Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Start Windows

Microsoft is pushing "Start" with new Windows Mobile phones, which have been rebranded as Windows Phones. The "Start" concept started with Windows 95 and has continued in various iterations since. Start's role is a big one for Windows Phones, which foreshadows greater emphasis for Windows 7 and Live marketing, I predict.

The last major iteration of the concept came in April 2005, when Microsoft kicked off the 18-month "Start Something" Windows XP ad campaign. The newer Start concept is threefold:

  • Marketing—new Windows Phones promotionals feature Start Windows, with the logo between the words.
  • Software—Windows Mobile 6.5 puts new emphasis on the Start icon.
  • Hardware—Windows Phones will feature a Start button.

I've long advocated that good marketing must be affirmative, empowering and aspirational. People want to know how Product X, Y or Z will make their lives better—why they will be happier for their purchase. The 95-second video embedded below focuses almost wholly on user benefits; Microsoft forgoes the features. Here, here, that's exactly the right approach.

It's a great, ah, start to the video: "Start discovering"; "Start experiencing"; "Start remembering"; "Start succeeding." I'll be watching to see how the Start manifests in Windows and Windows Live marketing. Microsoft is more closely coordinating marketing among the three products.


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