Microsoft "Put People First" Windows Phone 7.5 (IxDA Image)


I tuned into the coverage of the Facebook Home event yesterday and actually had to check my calendar a few times.

Not to see if it was still April Fools Day, but to see if it was somehow still 2011.

Because the content of the presentation was remarkably similar to the launch event we did for Windows Phone two years ago.

— Frank X. Shaw (2013) Welcome to the People Party

The question here is:

Why does the Facebook announcement “The family of apps that puts your friends at the heart of your phone” resonates with people, while Microsoft’s “Put People First” didn’t?

There are of course many reasons, but there’s one clear coming out from the brand perception of the two companies.

Facebook means social. If Facebook puts people on the phone, it really means it.
Microsoft doesn’t mean social. If Microsoft puts people on the phone… it’s a check in a feature list.

Frank in his remark does exactly that: lists the features and tells “we were there first”. The problem is that it doesn’t matter at all. Feature lists work for a very small number of customers, as of now it should be clear in any field. People perceive objects and brands in a specific way and that must be consistent. “Microsoft” with “people” at the center isn’t consistent. “Facebook” is.

Gruber remarks with a similar thing done in the marketing campaign done by Apple vs Microsoft for Windows 95. The big difference is that Apple means – and meant – innovation, and that ad was perfectly in line with the perception of Apple’s brand. Microsoft’s remark isn’t in line with their brand.

(and by the way, “put people first” isn’t how people talk).

Notice even that Facebook’s message is “your new home”, it doesn’t mention anything else. They don’t even have to close the ad with a strong “social” payoff. You already know Facebook is about it.