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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Where Did the “Boxes” Go?

VMware_Rick Jackson_2009_crop

Posted by Rick Jackson
Chief Marketing Officer

At VMworld 2009 this past September, we rolled out an
updated VMware logo as a predecessor to our overall re-branding efforts.  The obvious change that most people saw
and commented on was the absence of the “bug” – that part of the logo that is
not our company name.  I.e., “Where
did the boxes go?”

The original VMware logo that contained the boxes, formally
referred to as the rings, first
appeared in 1999, and symbolized multiple virtual machines.  It was simple, and yet incredibly
descriptive.  The concept of
isolated, multiple machines running in a single environment has had an obvious impact
on the landscape of IT. 

Picture 7 Now, as we look at our current offerings based on vSphere,
and our vision of delivering the infrastructure for unrestrained cloud
computing, the image we are portraying to the market has evolved.  In fact, our message embodies the notion
of freeing IT from the constraints of
physical resources. Our vision talks to a common infrastructure fabric that
spans IT, from the desktop, thru the datacenter, and to the cloud.  In short, our message and our vision
transcend the idea of boundaries, and extend beyond the box. What
was both a useful and familiar logo element for our first decade at VMware, now
compromises the underlying tone of our message. In fact, every branding firm we
engaged with during this process recommended this change, based purely on how
we described VMware and what we do.

We also decided that the use of a bug with our logo was not
necessary.  We believe that VMware,
our valued and respected company name, stands on its own. Making a change of
this nature is something that deserves considerable contemplation and consideration.
But in the end, we felt it was the right thing to do. It is a recognition of
the evolving value that VMware continues to bring to the market.  And it is now up to us to illustrate
the transformative value that VMware represents, in everything we do.  I.e., manage our brand.

Brand – Holistic and Consistent

VMware_Rick Jackson_2009_crop

Posted by Rick Jackson
Chief Marketing Officer

VMware has now passed the decade mark, and created what is
arguably one of the most important brands in software.  In this case, I am simply referring to
the name of our company as the brand.  It is incredible how well recognized we
are amongst our primary target buyer – the IT audience. 

As we look forward to what we want to accomplish in the next
decade, we decided that it was time to pump up the whole essence of the VMware
brand.  And in this case, I am
referring to the brand identity – the
collection of attributes and image that our overall brand experience delivers
to our target audiences.  Without
going into the science of brand, of which there is plenty of expert and
scientific research, I’d like to reflect one simple, country boy view.  (For the record, I was born in
Nashville, Tennessee, thus the “country boy” reference.  Having spent most of my life in CA, I
may or may not be entitled to this reference!)

Our approach to brand is holistic, encompassing the image,
voice and tone of VMware, all wrapped around a set of core messages that set up
our value proposition.  Thus our
starting point was one of energy… “Energize
the business through IT, while saving energy – financial, human, and the earth’s
.”  (See my blog on “Energize and Save – Standing
Out in a Crowd
”.)

Vmw_before

Before

With that core message defined, we needed the other elements
– image and tone – to reflect that message.  Consistency is key. 
It all has to re-enforce what we want to get across, and not compromise
the essence of who we are, and how we best present ourselves.  This is why we are excited to bring an
updated look, tone, and message to market in a cohesive package.

The first thing you’ll notice is that our color palette is
considerably more vibrant. We specifically chose a wide range of cool to warm
colors in tones that complement each other, in order to give us the flexibility
to be creative in our execution. But the differentiating image that manifests
itself throughout our creative execution is the use of the color prisms.  A simple idea manifested through our
creative execution – VMware solutions simplify the underlying complexity.  For example, in some of our treatments
you’ll see a reveal – a corner of a
piece pealed back to show the underlying complexity illustrated as a grid of
color prisms.  In other words, the
surface is simple and clear, but the underlying infrastructure is complex and
diverse.

Vmw_after
After

As part of our comprehensive brand redesign, we have also
updated our logo.  I will talk
about this in more depth in my next post.

Brighter, bolder, more
energetic.  That was the goal of
the image redesign.  With our rapid
growth and expansion, it has been difficult in the past to manage a consistent
brand.  But now we are entering a
stage of our company lifecycle where increasing the depth of relationship with
our customers, partners, and broader ecosystem is critical to our ongoing success.  Where maintaining leadership visibility
across multiple audiences will keep us in a position of strength.  This evolution dictates that we become
more aware and protective of our complete brand, and thus the perception of
VMware everywhere.

Energize and Save – Standing Out in a Crowd

VMware_Rick Jackson_2009_crop

Posted by Rick Jackson
Chief Marketing Officer

When a company grows as rapidly as VMware has, you know there is real value being delivered to customers.  One of the challenges we faced at VMware was how best to articulate our core value proposition, when there were just so many great things to talk about.  This was a classic exercise in defining the Point That Matters, the core reason why your customers buy from you.  (The Point That Matters is a phrase I borrow from Zoom Marketing, our trusted partner during this process.)

