Is Mobile Just Another Business Fad?

November 30, 2006

In the 90s, companies were tripping over themselves to move their businesses into the .com world with little regard for whether it made economic sense. From a branding perspective, companies even changed their names to show that they had caught the Internet wave. Remember the brand change?

Dell dot com Logo

Is the same thing happening today in the mobile space?

From Fortune 500 companies to brand-new start-ups, every company seems to give a nod to mobility in their vision and add a ìmobileî plank to their business plan. But, mobility smells different than the .com craze.

For starters, companies appear to be looking hard at the economics of mobility before jumping in. (Perhaps with the notable exception of ESPN MobileÖ er, Mobile ESPNÖ  oh never mind, itís going out of business.) And they are certainly being much more rational about making the link to mobility in their branding.

Brand Mobile
Google, Microsoft and CNN are leading the way in branding in the Mobile space. Instead of coining a new term for mobility, changing the corporate brand or tacking on a prefix or suffix, these brand titans are defining the best practices in branding the mobile category through clarity, simplicity and plain language.

Google has masterbranded its mobile offering with the simple, straightforward Google Mobile. In typical Google fashion, the company owns the complete mobile user experience, ensuring that it is consistent with any other Google interaction.

Microsoft, as you would expect, extended its ubiquitous Windows brand with ìmobileî as a modifier. Windows Mobile, the brains behind every pocket PC, looks, feels and acts like his big-brother Windows, just with fewer bells and whistles.

Likewise, CNN offers up a subset of its content services to a PDA near you as CNN Mobile. Again, it looks, feels and acts like the CNN experience, with the limitations and boundaries you would expect.

Maybe we have learned something after all.  At least from a brand perspective.

Karl Barnhart  --


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