[Foundation-l] Rethinking brands

Sebastian Moleski sebmol at gmail.com
Wed May 9 11:49:53 UTC 2007

On 5/9/07, Yann Forget <yann at forget-me.net> wrote:
> What make you think that "each of our 'products' target the same
> people"? I think that we are going the wrong way here. And this proposal
> confuses a search for readers with a search for contributors.
> Each of our 'products' has a specific audience, and people looking for
> textbooks or pictures do not necessarly look for encyclopedia content,
> and vice versa. People willing to share their pictures or to publish
> existing texts do not have the same objective as those willing to write
> an encyclopedia. I think we need to do the exact opposite: differentiate
> more each of our projects, so that each gets its specific audience.

That's what I was hinting at as well. Wikisource doesn't have the same
target audience in regards to use or contribution as Wikipedia. If that's
not obvious to some, think about what input is necessary to create content
in Wikipedia versus one in Wikisource. And also think what Wikipedia content
is used for versus what Wikisource content is used for.

Beside, we should not think in terms of commercial products for our
> projects. We have no deadline, no profits to make, no balance to adjust.
> Why do people come to our projects? Not because we have a big brand, not
> because they see an ad. They come because our content is free as a beer
> and free as a speech. Rather than a brand, that the message we need to
> spread out: Wikimedia is the greatest (and biggest) free project on the
> planet.

There, you've lost me. Brands don't need to be commercial to exist. In that
I agree with Erik. Wikisource, Commons, Wikipedia et al. are brands. They
have a value and an identity, the extent of which however differs wildly
between Wikipedia and the other projects.

As you even said yourself though, we have to differentiate between users and
contributors. These are different roles with different interests, needs and
motivations even if often they may be filled by the same people. To
contributors, Wikimedia as an organization and a cause may be very important
thus internal communication should recognize and advance that. To users, the
foundation is largely irrelevant and there's no real need to change that.
For users, what matters is what they get out of the projects and what they
can use it for.

Of course, this is all conjecture and just my personal perspective on
things. When we're talking about brands, products, positioning, etc. it
would really help to engange in some of the activities marketing departments
at larger organizations cover. That is, actually identifying what roles
people who interact with the projects fill, what interests and needs they
have, what they know and don't know, etc. This of course calls for
professional assistance from people experienced in the field, something
Wikimedia should be able to tap.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list