Marketing FAD, day 2: Brand folks visit, actionability brainstorm

March 15, 2010 – 12:14 am

Another day, another summary post from the Marketing FAD – it’s grueling work, particularly because so many of us are used to the world of Concrete Engineering Stuff and need some time to wrap our heads around the much-more-nebulous cloud of “strategy.” A constant drive to make things actionable has been serving us well, and we’re definitely learning how to communicate and work together as a chorus – which will serve us well in the two intense deliverable-focused days to come.

Morning

Chris Grams (New Kind), Jonathan Opp (Red Hat), and John Adams (Red Hat) visited the FAD this morning and spent several hours answering all sorts of questions from us on branding, how they created the Red Hat brand, their impressions of Fedora’s brand, and so forth. The full transcript of this conversation is available in the logs. Some highlights:

  • Jonathan Opp: “Speak not as a crowd of voices, but a chorus of voices. Everyone is playing different parts, but everyone sounds great together… in the same key.”
  • Chris Grams: “[The brand book for Red Hat] was never designed to be an enforcement tool, (it’s) meant to be an empowerment tool, to start a conversation, to tell a story that would get people excited at being able to extend this – not ‘what’s the set of rules for what I can and can’t say.’”
  • John Adams: “The tendency is to think of brand as soft and fluffy. that’s a misperception… there is a very data-driven way to measure how effective branding is… what do you want to be associated with?”
  • Ben Williams (in response to Nelson Marquez’s comment that Fedora is the son of Red Hat): “I would say Fedora is the father to RHEL.” Paul Frields: “And the son has an incredibly lucrative job.”
  • David Nalley: “From a user perspective, ‘innovation engine’ sounds a lot like an euphenism for ‘beta.’”

Afternoon

I think I’ll just link to the exhaustive brainstorm notes with action items that onsite and remote attendees tag-teamed to generate and point people towards the Gobby doc if they want to see the bizarre rainbow of diverse contributors editing each other mid-sentence… how I wish we had a playback feature for Gobby like etherpad, because that would have been spectacular to see.

The driving question for the brainstorm: “What metrics can we gather right now to tell us how well our brand is doing and what direction we might want to go in?”

Evening

The evening’s “Late Late Show” was packaging 101 – for most people, that is. I took it to read through the logs and recap today’s FAD events by doing things such as writing this blog post, so I’m hoping that someone else who was actually learning packaging will give a rundown of what happened there. ;-)

Best segment of the day

For me, this was the part I took away the most from. Transcript follows:

John Adams: I’ve seen frameworks where you have a user base defined, and then you start developing insights about that audience. Once you have those in hand, then you think about the benefits of your product. “We know that X Y and Z are compelling, and we can match or exceed those things with A B and C. The reasons we can back that up are the following tangible things we can point to.”
Max Spevack: At what point do you think Fedora might be reaching a steady-state in its branding?
*the Red Hat brand folks laugh*
John Adams: We’ve been doing that for Red Hat for 10 years.
Chris Grams: It takes a very long time to build a brand. You must have patience, there are no shortcuts. The key is that you don’t get anywhere without repeating the same things over and over. The #1 association of the Red Hat brand is with Linux… work on associating Red Hat with open source has been going on for about 9 years, and it’s still developing. It can be 5, 10 years before it’s really accepted. Chris Grams: One litmus test is “do people in this room even agree on it?” Because if everyone in this room isn’t on the same page, that says something.
John Adams: Part of the marketing instinct is to say “oo, new stuff,” but people using your stuff every day don’t care so much about new and fresh sometimes. They’re using it, it works – so you have to fight the instinct to go “oo we have to do something new and fresh all the time.” Make sure your stuff works for people now. Be timeless.

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