Dave Shea wipes his brow
Mozilla’s release of their new website is actually still pending so any judgement I’ve unleashed at the efforts of Shea and Mozilla’s production team may have been a bit unfair but was done so to point out my concerns on the important issue of branding. The apparent lack of a branding strategy was and still is very worrying to me. Of course I’m not privy to any strategy that Mozilla may have lined up but the release of the beta website seemed to be done as if it were another nightly build and not part of an overall strategy. Furthermore, due to the almost ludicrous deadline Dave Shea was under to deliver some of the goods it seemed very odd to me that they went ahead and released a new batch of upgraded applications and had done very little in the way of consumer orientated communication. I got the feeling that the beta-website and the application upgrades were related due to the timing. Branding helps to create the appropriate perception and if this is anything to go by they’re not off to a very good start.
Mozilla was primarily an open source developer, that is no longer the case. So it is obvious that a new visual design was imminent and Shea has made a strong and a great looking site design. By the time Mozilla has got their branding strategy running at full steam they may need to take another look at their online presence. Stylewise they may not need to change much. Content, tone of voice and functionality are more than likely going to change. The use of webstandards will save a lot of time.
There is one company that comes to mind that has gone through a similar transition. Limewire basically still makes the same software as it did in the beginning. But it now has an image of a (paid) community facilitator rather than a gang of developers hacking some P2P client together. It’s current position is largely due to an overall branding strategy. And like Dave mentions in his latest post this will take time, as it did with Limewire.
Despite my ramblings and disapointments I do believe that they will get it right in the end. Mozilla has such good products on their hands that their loyal users are not going to let them mess it up. We wont hear of it, won’t we guy’s?