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From Graham Lauder <>
Subject Re: (was Re: Ooo blog)
Date Mon, 11 Jul 2011 13:04:25 GMT
On Mon, 2011-07-11 at 07:36 -0400, Rob Weir wrote:
> > As Peter Junge has stated, this discussion has a repetitive deja vu feel
> > about it.
> >
> It would only be repetitive if circumstances were the same. They
> aren't.  Perhaps the full magnitude of this has not hit, but things
> are very different now.  The move from a corporate-led open source
> project to a community-led project at Apache is as big as the initial
> move to open source.  *Everything* is open for discussion. Not to bore
> people, of course.  But to 1) Get everyone up to speed on why
> decisions were made before, and 2) Validate whether prior decisions
> are still the optimal decisions.

I have absolutely no problem with that and I am fully aware of the
magnitude of the changes, probably more than most, I'm just mindful that
change for change sake is not a reason to dump an established brand and
in fact change in the rest of the infrastructure is an excellent reason
for retention and strengthening of that brand   

> > There are number of most excellent things about the name,
> > none of which relate to people who are involved in the community and
> > this includes the people at OOoForum, they don't need to.  It does
> > however have beneficial effects for the New User or New Client which of
> > course the Marketing project thinks of constantly.
> >
> And of course the non-ideal thing is that users, for the most part,
> don't call it by that name.  They just call it "OpenOffice".
> A good example of the ideal situation is when you have trademarks in
> "Coca-Cola", "Coke" and "The Real Thing", along with dozens of other,
> related terms.  So you have a trademark in all the terms that you use
> to refer to your product, and via your advertising campaigns and
> product branding, you reenforce those names with the consumer.  So
> today, almost no one refers to Coke via the generic term "cola".
> Everyone calls it by one of its trademarked names.
> > It tells this New Client, who may not be at all familiar with, or even
> > heard the name, a number of things.  It tells them that it is open, and
> > so it starts to introduce the concept of open source or reinforces the
> > idea for someone who is looking for Open Source Solutions.  It tells
> > them that it is an office type application and it tells them that it is
> > a web based project with the .org on the end and at the same time gives
> > them the web address.  For the web savvy user, the .org tells them that
> > there is a noncommercial organisation in place, a community in other
> > words.
> >
> But the user still calls it OpenOffice or Open Office, not
>  See, for example, this chart of search traffic for
> each of these terms:
> I agree with you that it is important to get across that this product
> is an office suite, community led, etc.  But I'm not sure, that in
> 2011, it is as necessary for our name to point out that we have a web
> presence.  Anyone who types "OpenOffice" or "Open Office" into their
> search engine will find the project immediately.

Agreed and I'm not denying any of the above, but you have to understand
our clientele.  Many are not web savvy.  They create documents, they do
cool stuff in a spreadsheet in their office, but they have been
bombarded with publicity about how the downloading from the internet can
give their computer Herpes.  I talked the other day about the Sun
marketing campaign failure, the failure was due to corporate not
understanding this factor of their end users.  It is true that this is
changing, but it is still true for many of our userbase.  In a developer
community there would be very few who have interaction with front office
endusers of OOo.  That contact which I have had on a daily basis.
Change for no apparent reason puts these people off.   

> > It is a webaddress, which is important in a product whose entire
> > distribution of product and collateral is webbased.  Not,
> > not, which people would more likely put into an address
> > bar, but, clear, precise, no confusion, put
> > in your address bar or google and the new user will get
> > to where they need to go.
> >
> > The name is not about what the community feels comfortable with.  It is
> > however about branding
> > Branding needs continuity
> > Branding is client focussed.
> >
> Good points.  But shouldn't we acknowledge that a branding that the
> users don't use is probably suboptimal?

Define how users use the brand?  When I was in the US, one odd thing I
noticed (odd to me that is) is that coke was often referred to as
"Soda", now Pepsi is soda and 7up and so on but in this particular group
soda meant coca cola.  Do Coke care about that?  Hell no, they would
love everyone to call their drink Soda so long as the colloquialism
associates to the brand, we're good.    

> > The brand is 14 characters strung together in a very recognisable
> > format, Upper case Os in OpenOffice with dot and lower case o on org.
> >  In text on a page of typeface it is recognisable
> > without bugs like the "gulls". The diminutive in the format OOo is as
> > recognisable.  Google it sometime.
> >
> > The OOo community has always been well known for the strength of it's
> > marketing.  Diluting the brand by dropping the .org or tacking Apache
> > (which has even lower brand recognition in our target market) on the end
> > is, from a marketing POV, close to suicidal.  Where marketing requires
> > brand development with zero budget, it makes the marketers job very
> > difficult because changing the name throws away 10 years of marketing
> > collateral.
> >
> It might help to define some metrics that reflect what success looks
> like.  Hopefully we'd agree that what the community thinks about the
> historic branding is important, but might not be the overriding
> concern.  The impact on the users is the critical thing.

No denying, but it should be remembered that many of our users, probably
the majority are not sophisticated computer people, apache and the
community are a mystery to them, change can be a scary thing especially
with something(software) they have little understanding of, and a brand
that they have slowly become comfortable with.  It is a huge thing for
someone who has been using the market leading office software right
through their working life, to change to a strange Open Source product
that they downloaded from that most dangerous of places: the Internet.
They are very easy to alienate.   

> I suppose the question is this:  If after 10 years most users still
> refer to the product as "Open Office" or "OpenOffice" rather than the
> product's trademarked name, then what is most likely to occur:
> 1) That with zero marketing budget we convince users to refer to the
> product as "", something we never accomplished in 10
> years?

And it doesn't matter, the brand and the colloquialism are separate
things, the brand however must be connected to the colloquialism.  Coca
Cola came first, Coke came from the need to have a simple catchy byline.

> 2) We convince them to call it "Apache OpenOffice"?
They wouldn't, put Apache on the end our present community would still
call it Open Office

> 3) We have zero impact on what the users call it, and the debate is
> really about what the community calls the product?
It doesn't matter what the User or the Community calls it, they can call
it Bird Droppings for all I care so long as they connect whatever their
own particular colloquialism to the brand.  For that to happen we need
to retain the strength of that brand

> I don't think it is worth having a big debate if this is really, in
> the end, just #3.
This debate IS significant and should not be dismissed.  I know this is
a developer community and some of us Non-Dev types feel somewhat
uncomfortable about the place and feel we should keep our heads down and
be quiet, but some things are important outside the code that need to be
addressed and debated and branding is a big one.


Graham Lauder, MarCon (Marketing Contact) NZ Migration and training Consultant.

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