As I previously reported, I had a productive meeting with Sage regarding their rebranding strategy. I know some forums on LinkedIn are showing frustration that Sage is not more forthcoming with their strategy. Bottom line appears to be that they are still developing that strategy and thus are not able to release details at this time.
However, from this and other discussions with Sage I can summarize some basic points and assumptions.
1) Sage is going to do a rebranding of their product lines to de-emphasize the product brands and focus on the Sage brand.
2) Sage is focusing on a numbering scheme that is similar to their brands in Europe. I can conclude that this will accomplish #1 and their desire to develop the same brand awareness they have in Europe in North America. (It worked there – it will work here. That’s the theory.)
3) Sage initially intends to call their intro ERP brands (Simply, Peachtree) Sage 50; their MAS 90 brand Sage 100; their Accpac brand Sage 300; their MAS 500 brand Sage 500.
4) This will happen over the next 18 months.
I am resigned to the fact that Sage has the right too and is going to rebrand their products. I understand their purpose. I still question if their approach will achieve the desired results.
In the spirit of assisting Sage develop a numbering scheme that adds value to the product brand I have communicated some recommendations. But first some background.
1) Sage 50 / Sage 100 in Europe reportedly got those names from a guideline of the number of employees that a company would have to utilize the products. Ex: Companies with less than 50 employees would be recommended Sage 50; Companies with 50-100 employees Sage 100, etc.
2) In the USA MAS 90 was “Master Accounting series of the 90’s” which was a good name in 1987 when released and even through most of the 1990’s. However, the name became outdated and it needed a rebranding as we moved into the 21st century. MAS 200 and MAS500 were just numbers to show it was a “Bigger – Better” product for larger companies.
Now some comments on the numbering scheme – if we have to have numbers.
1) If Sage is going to use numbers, then I recommend that they all have the same number of digits. Ex: 3 – 100, 300, 500 series product lines.
2) 50 really has no relevance today to the initial name scheme in Europe. 50 also seems demeaning to the product line. My recommendation is to use 100 series as the numbering scheme for the Small Business line.
3) Then there are those useless zeros. If all the products end in ‘00’, those numbers just take up space and add no value. How about we use those place holders for something of value.
4) Example on a way to add value with those numbers:
- The first number indicated the Business Class 1=Small business, 3=Mid Market, 5=Small Enterprise, etc.
- The second number could be the Type of Product 0=Local ERP; 2= Construction, 3=Nonprofit, 4=healthcare, 5=international, 6=CRM, etc
- i. Thus MAS 90 would be Sage 300 and Accpac would be Sage 350 This shows them both as a Mid market product with Accpac having international capabilities vs. MAS 90 being a local North American product.
- ii. Simply would be Sage 150 with Peachtree being Sage 100, instead of both of them being called Sage 50, which still makes no sense to me.
So, Sage has the right to change their brand. I appreciate the opportunity to be included in the conversation. However, if we are going to have “numbers” in the brand, let’s have numbers that add value, solidify market position and clarify how the product mix is focused in the market place.
Thanks for listening. Tell me what you think.