How to ruin a brand and influence people

by John Wilker in Business, Technology

Name means a lot, especially when it’s been around a while. Changing a name can be a big deal.

Look at Fedex and their purchase of Kinkos. Which they’re apparently planning to rename to Fedex Office. This bloomberg article talks about the change, I haven’t seen the change yet, hopefully Fedex realized the gigantic mistake it would be to kill the enormously recognizable Kinkos name. I think they’d fair better ditching the Fedex Name. If they’re looking to capture mindshare in the kinko’s crowd.

On a smaller scale but equally disastrous, Adobe is extending their brand confusion to their community. A little history: Adobe created Flex Camps a while back, as one day events for Flex developers to come together to learn and network. Topics ranged from beginner to advanced, and were generally well received. There have been Flex Camps all over the world.

At MAX adobe decided that the community was confused about Flash, Flex, the platform and everything.

I think the confusion is Adobe’s. No one I’ve met is confused about what Flex is or what Flash is.

It’s unclear where Adobe is going, but the first victim of this internal name changing, confusion, mayhem is the Flex Camps, now called Flash Camps, lame. No matter what Adobe thinks or wants. Flash is not Flex is not Flash.

Flash is the swf movie. Flash is the IDE Flash devs and designers use.

Lee has a post rationalizing why we’re all Flash Developers, but taking his arguments to their more natural conclusion, aren’t we all web developers? I mean our code is run on the web (except AIR, but hey), so why not be web developers? Of course that doesn’t work Adobe wise, since “web” isn’t an Adobe product.

Flex has a name though. So does Flash. Why waste all that Brand? Flash is known for things, things that make sense to Flash, and fit well. Flex has a similar following and brand recognition, and most Flex developers, don’t want to be Flash developers, any more than a Flash Developer would want to be called a Flex developer.

I dunno, just my .02, what do you think? How far will it go? Flash Builder? Tour De Flash? Flash Platform Data Services?

8 Responses to “How to ruin a brand and influence people”

  1. Nick Kwiatkowski says:

    I'm in the same boat as you — I feel that Adobe is trying to kill (or merge together) a very powerful brand. According to market research, Adobe was trying to balence too many brands, and they didn't want the Flex brand to indimidate their other powerful brand — Flash. Everybody (they think) knows Flash, so why kill off that brand?

    It's been very confusing for the community, and all of Adobe's users for a very long time. At first we heard, Flex is NOT Flash. Then it was Flash was friends with Flex. Now it's Flash Developer. Comeon!

    Adobe/Macromedia (yes this problem stems way before Adobe got their hands on these products) really needed to do brand control with Flash before it got this far. Changing branding 10 years and Billions of dollars into a product dosen't help anybody. Flash IDE should have been named something else. Flash Player == Good. Flash MX == BAD. You can't have the editor be the brand carrier, but that's what's happened. Adobe is just trying to clean up this mess — and remember, Adobe is a designer company, so the designer brand WILL take over.

  2. Harry Garland says:

    I just hope that Adobe sends out a clear message about how Flex fits into the Flash Platform brand soon. I keep hearing different stories about whether Adobe is reducing or removing the Flex brand, and more importantly: How does this impact the identity of a Flex developer? Will I have to go back to saying "I'm a Flash developer" at parties and then having to clear up the difference between enterprise software development, and JibJab?

  3. John Wilker says:

    Adobe and clear message, don't typically go hand in hand

  4. Tim says:

    Flash Camp sounds dirty.

  5. John Wilker says:

    ROTFLOL. That made my afternoon!

  6. polyGeek says:

    Merge them together as "Flesh" and be done with it.

    When I meet someone who isn't a designer/developer I just tell them that I'm a software developer. They don't know Flash, from Flex from C++, etc. But they get the idea that software developers write code. And since they don't write code I probably don't really want to talk to them for very long so that ends that conversation real quick.

  7. John Wilker says:

    Adobe confusion seems to go in cycles. They're good, then they go on a rampage "fixing" their brands.

    Cartoonists…. LOL

  8. Harry says:

    I just realized that this is the second time Adobe has attempted to lasso a bunch of things together and call it the new platform. Remember Adobe Engagement Platform? Maybe we should all call ourselves "Engagement Developers" in protest to how Adobe keeps forcing us to rebrand ourselves.

    I hope they bring back Flex camps though. I have no interest in going to an event that's half programmers and half cartoonists.

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