As a former Madison Avenue adman and business school professor teaching marketing strategy, I have always been fascinated with naming. I am perplexed by Microsoft’s decision to maintain the name Bing in conjunction with its partnership with OpenAI.
It’s no secret that search engines are a ubiquitous part of our lives, but for many millennials and members of Gen Z, the name “Bing” rings few bells. Over the years, I’ve polled hundreds of students on their awareness of Bing as a search option and usage patterns. The results show that a striking majority have limited familiarity with the brand.
Here are three reasons why Microsoft should change the name, Bing:
- Reflects new capabilities: Integrating OpenAI technology into Bing is a significant step forward. Changing the name would help showcase this and position the search engine as a leader in the field.
- Differentiation from competitors: By changing the name, Microsoft could create a unique brand identity that sets it apart from other search engines and establishes a clear differentiation.
- Bing and the Edge browser: Both are associated with failed products, as demonstrated by the meager market share of search and web browsers.
This is a prime opportunity for Microsoft to showcase its innovative technology to the world without the constraints of a name that has not been associated with success in the search industry. In particular, the lack of recognition of “Bing” among millennials and Gen Z, and given Bing’s low market share, and perhaps to those outside of these demographics, highlights the need for a fresh start, a new name, and a new approach to promoting Microsoft’s cutting-edge technology. According to eMarketer, “ChatGPT has buzz, but Bing does not, which means Microsoft will have to work from behind to attract new users.”
Is Microsoft squandering a massive opportunity by not renaming Bing?