Rebranding – to the faintly ridiculous…

Today I received this email from IBM:

Early in 2012, IBM announced rebranding of our service, from LotusLive to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business. This quarter, we are announcing the next phase of the rebranding — changing the service domain itself. From: *.lotuslive.com To: *.collabserv.com

IBM will implement this change using an automated redirect from the old domain to the new domain for most Web-based access methods. So customers will still be able to access the service using www.lotuslive.com. They can expect to see it redirect in the browser address bar.

So, from an instantly recognisable and understandable ‘lotuslive.com’ to the truncated and unrelated ‘collabserv.com’.  All a year after a switch from ‘LotusLive’ to the brand ‘IBM Smartcloud for Social Business’.  I’m sorry, but I am aghast.

As one of the original design partners for LotusLive (I was a beta tester for ‘BlueHouse’ and recorded this case study following our use of LotusLive in its first year), I really want this service to stand tall and fight against Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365 and the others.  It clearly has the technology, the development resources and even the low cost per user to do so.

It just needs a brand, a domain, a straightforward payment structure and the marketing and advertising to make it a really player in the market!

Come on IBM, pick a new domain that resounds for users (how about purchasing ‘engage.com’?), make the branding match (‘IBM Engage’) and then go tell the world about it!

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!