Brand v/s Product : Skype - The Silent Giant

Everyone keeps talking about Facebook, and how it is growing. Though a lot of the talk is also about its lousy privacy setting changes and all that.

Recently I came across an article that Skype is bigger than Facebook.

Facebook has a big habit of going around reminding everyone that it has cracked the 400 million registered accounts benchmark. (they say “users”, and I say “registered accounts” because I know numerous people who have more than one account for reasons such as forgetting their original login information) But over at Skype they might snicker at that number as the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service has bypassed 560 million accounts. Read More.

That got me thinking, about Skype. Recently I have started my own digital media company along with a friend in Hyderabad. The last time I met this friend it was about 3 years ago. We kept in touch via phone, but obviously for company planning phone talks become too expensive. So we have switched to Skype!

And.. its very cool, their color theme (sky blue!), service, features, user interface. All in all creates a very good product! This article however made me think of its marketing side. As the article mentions,

Skype and Facebook are very different creatures, but it’s interesting to see how large a company that provides an actually useful service can get bigger than one who’s apparent key reasons for existing are for you to share embarrassing photos of yourself and tend a virtual farm. Skype has also not felt a need to try to weasel its way into every corner of the Web with questionable tools that track your movement from site-to-site, or manipulate your profile because you click a “Like” button somewhere. Skype just exists. If you choose to use it, great, but if you don’t, they aren’t in your face about it.

This made me think that these are the aspects that make a 'Brand'. The aggressiveness in marketing campaigns or lack of it, whether they are pushy, do they provide value or do they play to people ego's, have they copied other services or are they original etc...

This is important, cause even though I use Facebook more than Skype I think FB is crappy. Someday if there is some other alternative I would gladly shift.
To change Skype I need too much reason. Only if another product is much better or some such would I change to that.

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