Corporate branding: The Bloomberg B-Unit

August 3, 2007 § Leave a comment

I’ve written a little about corporate branding in the past, but I recently stumbled upon a real gem. The Bloomberg B-Unit.

The BLOOMBERG B-UNIT™ is a state-of-the-art biometric security device that provides BLOOMBERG ANYWHERE™ subscribers with enhanced identity protection and gives access to the BLOOMBERG PROFESSIONAL service.

How awesome is that. A state-of-the-art biometric security device to see commodity prices? What about logins and passwords? Or if you want to get really crazy, digital tokens? This thing is pure branding, and I’m sure it works. Give a B-Unit to a commodities trader and he’ll instantly think more highly of the info he accesses with it.

Bloomberg B-Unit

Bloomberg is not new to the corporate branding game, and in some ways they may have even fallen prey to being too progressive with corporate branding…if such a thing is possible. Bloomberg terminals have rocked the colored keyboard since the company’s founding in the early ’80s. They’ve stuck with it, and to this day Bloomberg keyboards are lit up like Christmas trees. Meanwhile in 2007, no one else on the planet needs a colored keyboard except your kid cousin that is learning to play their new synthesizer. Not even the craziest ninja programmers need colored keys to keep their heads straight. But bond traders? They need a colored keyboards “to save time”. I’m sure the colored keyboard was the coolest thing since sliced bread when it hit the market in ’82…and the cutting edge bond traders that started using them back then still want the colored keys today. And get this…some of the keyboards even have thumbprint sensors too:

The BLOOMBERG® keyboard conserves desk space while providing extra functionality and it empowers the user with time-saving, customized keys. The integrated sensor utilizing biometric technology provides an added level of security.

Of course at the end of the day, the Bloomberg hardware and UI may look ridiculous, but they’re still able to charge $1,500 a month per user.  However, that’s a huge pricetag to be paying for data.  If I were Bloomberg I would ditch the colored keyboard, grab as many of those fat fees as you can, and keep on the lookout for competition moving in on your turf.

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