I just read the brief but interesting Mashable article on “Microsoft’s Plan to Win the Search War“.
Made me think about how there’s a a general sense of geeks setting the new trends, but at the same time there’s a generalization of geeks. At least in the circles I run with the separation is not as clear, and it does make a hell lot of difference, especially for brands. Won’t be addressing anything directly from the points given in the post, will however reflect on a few things that the post made m,e think about.
What lead me to this? The article made me think about how likely I’d be switching to Bing as my default search engine, and that’s very unlikely. (Hey, Microsoft, at least you made me talk about it, that must be for something, right?)
I think there are at least two very major types of geeks that must be considered, especially for brands. As usual the classifications below will go into some stereotypical simplification, but try to get the essense of what I’m pointing at.
– There is the Pioneer, this is the person who always on the edge of things. These are the people, that before Ashton Kutcher and Oprah made Twitter the new cool thing, even before it was widespread among their peers were already using it back in 2006. For them it is already old news, such old news, that they might already have given up on it, and are testing or trying out something else. Generally when something becomes cool for the general public, it’s already uncool among them like 10 minutes ago. They are the main characters in the eternal struggle of the “Early Adopters Vs. the New Users”. What this means for brands? Forget brand loyalty, they’re the ones who ‘ll move on for the next best thing without hesitation, and they won’t stick with the “new thing” because it’s the newest thing, but it has to be a good new thing. Does this help Bing? I don’t know, but microsoft move of making it friendly for third party apps, will definitely help.
– Then there is the Fan, this is the person who already has the latest Iphone, but you’ll probably see him/she in line when Apple releases the next iteration. Yes, as a fan you might also find this person in fan gatherings, such as Harry Potter fans, Lost fans, or in my case Joss Whedon fans. Those fans can be overlapping or have no relation at all. They’re not necessaily the people on the edge of things like the Pioneers, but they’re always ready to get into the newest creation from their favorite series or creator. They’ll fight for the things they’re fan of: you know the eternal struggle between Star Wars and Star Trek fans, and there are people who are fan of boths. What this means for brands? Brand loyalty all the way. You’ll have a really hard time to convince this geek to change, if it means a big change to another brand. Unless their favorite brand screw ups really big, you won’t seem this person changing. This person might even try out the new stuff from another brand, but if it’s mostly the same as the one they can get from their favorite brand, they’ll just shift back without any regrets.
What type I am? I’m a fan. Not just because I might be the first line of defense for anything Joss Whedon, for that we can discuss it in the Whedonesque threads.
As I reflected on other things that I use or have or consume, I can easily conclude that I am a very brand loyal person. Brands matter to me. A google brand with a new product does reflect as endorsement in my opinion. I’ve only been wearing Timberland boots for over ten years, and plan to buy another one in a few months time. Been using the same brands of toothpaste for years. Bought Listerine’s PocketMist for the first time in 2007, because that brand means something for me. Not that I won’t try anything new, but while choosing similar things, I tend to side with the one I trust the most.
At the same time that I still consider Guaraná Antartica the bestof it’s kind in the market and will not order any other brand unless it’s unavailable, but currently I’m really digging Kuat Eko, which is a spin off from Coca Cola Guaraná drinks, which combines guaraná extract with green tea. I will drink Kuat Eko whenever I can, but for the normal type of guarana soft drink, I will still go for Guaraná Anatartica.
Note for the reader: Guaraná- Brazilian soft drink produced from the extract of the namesake fruit. Sales are close or even surpasses of the Cola softdrinks. Wikipedia entry can be found here.
As Ben puts it well in his analysis, Microsoft has a long road ahead. I know the final goal is to claim who is the leader in the field, but just like my thoughts onto the Twitter Vs. Facebook subject, I hope they can co-exist, as they find a proper role for each. I still prefer Twitter over Facebook, but that just reflects on how I use and explore the tools, not in the sense of which one is better. Maybe that could be a solution fo Bing, make it different from Google, not just another search engine, but something that can do some of the same things, but at the same time is somewhat different. Maybe then, I’ll try Binging something.