Dear Intel: some more thoughts while I’ve got your attention.

Checking Google Analytics this morning, abortion Beg to Differ was shocked to see that our modest 5-month old blog had gotten more than 2, order 400 unique visitors over the last 6 days (we’re usually ecstatic to get 100 visitors on a good day). Some digging showed where most of them are going: our break up letter to the Intel brand.  And where are they coming from? Primarily Santa Clara, Portland, Dublin – all places with sizable Intel offices. Apparently, this post is getting fired around the planet from employee to employee.

So hello Intel insiders! If you’re still interested, I’ve got some more thoughts for you.

Illustrated stats - reduced
Stats for some of my "big hits" over the last two months.Intel even beats The Princess Bride!

Last week’s break up letter

Intel found a way to make us actually love this...
Intel found a way to make us actually love this...

As you saw in that first letter, Beg to Differ had a rough time with the transition Intel made from the ground-breaking simplicity of the “Intel Inside” brand to the numbing complexity of newer brand extensions like “Intel Core 2 Quad Inside”. Our approach to this was a tongue-in-cheek break-up letter. But the point was serious: with every level of complexity Intel has added over time, they have been breaking the promise that “Intel Inside” originally made to customers:

The original promise: “Don’t worry. We’ll make this simple for you.”

Subsequently, in Twitter conversations and in comments left on the site, Beg to Differ has learned that there is a long-term project underway at Intel led by the VP of the Corporate Marketing Group Deborah Conrad, to refresh the brand strategy and architecture, and to that, we say bravo! But when the new brand options emerge in a few months, we’re going to be looking at them closely to see if they meet the following criteria.

5 Ways to evaluate whether your brand architecture project is a success

1) Will customers be able to understand the logic of the whole branding system?

Will the average somewhat-intelligent human be able to look at a list of your products and quickly figure out how the system works – which ones are worth more, which ones are specialty products for niches? You are failing on that front right now.

2) Will new products be given “creative” names?

The problem with a name like “Pentium” or “Xeon” is that they are inherently meaningless.  So while one or two of these names can spice up a product line, if  you have more than a few, it creates a “Tharn Effect” How many technical consumers could tell you without looking it up what the difference is between “Celeron” and “Centrino”? I’m a nerd with 15+ years experience in branding technical products, and I can’t.

3) Will you clean up the graphics?

Great brands are built by subtraction, not by addition.  There is too much happening in that noisy little graphic for anyone to meaningfully notice, remember, or mentally index it – which is the point.

4) Will you go back to helping people make better technology decisions more easily?

Too often, the ultimate questions that drive decision making in a large corporation are driven by corporate logic (i.e. starting with the bottom line and working backward) as opposed to human logic (starting with the need and hoping for the satisfied feeling of a decision well made).

The primary “decision-making” filter that we use at Brandvelope – and the one that we preach to every  brand manager that will listen is this:

Does this decision a) help people make choices that will b) make their lives better, and c) and make them feel good about the choices? If you can say yes to this, corporate interests will also be satisfied.

5) Specifically for Intel:

All of the above can be applied to any brand, but here’s one that Beg to Differ sees as a non-negotiable success indicator for Intel:

Will “Intel” and “Inside” finally be reunited?

The “Intel Inside” logo was pure brilliance, a stamp of authenticity, a tag line, and a promise all rolled into one. All of the tinkering over the past years has diluted that powerful combination. So whatever you do with your product naming standards, graphics, etc., just bring them back together please.


If you are interested in some of our other “greatest hits” here are links:

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