Nothing is sacred at Intel these days -- not even its 37-year-old logo created by the chip giant's founders.
The Santa Clara company will discard its ``dropped e'' logo that Intel has used since its founding in 1968. The company also will retire the ``Intel Inside'' advertising logo it has used since 1991. Both made Intel the fifth-most valued brand in the world, according to Interbrand.
The new identity borrows a little from the Intel Inside campaign, with a circle swirled around the word Intel. It adds a catch phrase, ``Leap ahead,'' akin to Nike's ``Just do it'' and Apple's ``Think Different'' tag lines.
Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini initiated the search for a new brand when he hired Eric Kim as chief marketing officer a year ago. Kim helped Samsung build its brand into a worldwide powerhouse.
``Intel has one of the most valuable brands in the world, and we intend to grow the value of our brand as we evolve the company,'' Kim said in a statement.
The company also will unveil a series of other logos to create brands around ``platforms'' of technologies as well as individual chips. For example, the ``Viiv'' logo will be associated with its living room desktop computer brand that will make its debut early next year.
``This was a cultural change where Paul said nothing is sacred,'' Intel spokesman Bill Calder said.
The new campaign starts with a major TV and print advertising campaign that begins next week in advance of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which Otellini will address Thursday. Calder would not say how much money Intel will spend, but he acknowledged the figure is likely to run into the hundreds of millions.
According to Kim's research, Intel's name and brand were associated with microprocessors, even though the company's technologies stretch into personal computers, communications, cell phones, handhelds and set-top boxes. What's more, the collection of Intel logos for specific products had become a mess -- the company has 18 logos for its products.
I wish someone would take Intel's Paul Otellini aside at CES next week and tell him that unless you're Apple, almost no one buys a computer based on branding.
"Intel Inside" was a good attempt at name branding. But it's current brand campaign for Centrino fails because few consumers outside of Silicon Valley have a clue what Centrino incorporates or delivers. If you're in the technology sector you probably can do a better job defining coined word "Centrino" than Intel has done in all its advertising. Centrino actually is a group of technologies that encompass Intel's platform for portable cmoputing. At its heart is the soon to be renamed, single core Pentium M processor, and a chipset that supports 802.11 wireless conectivity as well as graphics displays and power management. But you might never even know that if you relied only on Intel's advertising to make a portable cmoputer purchase decision.
Intel has not evolved past the era when brand name was a prodct differentiator. What makes Apple anomylous is itys ability to sell on brand alone. Purchase decisions for items like computers are based on a number of factors and the name of the processor maker tends to be just one item in a long list of things that also includes functionality, capability, reliability and oh yeah, really high up there, something called "price."
The risk Intel faces is that they will apply the same failed brand strategies, (which lack clear statements about a branded product's capabilities) to new generations of devices. I shudder to think what Intel will do with its forthcoming living room "ViiV" branded products. And, i'd like to know what exactly will make this line different from Microft and PC makers' "Media Center" branded products.
So if some kind soul out there sees Intel's Paul Otellini next week at CES would they please give him a basic text on advertising. Hopefully, he may come to understand that the secret of most good brands begins with clear product definitions and demonstrations of capabilities. Obscure or esoteric messaging comes later, after a brand is well established.