The great Flash brand dilemma

I was speaking with a colleague last week about the amazing work that Air for Mobile facilitates, and we both agreed that with the battering the Flash brand has taken recently, it might be time for a bit of a rebranding exercise at Adobe.

Here’s my thoughts on the matter. I’m aware of the multitude of inputs into a branding strategy, so I’m going to take a step into the inner workings and decisions that need to be made at the beginning of a project.

It’s very simple really. The Flash name is extraordinarily pervasive. It’s just that it’s got a bad wrap in certain circles. But rather than diluting the brand by sharing the kudos with Air, I suggest the following re-naming of the three core Flash products:

Air for Mobile becomes Flash for Mobile
Air for Desktop becomes Flash for Desktop
Flash for the browser becomes (wait for it) Flash for Browser

At the moment, stake holders are scared off by the Flash name because they associate it with not working on Mobile platforms. Fooey to that I say, instead of diluting the Flash branding, why not elevate it for what it is? Flash powers Mobile, Desktop and the Browser, so why not use the word Flash to let everyone know this is the case?

The discussion often comes down to this, “Flash doesn’t work on mobile does it?”. And the answer at the moment comes, “No but Air does”. This conversation is essentially a negative one for the Flash brand as a whole. Instead the answer could be, “Yes, of course Flash for Mobile works on mobile devices”. It’s a simple difference semantically, but would make a big difference to the mindset of those involved in choosing which technology to utilise for their project.

What do others think? Would this create more issues, or help to put the Flash brand back on track?

I realise there’s the Flash projector which may not fit into the naming strategy above, as technically it’s Flash and not Air – any thoughts on how that might fit into one of the three categories?

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7 comments on “The great Flash brand dilemma
  1. Georges says:

    I am replacing all Flash with AIR, basically the opposite of what you’re suggesting, and I am increasingly getting more and more clients going for cross platform Mobile with AIR.

    Surprisingly, AIR is doing a strong come back in the Mobile arena.

  2. Mark Fuqua says:

    I see the logic, however I believe the negative connotations associated with the word Flash, make Adobe Air an easier sell…though your labeling would be great for anyone who likes Flash as it conveys the current reality well.

  3. The projector is not used a lot now that AIR added a few nice thing to wrap our dear swf files. You could call it Flash for the oldschool.
    And what about browser flash player for Android?… Or the integrated Flash player for Metro? ^^’

  4. I did think about the Metro Flash player after writing this post, and I presume it’s still working in a browser so would fall into the Flash for Browser category. Same with Flash on the Android (which has been abandoned now, so is less of a concern)

  5. Joseph says:

    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the article, and sharing your thoughts. I think Flash has a lot of bad connotations since Jobs “thoughts on Flash”, and as clients tend to see developers pushing for flash, they become weary.

    I still think AIR should replace all where Flash is. It’s just the word that changes, deep down we know how great, diverse, richly skinned, modularized, OO, and simply joyful to develop in. It’s just the bad connotations it’s received a few years ago.

    Not to mention, even Adobe shot itself in the foot by so publicly dropping the flash player for mobiles.

  6. Judah says:

    Or when offering what technology to use say, “Do you want Flash for Mobile (captive runtime)” or “AIR for Mobile”. HTML5 is not an option unless your game is the slow game.

    • Judah says:

      In all seriousness, Adobe had discussed this dilemma which is why they renamed Flex Builder to Flash Builder. Flash is already used for 5 things. Fire Adobe PR.

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