Marketing is what you say about yourself. Branding is what people are saying about you! In almost every scenario what people are saying about you and who you are being compared to is much more important.
A case in point was the original Surface promotion video? It looked something like this:
So what is Microsoft trying to say about its Surface product? I got Vibrant, Tablet, Colorful, Young, Hip, Energetic (still not sure why they emphasized the click as much as they did).
This ad, which got plenty of air time, pulled Microsoft into an unreasonable comparison to iPad even though the Surface Pro is a full fledge PC (I will leave Surface RT out of this discussion). Sadly the things that a tablet is meant to excel at (battery life and apps), the Surface launched with very little or no improvements over existing devices. Needless to say it did not go well.
This is the new lead Surface 2 ad:
What is the message for Surface 2? Tablet, Versatility, Laptop, Productivity, Business.
This message is fundamentally different, and hindsight I have no idea what the first ad actually helped illustrate. A strong messaging strategy and a strong positioning statement help define what you sell, to whom and why they have to buy. I am hoping that in the face of this realigned message that comparisons to iPad will fade appropriately and Surface Pro will be discussed within the more appropriate Ultra book/Hybrid PC genre.
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