What's in a name for Intel?

Intel is about to shift its product branding

I think everyone can agree that Intel has a tad too many product brand names between its processors and the platforms that go along with them. Now it’s getting ready to do something about it. Company spokespeople have begun telling the press that Intel will simplify its product branding early next year.

Intel's many brand names are confusing for most. The line of thinking goes something like, "Do I want VIIV? (Do I even know what VIIV is?) Or to I want Core 2 Duo? What about Centrino? And what happened to Pentium?"

Of course the answer is that Intel wants you to buy both Core 2 and VIIV. But the numerous brand names take the focus away from what Intel really wants (and needs) computer buyers to do. That is buy a model that has Intel inside. Thus, according to what Intel spokespeople have said, the company will begin slimming down the number of choices. Essentially it will ask, "Do you want Centrino or Centrino Pro? Do you want Core or do you want Core?"

There’s still a problem in that you have to understand what Core is. But that should take care of itself as Intel begins to assert the Core processor brand name, particularly on the desktop side, while somewhat downplaying its VIIV consumer and vPro enterprise brand names. It should be no surprise that Intel will continue to tout Centrino for notebooks. But it will reduce its current crop of five Centrino brand variants to two: Centrino for consumers and Centrino Pro for businesses.

Intel will turn to its marketing engine to get the word out. But that, too, has changed. Intel's marketing engine has shifted some of its emphasis from television to the Web. (I kind of like the interactive Web ad where the dog eats the mouse pointer.) And it has changed the approach of its television ads. The gyrating Core 2 Duo commercials have been eliminated in favor of a new campaign that actually show chips versus looking like some kind of fashion show on fast forward.

It’s about time Intel got back to the point. Indeed, what it all boils down to is, “Here is our chip, please buy it."