What happens when a software company gets creative and does something different than their typical branding campaigns? Today we’re looking at Microsoft’s 2012 brand campaign that went beyond the norm for their marketplace and their typical initiatives.
Facing tough competition from Google Chrome, they needed to prove their browser (IE Explorer) was just as easy to use, reliable, and fast. So they took on a rebrand strategy to help them prove the weight of the browser.
Although this is now an older brand campaign, it’s still worth assessing. There’s a lot to learn from Microsoft’s creativity and approach. Unusual campaigns, like this one, are a great learning opportunity since they’re a higher risk and so result in either standout success or abysmal failure. Let’s see how Microsoft succeeded with this campaign.
A quick overview of the campaign
This crowd-source centered initiative entailed an animated series (produced in collaboration with Edgar Wright and Tommy Lee Edwards). The series showcased what is possible on the web.
In particular, they wanted to illustrate what’s possible without the use of plugins. Their goal was to gain more exposure for their browser technology, Internet Explorer (IE).
The brand campaign results
• The series generated over 600,000 unique visitors to the Brandon Generator website
• There were 308,000+ YouTube series views
• An additional 12.2million media-driven YouTube views (via other media platforms)
• Internet Explorer (IE) market share finished ahead of their target (from 51.8% to 53.9%)
• An astounding 10,00 crowd-sourced entries (contributions to subsequent chapters) *
Plus, of course, there were the results, such as increased exposure, that are not so easily measured.
What you can take away from this branding campaign for your own business
1. Get creative — where possible.
You don’t necessarily have to create an animated series but think about adding creative flair to your brand campaigns. But remember to only go on this journey where you feel the creative elements will add value. Don’t do it just to be creative.
This is a useful tip for all branding strategies and campaign initiatives. Sometimes there are trends in certain markets and it’s easy to jump on them. But every trend is not a fit for your business. Also, every trend will not enhance your brand. Add creative elements but do so wisely.
2. Engage with your audience.
In today’s competitive marketplace, customer engagement is king. Getting their audience involved was the perfect way for Microsoft to demonstrate its browser’s functionality. Instead of telling people about it, individuals got to experience it themselves by contributing to the series.
This has an added bonus of making customers feel heard and appreciated.
3. Know your boundaries.
This wasn’t an ongoing campaign, which could’ve lost steam and user-interest. Instead, Microsoft had a solid plan of the scope and width of the project. This was a 4-part series that rolled out over a set period.
When you create campaigns, establish the scope. When will it begin, what’s included, when will it end? This all sounds obvious, but if you don’t set firm boundaries going in, you can end up with a campaign that’s dragging on, consuming your time and resources, bringing diminishing returns.
4. Determine what success will look like.
Set specific metrics for your desired results. How will you know if you’ve succeeded? What results do you need/want/expect?
Because this campaign colored outside the lines of the typical brand initiative, it was bold and daring and could’ve been a big flop. But that’s a possibility for all brand campaigns, whether they’re creatively daring or not. Brand campaigns done right bring huge results. But done wrong, they’re a major waste of time, energy, and company resources. They can also damage your team morale.
Ready to create a brand campaign to boost visibility and sales? Contact me for a one-on-one Brand Consultation. I’d love to discuss the best options for your business right now.