[Foundation-l] Rethinking brands

Sebastian Moleski sebmol at gmail.com
Wed May 9 10:07:50 UTC 2007

On 5/9/07, Alison Wheeler <wikimedia at alisonwheeler.com> wrote:
> Editors, unsurprisingly, become somewhat possessive of their efforts (I do
> too!) but if we are serious about wanting to create a 'reference shelf'
> then I believe Eric's post - and the subsequent discussions - have clear
> merit. I believe we do not want not desire the 'other' projects to have a
> separate identity and target audience, we want them to be seen as part of
> a greater whole. And whilst "Wikimedia" was intended to be the title of
> that 'umbrella whole' it is failing to reach the mass audience, instead
> every time one of us talks to the press or gives a talk or writes about
> "Wikimedia" we have to explicitly clarify and link that name to "... the
> people who run Wikipedia ...".

I think this may have something to do with what value and significance one
wants to attribute to the Wikimedia Foundation. Short quiz for all the
Americans on this list: what do Bounty, Dawn, Pringles, Duracell and Lacoste
have in common? If you think those are all strong brand names, then you're
right. But how many would know that they all belong to the same company
(Procter & Gamble)? I would venture a guess that not too many do. Or at
least, to most people, it really doesn't matter. They don't buy the products
because P&G makes them. They buy them because those brands are well known
and they each stand for a certain set of values and a certain identity.

So, in the same vain: does it matter whether people know about the
organization responsible for the operations of Wikipedia, Wikibooks,
Commons, etc.? If Wikimedia's main role is to support the different present
and future projects that share a common cause but different goals and
approaches (and I'd say that's exactly its role), then the "general public"
really doesn't need to know what the foundation is.

I would rather see the projects diversify a little more and become, to the
user, distinct entities that share a vision and, if one digs a bit deeper,
an infrastructure. This approach fits better into the idea that each project
has its own target group of potential users which, in my opinion, doesn't
overlap all that much. In that sense, it's crucial to strengthen the
projects and brands we have rather than making them all appear the same.
They are many practical advantages too but this mail is already long enough.



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