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Good Branding Gone Bad

By Ray Baird

The recent news about Motorola splitting the company is a great example of good branding gone bad. Smart brand strategy, brand architecture and brand positioning are supposed to clarify and simplify a corporation’s brand, not complicate it. More importantly, it’s supposed to give an organization a unique and defendable single-minded proposition that clearly differentiates it amongst the consideration set–that’s corporate branding.

From my point of view, somewhere along the way somebody let the business structure get in the way of the corporate brand and the possibilities of its future. Motorola is a well-known company with outstanding innovation, but this new brand strategy does not playing to their strengths or investment. In fact, if you visit the Motorola website you’ll quickly notice two different colored logos. Why is this necessary? They share the same name?


Secondly, you’ll quickly notice sub-divisional titles of Mobility and Solutions. At this point things are already confusing and only a detailed explanation can help, which is not a good communication path. Finally, after entering the mobility site, you discover sub navigation of “Business” and “Solutions”. But wait a minute—I thought “Solutions” another site? Confused yet?

I do like the photography and design of the site, but that’s about where the positives end. What does this say about the Motorola corporate brand strategy, which is critical to long-lasting differentiation.

My counsel would be to take a page out of Cisco’s’ play book and roll up these divisions underneath a well-thought-out “Inspirational” brand strategy. Be a branded house. Invest in one brand, manage one brand, and do not let business complexity get in the way of brand clarity.

But that’s just my opinion, what’s yours.