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Is Microsoft Scroogling Itself?

If you haven’t noticed, Microsoft is taking a strong offensive against a number of Google’s products, including search and email.

Bing-vs-GoogleBeing the target of a negative advertising campaign is really nothing new to Microsoft. The “I’m a Mac” ads were a staggering hit for Apple, so naturally Microsoft thinks it’s wise to follow the same formula. But here’s why it’s a lousy idea.

Apple – and Google – have worked to build iron-clad, relatable brands over the years. They make consumer services and devices that are, for lack of a better word, cool. The Microsoft brand, on the other hand, is servers and spreadsheets. They’ve marketed to large, faceless corporations for so long that they too have become one. And after decades of this, they can’t just throw on a hip sweater and expect the world to buy that they’re now something totally different. People are smarter than that.

For Microsoft, it comes down to this: a brand is hard to shake. A sudden turn to hip products, a trendy logo and ad campaign won’t instantly change they way your company is perceived. Microsoft needs to take the time to grow into its new identity, place branding before advertising, and court the public a lot longer before it steps in the ring with the people’s champ.


Disclaimer: Now, I understand that no one likes to have their information used against them in advertising. In a perfect world, companies like Google, Facebook and others wouldn’t need to generate revenue, and we would be able to use their products for free with no kickback for the developers. Alas, I’m afraid it just can’t work that way. As long as you’re going to reap the benefits of these companies, you’re going to have to understand that the guys on the other end of the Internet have mouths to feed.

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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