Dell is a proud brand with a long heritage of value and performance. Why then, yesterday, when I was walking through Office Depot did I see one of the newest Dell’s, admittedly an Apple Air clone, without a Dell logo anywhere?
Oh, wait, the logo is on the sticker. But the LOGO logo is actually a Windows logo. Huh?
Historical knowledge says that Dell has built its brand on being one of the low-cost leaders. Over the last 10 years, everyone has caught up to Dell in price. So Dell has tried to innovate with design and bundled services and … branding. The problem is/was that Dell has too many brands and too many options to be coherent in the market place.
Today, is Dell demoting their branding of lines within Dell? And even demoting the Dell brand? That would be weird. Sure, they are no longer the low-cost leader they once were, but certainly there is still value in the old circle logo yet.
On the Air-like Inspiron the Dell logo is not visible. Instead Dell has stenciled on the Windows ™ logo.
In previous posts (a lot of them) I’ve bashed Dell for the number of brand lines within Dell. I worked there for two years and I saw how Dell’s brand teams worked against each other in the marketplace, and often even within the company. The Latitude team, for example, always thought they were the superior brand and group within Dell. In 2007 when Dell introduced VOSTRO, the Latitude people inside Dell were having fits of rage, “We don’t need another line of computers!”
But do you really know the difference between these Dell brands today? And could you articulate a value difference between them? Or does everyone just shop price and features these days?
To help out the small business customer Dell even has a page called Dell’s Branding – Help Me Choose, but if you can get coherent information from this marketing mishmash, I’d love to hear your insights.
And maybe it’s the list of brands above that better explains what happened to the Dell logo on the Inspiron at Office Depot. You see, for under $500 there are a ton of choices in laptops these days. Perhaps the most differentiating factor is Windows vs Chrome. So Dell, in some regressive branding discussions decided to promote the Windows logo to the silkscreened hero on the laptop and put the Dell logo on the sticker.
I remember seeing a colleague’s laptop, just like this one, and asking, “Wow, that looks pretty nice, what is it?” Once we’d determined it was a dell, by the round logo on the outside of the case, we could not figure out the BRAND or MODEL number. Even reading the microfine print on the bottom of the laptop, it was almost impossible to see Inspiron ™.
Dell has always hoped and tried to be innovative. By creating 5 brands above and Chromebooks, Dell has really confused the consumer into choosing HP or Lenovo. When you walk into a Best Buy or Office Depot you don’t know if you want an Inspiron, Latitude, or XPS. Hopefully you have some idea of Dell vs. HP vs. Lenovo. But perhaps not. If we’re looking at a wall of laptops on display, I’m still shocked that this cool little computer will be seen not as a Dell but as a generic laptop running Windows vs Chrome.
In demoting the confusing internal branding, perhaps Dell went a bit too far and eliminated the Dell brand all together. Maybe that’s because Dell no longer commands the respect it once had. And we know, it’s no longer the cheapest laptop on the wall either.