Brand Management, Communications, Competitive Strategy, Marketing

To build a position in the Cloud…

This week, my company NetApp launched a new visual identity. Check it out before you continue:

Did you ever bring a new product to market? I bet the positioning piece was the hardest part of it. Getting aligned with business goals, thoroughly understanding the competitive landscape, writing a crisp positioning statement, followed by a sound value proposition can be quite a cathartic experience for the business leadership and the marketing teams involved. You spend a year on research, sessions with the board, with internal and external stakeholders, going through several rounds of SWOT analyses, trying to avoid marketing myopia (if you don’t know what this is, read this – a marketing classic from the 60’s. YEAH!), just to understand how you’re going to market. It’s essential to get it right, because it will determine your every next move, and in the end mean the difference between succeeding or failing. And usually, everyone involved understands this, so the stakes are high – that’s what makes it hard and painful.

Some years ago, at my previous company, we were asked to bring a new software to market, opening up the SaaS category for that particular type of solution in the Dutch market. Within 6 weeks. Great learning experience, and indeed, the positioning piece took us over 3 weeks. The rest was mere execution.

And that was just about positioning a single product… Imagine what happens if you’re trying to find a differentiated position for a global brand in an ever consolidating, high speed, dog-eat-dog business environment, like my company NetApp in today’s IT industry – where every single vendor is working hard to gain sustainable competitive advantage and build a defendable position in the Cloud space.

Cloud, or shared infrastructure as it is often referred to, has the potential to turn every best-of-breed solution into an ingredient of a broader value proposition – simply because many solutions together make up a cloud infrastructure. With that, Intel’s brand challenge has become everybody’s issue in 2011.

This week, my company NetApp launched a new visual identity, to keep up with the differentiated position of our Cloud solutions and services portfolio. The new look & feel is personable to a level that’s rarely seen within the IT industry: it’s made up of hand drawn, colourful, abstract illustrations, there is a new handwritten font, and the more foundational illustrations depict customer success stories. It has gone from a techy, masculin, blue-black-and-white-with-lots-of-stock-photography look-and-feel to a more feminine, open, likeable, creative presentation, with a clear emotional dimension.

Have a look yourself: Successful Businesses Are Built On NetApp – featuring the business transformation story of our customer Suncorp.

The new visual style is different enough to match the quality of our solutions and services – we’re anxious to see how the market responds to our new appearence.

How do you like our new brand looks?



One thought on “To build a position in the Cloud…

  1. Hi Kees ,

    Good to see the new developments in NetApp visuals. The drawing reminds me of my favorite book from my childhood: The Little Prince ,Antoine de Saint Exupéry so I am in favor of this illustration too:-)

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