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Novell Owning a Word – My Suggestion



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February 16, 2008 12:43 am

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In my previous post I spoke about my belief that the word Open is a bad idea for Novell to own.

Let me now make the pitch for the word I believe Novell should own.

Remember, if you are a regular reader, that to own a word, is to have the word or phrase, and the qualities that it carries, permanently associated with your company brand.

Walmart owns Lower Prices
Toyota owns Fuel Efficient
SouthWest owns Fun
Starbucks owns Coffee
Charmin owns Soft
Bounty owns Absorbent
Red Hat owns Linux
Volvo owns Safety
Crest owns Cavity
Obama owns Change
Hawaii owns Aloha
Rice Crispies own Snap Crackle Pop
America owns Opportunity
Cuba owns Cigar
Exxon owns Valdez (Sometimes the word isn’t a good thing)

You might not agree with all of my choices, but my point is that a word can be owned by any product, any company, any person, any place, any country.

When a company owns a word, the company usually flourishes. When the word is not easily identifiable, the company usually languishes.

What word DID Novell used to own? Easy, Networking. NetWare defined the Network within an organization.

What word does Novell now own? Nothing but they are trying.

When choosing a word, you have to be careful that the word doesn’t paint you into a corner or be open to someone else’s word changing the meaning.

This has been true with the Presidential race here in the United States. Hillary Clinton, aware that her weaknesses was a lack of executive level experience, went about owning the word Experience. When Obama entered the race, he chose the word Change. The word Change, when placed up against the word Experience, suddenly repositions Experience from a positive to a negative.

What word should Novell own?

It is my belief that Novell is on the right track with their Linux strategy. I believe the company is poised to grab a significant share of the future of IT.

But to truly succeed, they are going to need a word to own that lets anyone immediately understand the value of the word, like Safety for Volvo.

I propose their word be Business-Driven Linux.

An important distinction is that this is not Linux for Business. Linux for Business is limiting. Especially so many of the organizations right now deploying Linux are not businesses, and the words Linux for Business exclude those organizations not affiliated with the business world.

Instead, Business-Driven Linux, is a term that has meaning and value across all companies, across all vertical markets, all organizations.

The word Business is associated with growth, revenue, money, and success. Businesses are seen as making decisions that maximize opportunity. If a successful business uses a solution, oftentimes others will look to copy.

But the word Business-Driven does not exclude the non-business customer. It includes them because they immediately understand the concept of an entrepreneur who is driven to succeed, doing whatever it takes to succeed. Business-Driven instills the ideas of work, focus, dedication, commitment, and success. All organizations recognize this, and often would like to be associated with a business-driven mentality. Even organizations that are the antithesis of business, still understand that they must follow certain principals of good management to be successful.

A solution that is business-driven is a solution that is focused on success.

Business-Driven Linux now communicates the use of Linux to pursue goals and objectives with a focus on success. That Novell, by owning this word (phrase) communicates to their customers that they are focused on their customer’s success, on making their software solve their customer’s problems so they can achieve their goals and objectives.

Suddenly, a partnership with Microsoft, when viewed in the light of owning Business-Driven Linux makes sense. Any company, to succeed with its technology, is going to have to work with Microsoft. Business-Driven Linux supports this action and communicates to all that Novell is focused on success.

The SiteScape acquisition suddenly because a clear focus on the goal of delivering Business-Driven Linux solutions that bring success to Novell customers.

Novell would own a word that would let anyone, and I mean anyone, clearly understand their commitment, their direction, and the value they believe they bring to the table in any organization looking to reach their goals and objectives.

Richard Bliss
http://gwbliss.blogspot.com

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