Sage Rebranding – New Product Names
It was only a few months ago at Sage Summit 2011 that Sage North America CEO Pascal Houillon announced the end of product brand names, which will be phased out and renamed during the next 18 months in a new branding strategy. This new strategy will focus on strengthening the Sage brand by qualifying some of their popular product offerings in a series organized by ascending numbers (Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, etc).
It’s a strategy that has already had success in Europe, originating in France and progressing to English-speaking countries like the UK and Ireland. The products themselves remain unchanged except for their brand label, as Sage’s Simply Accounting and Peachtree, for example, become Sage 50 Accounting, and Accpac becomes Sage 300 (see the table below for other changes).
During, and immediately after the announcement (through Twitter and questions from business partners) polarizing opinions emerged regarding this move. Questions of costs to business partners, repetitive efforts in customer product education, brand dilution and cannibalism, and those expressing concerns regarding change were understandably predominant among business partners.
From Sage’s point of view, these concerns are all addressed through long-term objectives and all encompassing explanations of the future of its marketing strategy, one that is focused on dynamically placing the brand itself in the minds of customers in the marketplace. By investing heavily in a single and unified brand (as opposed to 40 different product brands), Sage will save time and money for business partners who have to devote concerted effort in selling their own reseller brand, the Sage brand, and then the product brand.
A unified brand strategy will, hopefully, make it easier and less stressful for customers to move along the product lines in accordance to their needs. Sage envisions customers currently having to move back in the buying cycle to familiarize themselves with differently named products. To avoid that, a change in name would focus the discussion in the contrasting characteristics of the solutions, as opposed to having to correct customer perspective that different named products have different origins.
In an arena where competitors’ brands like Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Epicor are more recognizable than their respective products, Sage can argue that their strategy is in compliance with industry standards. In fact, their viewpoint is that all parties involved stand to gain from a strong common image and recognition in the market place.
One aspect that has not been completely clarified is how, if at all, is the brand value accumulated over time by product brands being harnessed? Products like Accpac, Peachtree, Simply Accounting are well recognizable brand names with value in the consumer mind space. Are the benefits from solidifying the brand really worth killing all the product brands that will soon cease to exist?
All in all, the changes are significant in that their affects include some of the more popular product groups, eliminating historically attained brand equity, while allowing over half of existing products to keep their old brands. Here’s a small sample of the products that will experience changes in coming months of 2012:
|CURRENT NAME||NEW NAME|
|Sage Peachtree||Sage 50 – U.S. Edition|
|Sage Simply Accounting||Sage 50 – Canadian Edition|
|Sage ERP MAS 90||Sage 100 Standard ERP|
|Sage ERP MAS 200||Sage 100 Advanced ERP|
|Sage ERP Accpac||Sage 300 ERP|
|Sage Abra SQL HRMS||Sage HMRS|
|Sage ERM MAS 500||Sage 500 ERP|
With all changes, especially those with a global corporate scale, comes resistance and mixed emotions, even though the products themselves are not changing at all. How will this rebranding affect your business and perception of the products?