This exercise was a combination of examining our own internal view of our value proposition, compared to an external view shared by our customers, partners, and industry analysts, all of which were quite familiar with VMware and its solutions.  Through this exercise, we heard some not so surprising things, but with a few twists that really made us think about our positioning. 

For example, most people immediately think of cost savings as the primary benefit of virtualization.  While cost savings is definitely a factor in driving organizations to initiate a virtualization journey, it was not the pinnacle of value that was obtained.  In fact, those customers that had pursued more aggressive virtualization adoption were most excited by the achievement of flexibility within their IT environments, leading to significantly reduced management time, and dramatic improvements in their responsiveness to business.  In short, they were achieving IT agility, and in turn helping fuel business agility. 

When asked to rank statements related to our value proposition, both customers and prospects believed that the core value proposition was around the duality of achieving a dynamic, and flexible IT environment, while at the same time reducing costs.  This was something they believed to be unique to VMware.  Most importantly, they believed that this was the correct order as well – flexibility over cost savings.  Frankly, we knew this was a benefit, but have traditionally always led with our cost savings message. 

The other important thing we heard is how achieving flexibility and agility within IT really does put IT in a position to better serve the business – to respond to change and opportunity that can fuel growth.  In essence, they were better positioned to be a strategic partner to the business. 

The problem now was how to articulate a core set of messages around this point that matters, that doesn’t sound like every other IT vendor.  Take a quick browse around some websites, and you’ll find a common theme – everyone seems to promise dynamic, flexible, adaptive, on-demand, solutions for IT.  Hmmm. 

One of the things that stood out to Zoom Marketing during this process was how energetic VMware’s employees, customers and partners were.  During interviews that should typically last 30 minutes, our ecosystem wanted to keep on talking, typically an hour or more.  There was true excitement about the value they were seeing, and in the promise of VMware’s vision for bridging existing IT environments into the era of cloud computing.  This gave us an idea, a way to encapsulate the value proposition of our solutions, with the value that an agile IT environment provides to the business:

Energize the business through IT, while saving energy – financial, human and the earth’s.

The whole point of IT is to fuel the business.  So the whole point of achieving a more dynamic and flexible IT infrastructure is to be more adept at fueling that business, or as we like to say, energizing the business.  But the duality of our core value proposition cannot be ignored.  Our customers talk about real savings, in 3 categories:

  • Optimizing Financial Energy – doing more with less.  Significant capex savings. Greater efficiencies in server, storage and networking. Saving financial resources to apply to the needs of the business.

  • Shifting Human Energy – shift from serving hardware, to serving the business.  Dramatic reduction in manual tasks, and management time.  Simplified operations, supplemented with automation.

  • Saving Earth’s Energy – using less, and using it more wisely.  Doing their part to reduce energy consumption and their respective carbon footprint.

The words are ours, the sentiment belongs to our customers.  What a great opportunity to learn from them, and be in a position to echo their sentiment.

VMware, HP’s Converged Infrastructure, and the Private Cloud

Steve_Herrod Posted by Steve Herrod
Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of R&D

This week HP introduced their
Converged Infrastructure Architecture, which is appropriately described as “a
blueprint for chief information officers to create elasticity in their
technology environments.” This blueprint unlocks currently siloed datacenter
resources (including compute, storage and network components) and, with the
help of virtualization, integrates them into a pool of very fluid resources
that can be smartly and safely allocated to the applications running on top.

Put another way, HP has unveiled a template that helps customers easily
build what many are now calling a “private cloud.” The general idea of a
private cloud is to bring many of the good traits associated with today’s
public cloud vendors (e.g. elasticity, efficiency, self-service, and
usage-based resource charges) to a company-owned and operated
datacenter—where IT is often more comfortable with their ability to meet
performance, availability, and compliance requirements.

VMware vSphere™ was explicitly designed for
building the private cloud, and HP BladeSystem Matrix’s out-of-box experience
and well-integrated management will help customers more quickly and more easily
realize the full capabilities of VMware vSphere. What’s more, even as customers
reap the benefits of their private cloud, they’re also laying the foundation to
leveraging public cloud resources. Virtual machines are well-encapsulated and
largely location independent. Working with HP, we can offer tools and a
complete portfolio of services that help customers continue to maintain the
control and security they have in their datacenters as they begin to leverage
resources in the public cloud. The resulting “hybrid” cloud is depicted below.

Image001

Infrastructure and application management in this new world is
incredibly important, too, and HP’s capabilities integrate quite well with
VMware vCenter™ to push the envelope on this front. I particularly like the
integration work HP has done to bring their Insight software capabilities into
VMware vCenter. You have to register to see it, but there’s a great
demonstration of this at minute 62 of the VMworld 2009 general
session
.

I’ll stop here in the interest of keeping this blog short, but I did
just want to highlight again the excitement I have over holistic solutions
built for the fully virtualized datacenter that help enable the promise of the
private cloud.  If you would like
to see and hear a lot more about VMware and HP’s Converged Infrastructure,
be sure to also check out the video
from Bogomil Balkansky
, VMware’s VP of Server Product Marketing.