Monthly Archives: March 2015

With the Death of Internet Explorer, Microsoft Faces One of Its Greatest Branding Challenges

During the recent Microsoft Convergence conference, marketing chief Chris Capossela confirmed what has been rumored for months: The tech giant will finally ditch its long-standing default browser, Internet Explorer.

Instead, Microsoft has developed a new, unnamed browser—its code name is Project Spartan—to include in Windows 10. The company hasn’t announced a release date yet, but there’s speculation it will reveal more at the Microsoft Build 2015 conference in April.

While the company confirmed to Adweek that Internet Explorer will continue to exist in some Windows 10 versions for consumers who require legacy support, this move essentially closes the book on the Internet Explorer brand.

Given the baggage that is now associated with Internet Explorer and its declining market share over the last decade, the decision is a logical if not overdue one, according to marketing and branding experts. As Internet Explorer fell out of favor, browsers like Firefox and Chrome hit the market and introduced new product innovations in faster, sleeker, easier-to-use browsers.

“Tech brands are inherently different than non-tech brands,” said David Gaspar, managing director of brand consultancy DDG. “We cherish the history of Coca-Cola—it harkens back to youth, great times with friends and family, etc. Tech brands suffer from the exact same nostalgia, just in a negative way.”

In recent years, people have forgotten that Internet Explorer pioneered many of the innovations—including Ajax, or Java Script—that made the Internet what it was and what it is today. Instead, they’ve focused on the product’s lackluster user experience, according to Roy DeYoung, svp of creative strategy for PM Digital.

The flawed core functionality of Internet Explorer has clouded the brand’s perception, drawing so much vitriol that Microsoft addressed this in a 2012 ad campaign. “It isn’t just the name that has baggage, it’s the product,” said Matt Houltham, managing partner at Naked Communications. “Anyone that has used IE knows it’s historically slow.”

By retiring Internet Explorer and starting anew, Microsoft has the chance to shed the user expectation attached to Internet Explorer and entice consumers with product innovations and new offerings, according to marketing and branding experts. While details about the new browser are sparse, Capossela did reveal that Microsoft is currently researching what the new brand or name for the browser should be and whether or not Microsoft should be a part of that name.

“Naming is a great way to articulate a relationship between a product and a parent brand,” said Tom Sepanski, naming and verbal identity director for Landor North America. “If they want to include Microsoft in the name, then whatever name they are pairing Microsoft with technically shouldn’t compete, it should be complementary.”

But Microsoft has more to do than pick a name. The tactical realities of this move are enormous—securing trademark rights, picking a name that resonates globally, using focus groups to test the brand, securing URLs—but Microsoft first has to prove to consumers that the new browser will be markedly better than Internet Explorer.

“What will be crucial for Microsoft to get right is the user experience,” said Sepanski. “They can name this thing in whatever strategic way they want but if the product doesn’t live up to expectations, if they can’t deliver on the new promise, it’s not going to be successful.”

Houltham agreed: “If they want people to reconsider Microsoft’s browsing capabilities, then they need to be thinking of this as a new product. It isn’t just putting lipstick on the Internet Explorer pig.”

Article from:

This is how we date now

Very interesting read about relationships and technology overload….

We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.

Only Sprint Allows You To Take ‘The Walking Dead’ Wherever You Go
Promoted by Sprint
When we choose—if we commit—we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet, because choice. Because choice. Our choices are killing us. We think choice means something. We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification.

We soothe ourselves and distract ourselves and, if we can’t even face the demons inside our own brain, how can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We bail. We leave. We see a limitless world in a way that no generation before us has seen. We can open up a new tab, look at pictures of Portugal, pull out a Visa, and book a plane ticket. We don’t do this, but we can. The point is that we know we can, even if we don’t have the resources to do so. There are always other tantalizing options. Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t.

And, even if we find it. Say we find that person we love who loves us. Commitment. Intimacy. “I love you.” We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines a light on where we don’t love ourselves. We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not what we share. Shiny picture. Happy couple. Love is perfect.

Then, we see these other happy, shiny couples and we compare. We are The Emoji Generation. Choice Culture. The Comparison Generation. Measuring up. Good enough. The best. Never before have we had such an incredible cornucopia of markers for what it looks like to live the Best Life Possible. We input, input, input and soon find ourselves in despair. We’ll never be good enough, because what we’re trying to measure up to just does not fucking exist. These lives do not exist. These relationships do not exist. Yet, we can’t believe it. We see it with our own eyes. And, we want it. And, we will make ourselves miserable until we get it.

