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Microsoft – The Brand Behind the Man – Bill Gates

Microsoft

Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates are quite well known and need no introduction. From garage to gigantic proportions – the growth of Microsoft is now part of business folklore.

Initially it’s the product, the micro computer that popularized Microsoft. The micro computer changed the concept of personal computing. Within a short period it catapulted Microsoft to a lofty position. Afterwards, the personality of the founder Bill Gates – the dropping out of college to develop software for the micro computer from a garage, and the quick rise to the position of the richest person in the world – added to the brand and mystic of Microsoft.

The emphasis on developing software is so strong at Microsoft that instead of confining software engineers to small and cramping spaces the company allots each one a separate cubicle to work without any disturbance. The fresh recruits from college campuses find it a privilege to be working for a technology titan.

In addition to that the creative freedom, the abundant space to work in prompts them to develop newer more innovative software products on a regular basis.

Consciously or unconsciously, Bill and Melinda Gates add a lot of value to the brand image by the charity work they are involved with. It could be their way of giving back to the world, but it strengthens the brand image of Microsoft immeasurably.

The brand image of Microsoft can be described as – constant innovation. Development of fresh software keeps Microsoft ahead in a rapidly changing technological world. The personal brand image of Bill Gates as the richest person in the world with miles of print media coverage and years of visual media time bolsters the brand strength of the company formidably.

The software giant is very aggressive on the brand promotion front too. Microsoft spends nearly $1 billion on ads in the USA alone. It plans to allocate more funds for ads on the Internet, while also maintaining a strong base on traditional TV and print media.

Microsoft has changed its logo two times to the present one in Helvetica italic typeface. The tag line has also been changed from, ‘Where do you want to go today?” to “Your potential. Our passion.” It planned to allocate nearly $125 million a year starting with 2006, to erase the image of a ‘huge’ American company. It has presence in every country in the world with software development centers in many countries.

The aggressiveness of Microsoft in brand management is further established by the fact that it acquired aQuantive, a Seattle based advertisement and marketing group for $6 billion. This now gives Microsoft an upper hand in promoting its brand on the Internet.

Doug Dvorak

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