, this is a lede for the big data cognoscenti. But it’s a warning to technology brands as well. 

Not everything can (or should) be simple. Sometimes things have to be complex in order to be accurate and informative–particularly in technology. The article's author and her regular readers, having spent years following Microsoft’s big data plans, undoubtedly understand the article perfectly well.

But for a brand, this paragraph should be a flashing red light that their architecture needs some careful attention.

What does Microsoft want readers of this paragraph to associate with each of the brands? We’re not saying they should try to influence the journalist (though a good PR effort would have include providing some well-structured bullets), but we are suggesting that they think carefully about how to present this hot mess of brands for readers who head over to Microsoft’s own website for more detail.

And they have.

  • Microsoft branding is invisible on the HDInsight page, because everyone who matters knows that Windows is a Microsoft product.
  • Windows Azure is the masterbrand, discreetly placed where a corporate logo would usually go.
  • HDInsight is the product brand, getting top billing on the page in terms of size and placement.
  • Apache Hadoop is leveraged as an ingredient brand, deployed only in the context of explanatory copy.
  • And Hortonworks? Never heard of them. At least not on the HDInsight web page, so there's no confusion as to who it is that's providing the product.

So bravo, Microsoft. You’ve managed to take a considerably complex set of product and technology brands, and present them comprehensibly.

Let’s hope you bring the same clarity to your explanation of how to connect Excel to Windows Azure HDInsight via HiveODBC...

 

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