Linksys by Cisco. Pelco by Schneider Electric. Even APC by Schneider Electric. And now as I look at a bottle of water, I see “Crystal Geyser by CG Roxane”. This all friggin’ sucks, and you marketing geeks probably want to know how it’s impacting your brand image.
Badly. When I see “by” in the name, I don’t think “ouh, so these guys made it”. I think “Oh, so their parent company didn’t think they were getting enough attention, so they slapped their name on it”. That, in turn, means that the brand itself isn’t important, just the mega-corporation after the “by”. Probably also the same reason HD-DVD failed – take an existing, recognizable logo, and tack something onto it (“HD” with a few “waves”). In this case, take an existing brand, and tack another name onto it. Cisco did it first with that “Linksys by Cisco” crap, but they took it WAY too far, even to the point of changing the linksys.com domain into a redirect to linksysbycisco.com – blatantly trying to shove that into peoples’ minds. Here’s a hint, NOBODY is ever going to tell someone to go buy a “Linksys by Cisco” router. Doing that just dilutes the brand name image and next thing you know, people will end up buying a Netgear instead of a Linksys by Cisco.
Schneider Electric? Talk about a fucking mess. Okay, so Pelco, possibly the most recognized name in video surveillance systems. APC, the most recognized name in power management systems. They get bought by some no-name company whose name doesn’t even reflect technology. Schneider Electric. And they know their name sucks. So what do they do? They want to attach their name to each of them, then slap the modified logo on EVERYTHING involving the two companies. Pelco by Schneider Electric, APC by Schneider Electric. What’s this tell me? It only serves to tell me that Schneider Electric has serious self-confidence issues… and perhaps that their shareholders need a little extra ego-stroking. It’s pure bullshit, and yes… I see all these things when I see the word “by” in a company name.
Now, it’s acceptable to put a company name in a product name. I see no problem with that. Microsoft Office, for example, works just fine. But you rarely see the word “by” in these names, probably because “by” implies that massive douchebaggery is afoot in the boardroom. But for god’s sake, it must take an ego the size of Texas to slap this kind of double-branding shit on a company’s name. What the hell.
Needless to say, I avoid these brands solely due to their name, due to the fact that I want to avoid supporting such douche boardroom decisions. Perhaps with enough people avoiding these brands, they’ll see that their brand is failing, and some marketing nut will suggest that they change their brand again – back to what it was. And maybe, by some act of God, that suggestion will be implemented, and we’ll once again see Linksys, Pelco, or APC standing on their own as respectable companies.
edit: And it seems I’m not the only one.