So, after blogging for just under two months, it would appear that I’ve already started to adopt a particular blogging style. To folks like Alex, my style may seem like advertising without trying to sell anything, but to me that’s something entirely different – branding.
As a society, we’re bombarded by various forms of branding every day. For example, I went to the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto last night to watch a movie (‘No Country For Old Men’ – now there’s a subject for a blog entry) and was somewhat taken aback when I was greeted by the cashier with “Welcome to Scotiabank” when I went to purchase a ticket. Not “Welcome to Scotiabank Theatre”, just “Welcome to Scotiabank”. I almost felt compelled to say “Thanks. I’d like to make a withdrawal, please…”.
I’m starting to believe that the days of the hard sell are numbered, as companies are becoming more and more preoccupied with brand recognition than with marketing specific products. Can you remember ever seeing an ad from IBM that mentioned the name of one of their products? Mind you, there’s good brand recognition and bad brand recognition. Seeing as it’s often not what you’ve produced, but how (well) you’ve produced it, vendors ideally want their brand to have a connotation of quality instead of being regarded as a “necessary evil”.
I’ve been thinking a lot about branding in Eclipse-based products lately. The Rich Client Platform (RCP) does a pretty good job of providing mechanisms for branding, what with its custom window images, About dialog, welcome experience, and all, but what about products that are delivered as plug-ins to an existing Eclipse shell? How does a vendor make it known in a subtle (but not too subtle) way that they’re responsible for that great (or not so great) editor, view, or action that you’re currently using? How are users to distinguish, among the potentially many plug-ins that have been installed into their Eclipse IDE, between the dross, the slag, and the cereal topper?