Microsoft, you may have a new name but you still have the old mindset

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Microsoft 10 is currently in the testing phase and being pushed out with a new browser code named “Spartan” (officially Microsoft Edge). This is being staged as a break away from the much-maligned Internet Explorer brand.

Two AIs diss Microsoft products in an intro for band Steam Powered Giraffe (2014)

When it comes down to it, Microsoft’s problem is perception and this is slowing adoption of innovative products like the well-reviewed Surface tablet.

Wordcloud consisiting of the most used words from blogs about the Microsoft Surface PRO 3. Time is 3 months with a sample size of 2,327.

Wordcloud consisiting of the most used words from blogs about the Microsoft Surface PRO 3. Time is 3 months with a sample size of 2,327.

Microsoft, if innovation hasn’t changed perception, neither will a name change

We asked our Millennial Think Tank participants “When I say Microsoft what do you think?”

The very first response was “vomit,”which was then seconded and even got a third. There is a perception that the brand tries too hard, and sponsors everything it can  in order to be hip.

Microsoft needs a new approach, but changing perception means fundamentally changing your identity. It will take more than an associating the brand with an event or celebrity. Influence is not as powerful as customer alignment. As always we tackle this challenge by beginning with insights.

Microsoft Align with Women and Disrupt

Microsoft, you too are part of the problem in the tech field. You may have infiltrated our offices, but you are still holding on to values which disconnect you from the realities of the workplace.

“That might be one of the initial ‘super powers,’ that quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have … It’s good karma. It will come back…” -CEO Satya Nadella

Your competitors aren’t faring much better with Apple and Google also under fire for their hiring policies.

“We are expanding the pipeline for the next generation of technology leaders through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs like DigiGirlz, Blacks at Microsoft Minority Student Day and our new global Microsoft YouthSpark program.”- CNET, [Microsoft releases diversity stats, says ‘much work’ still to be done].

I have always been chagrined at the way tech companies approach young girls with the presumption that girls aren’t interested and/or you have to make it pink. Your reach may increase by appealing to what tests well, but you do so at the peril of sabotaging the success of kids who are most motivated to learn.

Microsoft is taking action to improve, but I think the company could transform itself by becoming a better champion for women by understanding their psychological needs. Customers are a good place to start. Access to technology is an economically empowering event for women. One of the most important ways this happens is through their gateway to the internet, the browser.

Microsoft, what we know about women

Microsoft, we’ve already established that you need a wake-up call in this arena. This marketing study reveals 5 types of women with different preferences (US), but I spot a few familiar themes.

  1. Women want to be recognized for their successes
  2. They use technology to manage their lives
  3. They use technology to maintain their relationships
  4. They want their use of technology to flow with their routines
  5. Overall they seek balance

This ties closely in with research in psychology referred to as self-determination theory. This framework explains personal motivations for habit change, acknowledging intrinsic and extrinsic factors. It specifically focuses in on the needs of competence, autonomy, and psychological relatedness. These ideas are reflected in the insights above.

Competence – Recognizing achievements of women is deeply connected to their well-being and future success

Autonomy – Women want to be manage their activities and relationships only using the technology they actually need.

Relatedness – It has to be in balance and flow with their daily routine.

Microsoft, ARCOMPANY is here to help you implement a strategy of action based on these insights. Our team has the sensitivity and awareness needed to develop marketing messages around these complex issues. This is what we do best and why we are passionate about our business. The development of the Spartan browser shows that you are ready to change, contact us today to get started.

Photo Credit: jeffwilcox via Compfight cc.

Susan Silver is a community focused strategist who uses social data insights as the foundation of her work with ARCOMPANY. Her philosophy “Humanity in Data” is informed by a background in cognitive-behavioral psychology. She is making positive change in people’s lives, and the world, with thoughtful communication on behalf of her clients.

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