Avid Talks Digidesign Pro Tools Rebranding

By Mel Lambert. New York (April 7, 2010)--The rebranding that Avid unveiled just over a year ago reaches an important milestone on April 12 with the formal unveiling of a new Pro Tools presence on the company website. The move, and resultant deletion of the Digidesign name, represents a major step in the company’s overall strategy to unite five-previously disparate companies - Avid, Digidesign M-Audio, Pinnacle and Sibelius - under a single brand.
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By Mel Lambert.

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New York (April 7, 2010)--The rebranding that Avid unveiled just over a year ago reaches an important milestone on April 12 with the formal unveiling of a new Pro Tools presence on the company website. The move, and resultant deletion of the Digidesign name, represents a major step in the company’s overall strategy to unite five-previously disparate companies - Avid, Digidesign M-Audio, Pinnacle and Sibelius - under a single brand.

The Pro Tools product line is now named Avid Pro Tools. The new English-language site will be followed with replicate sites in French, German and Spanish, in addition to Japanese and simple Chinese. In the near future, the currently independent M-Audio and Sibelius sites also will move, like digidesign.com, to the new avid.com presence.

The horizontal-branding rationale is logical; many customers own products from multiple Avid companies, making one centralized, unified website a more convenient option. Other benefits will include simplified product registration, a single log-in ID plus a one-stop source for product information support and downloads. Avid reasons that in today’s changing production environment, it no longer makes sense to maintain separate brands; it is also impractical, the company argues, to implement multiple marketing teams, websites, newsletters and separate methods for communicating with customers. The new brand strategy will combine all business activities under the single Avid name and website presence, with five end-user segments: Retail, Professional, Post, Enterprise and Education.

The rebranding strategy “underscores the synergy between production tools that are being grouped together to offer more efficient and more versatile solutions,” says Avid segment marketing director Adam Castillo. “It will also allow Avid to offer new systems that are customer-centric, rather that product-centric.” Design teams have been tasked to focus on four complementary markets: Independent Production, Post Production, Retail and Broadcast, “and to develop audio and video products that directly address our customer’s requirements,” Castillo says.

Avid reports that the majority of users identify with product names, such as Pro Tools, Venue and Icon, rather than component companies or product lines. “It is definitely a paradigm shift,” confirms Avid audio product management director Max Gutnik. “By moving Pro Tools [marketing effort] towards a customer- and solution-driven strategy, we can take advantage of expertise from our other brands, and ensure that Pro Tools users benefit from a broad-based development strategy.” The core Digidesign audio team will remain in Daly City, CA.

The company recognizes that customers have changing creative requirements. “In high-end post, for example,” Gutnik continues, “many of our customers are looking to fully integrate audio with video, allowing a video editor to make dialog changes, or reconform audio against cut picture. We are investigating new solutions that directly address our customers’ work-flow requirements.”

In terms of synergy between component Avid brands, the product manager cites several specific instances. “Our interoperability between Avid editing systems like Media Composer and Pro Tools will be more formalized,” Gutnik says. “Combining forces across all our product lines has provided more resources for Pro Tools’ R&D department, thereby streamlining product development.

“The New Avid offers unique opportunities for developers and customer alike. Pro Tools has a huge ecosystem of development partners that can now access design teams working across brand boundaries, to explore important opportunities. If audio plug-in developers, for example, can be seen to be adding value to the video brands, then we encourage such strategic alliances.”

Former magazine editor Mel Lambert currently heads up Media&Marketing, a full-service consulting service for pro-audio firms and facilities. www.mel-lambert.com

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