So, we break up. We break up because we’re not good enough, our lives aren’t good enough, our relationship isn’t good enough. We swipe, swipe, swipe, just a bit more on Tinder. We order someone up to our door just like a pizza. And, the cycle starts again. Emoji. “Good morning” text. Intimacy. Put down the phone. Couple selfie. Shiny, happy couple. Compare. Compare. Compare. The inevitable creeping in of latent, subtle dissatisfaction. The fights. “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is.” “This isn’t working.” “I need something more.” And, we break up. Another love lost. Another graveyard of shiny, happy couple selfies.

On to the next. Searching for the elusive more. The next fix. The next gratification. The next quick hit. Living our lives in 140 characters, 5 second snaps, frozen filtered images, four minute movies, attention here, attention there. More as an illusion. We worry about settling, all the while making ourselves suffer thinking that anything less than the shiny, happy filtered life we’ve been accustomed to is settling. What is settling? We don’t know, but we fucking don’t want it. If it’s not perfect, it’s settling. If it’s not glittery filtered love, settling. If it’s not Pinterest-worthy, settling.

We realize that this more we want is a lie. We want phone calls. We want to see a face we love absent of the blue dim of a phone screen. We want slowness. We want simplicity. We want a life that does not need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, upvotes. We may not know yet that we want this, but we do. We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived the fuck out of our lives. This is what we want even if we don’t know it yet.

Yet, this is not how we date now. This is not how we love now.

Go, dollar, go! 5 places where a vacation may now be more attractive

Money is flooding into the U.S. dollar in anticipation of the Fed’s first rate hike in about a decade, making life awkward for a lot of emerging economies.

The dollar is on its biggest tear in decades as the economy finally leaves the Great Recession behind it. Money is flooding into the greenback in anticipation of the Federal Reserve’s first interest rate increase in nearly a decade. That’s making life awkward for a lot of the world’s emerging economies. Here are some economies that will be more than happy to see your tourist Ben Franklins this summer:

1. Turkey. $ performance year-to-date: +13%

The lira has been one of the forex world’s “Fragile Five” emerging market currencies for a while, thanks to its twin budget and current account deficits. Being next door to the disaster in Syria and Iraq has also hit its economy, but what has really hammered it this year is a massive bust-up between central bank governor Erdem Basci and an increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan lashed out in public against the mercurial Basci this week, accusing him of being “under foreign influence” for not cutting his key interest rate by more than 0.5 percentage point. Markets expect things to get worse before they get better, and are selling the lira like it’s going out of fashion.

2. South Africa. $ performance YTD: +4.1%

How about a safari? Actually, the YTD number doesn’t really do the scale of the rand’s awfulness justice. The buck is up 36% against it in the last two and a bit years because it depends on exports of commodities. Demand for those has slowed sharply as China, which has sucked up staggering quantities of copper, gold, coal and iron ore, has changed its economic model away from breakneck industrial development. The South African government, beset by repeated allegations of corruption against President Jacob Zuma and his circle, has struggled to match the Chinese in finding an alternative growth model.

3. Brazil. $ performance YTD +13%

You’re already too late for Mardi Gras, but hey, there’s never a bad time to visit the Copacabana, is there? Brazil is the country that, along with Russia (which we’re guessing you won’t want to visit this year no matter how cheap it gets) had a 10-year party on the back of a commodities supercycle and has woken up with a massive hangover to find that some of the people who were running the party have plundered the house safe. A corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras may have failed to stop Socialist President Dilma Rousseff being re-elected, but markets are starting to panicking at the amount of dollar debt that companies like Petrobras have to repay.

4. Australia. $ performance YTD +6%

OK, Oz isn’t an emerging market per se, and 6% is no disaster, but the Aussie dollar is definitely feeling sorry for itself these days. For the last 20 years, it’s seemed like China just wanted to buy the top 200 feet of the whole continent’s crust and turn it into steel. Coal and iron ore exports are both still running at record highs, but prices have collapsed–iron ore was the only commodity to perform worse than oil last year. That means no more $200,000 salaries for truck drivers. The country’s central bank is also struggling to make sure that house prices don’t collapse as the froth comes off the market.

5. Ukraine. $ performance YTD +40%

But without a doubt, Ukraine is absolutely THE place to holiday this year (especially if you’re being sent undercover by the Pentagon to train local forces in the use of high-tech weaponry to stop Russian expansionism). The hryvnia has lost nearly 66% of its value against the dollar since Russia annexed Crimea and fomented a separatist war in Ukraine’s eastern provinces. The economy is collapsing; even a new $17 billion deal with the IMF won’t cover its financing needs for very long, and the constant threat of invasion hangs over it. Sadly, you won’t be able to fly to Crimea because international flights there have been suspended, but Habsburg-era Lviv, the glorious Carpathian mountains and (for the moment at least) the seaside resort of Odessa are still reachable.

Article from: