Why the Joomla brand needs more focus

think-differentBuilding a strong brand has a lot to do with being unique. And it's about positioning your brand so the audience knows who you are and what you stand for.

There are many shoe manufacturers out there, but Nike stands out because they "just do it". Apple sets itself apart from other companies by being extremely innovative and actually creating new product segments (the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad - need I say more?). Apple used the slogan Think different for a number of years.

A Content Management System in itself is not anything unique. There are many CMS out there, and quite a few of them have a lot going for them. How do they set themselves apart from the crowd? What do their brands stand for? In this post, I take a look at how three other CMS present themselves and how Joomla compares.

Without having used any of them before, I will look at three CMS projects and how they present themselves to potential users: Drupal, WordPress and Concrete5.


The mastodont CMS Drupal presents itself on its front page as follows:

Drupal is the platform powering your favorite musician's web site.

That's kinda cool, right? It sets the tone right from the beginning. Drupal sets out to differentiate itself by being cool. Much in the same way Apple did, they try to show their coolness by showing who's using their products - in this case, your favorite musician.

Actually, since I started writing this post, the Drupal guys have changed their slogan a bit. But they stil focus on the save values. It's not about the product itself, but about what it will enable you to accomplish.

This is the one they used a week or so ago:

Drupal gives individuals the power and freedom to create unique spaces on the web.

So it's about you. It's about your power to create your own world on the web. That's freedom, and we all want that, right? This slogan is about benefit to you, not features or price or other concrete factors.



The blogging tool, CMS wanna-be WordPress, has a focus on blogging in their slogan. Not surprisingly, the slogan of WordPress is:

Express yourself. Start a blog.

Although WordPress might not be a fully fledged CMS, it still covers a lot of the same market that Joomla does.

Their slogan encourages you as an individual to express your own thoughts by starting a blog. So again, it's about freedom of the individual, power in the hands of you as a blogger and web publisher.

It's simple, it's about you and it's actionable.



Another CMS - Concrete5 presents itself like this:

CMS made for Marketing but built for Geeks

They also add the following statement:

Concrete5 is a content management system that is free and open source."

By using this slogan, Concrete5 aims at marketing people as their target group. At the same time, it says the system is built for geeks. To me, that means it's not as easy to use as WordPress. I find the slogan a bit conflicting, but it's still quite short and tries to communicate who it's for and some of the benefits.


How about Joomla?

So how does Joomla present itself? Let's take a look at the latest version of the Joomla homepage. At the top, you'll see a banner for Joomla 1.6, selling this new version of our favorite CMS:

Get MORE: ACL, SEO, Speed, Power, Control, Options
Joomla is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) and application framework that powers 2.7% of the entire web. With a vibrant volunteer community, user-friendly features and plenty of power, Joomla is perfect for your site!

From a marketing view-point, this message is quite unfocused.

  • It says something about features (ACL, SEO, Speed, Power, Control, Options)
  • It says something about price (Joomla is a free, open-source content management system)
  • It says something about adoption ("...that powers 2.7% of the entire web")
  • It says something about the community ("With a vibrant volunteer community")
  • It says more about the features ("user-friendly features and plenty of power")
  • Finally, it attempts to sell Joomla to you by telling you "...it's perfect for your site"

That's six messages! The competition uses one or two.


It's about benefits, not features

I read an interesting post over at usabilitypost.com about why nobody uses Opera (you know, the browser...). They have kind of the same challenges as Joomla. They have a great browser. It's fast, it's innovative, it's standards compliant. But it doesn't gain the traction that Firefox or Google Chrome as gained in the last years. It's all in how they communicate benefits.

In the post, the author states:

Why are Firefox and Chrome eating away at Internet Explorer, while Opera is staying pretty much where it always was. It’s not that Opera is lagging behind development wise—new versions are coming out all the time. So what is it? Chrome and Firefox just have something that Opera doesn’t.

It’s all to do with brand positioning. Chrome is the fastest browser. It’s also the simplest. Google’s brand positioning is simplicity and speed, and they’ve made sure their offering is the leader in both. Firefox? The most customizable browser. Again, it’s a leader. If I want the most customizable browser, Firefox would be my first choice.

Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera? There’s nothing that comes to mind. IE and Safari are the “default” browsers on their respective operating systems. They don’t really try to differentiate themselves, although Apple (and Microsoft) have been advertising speed and standards compliance lately. Speed is easily tested however (and irrelevant if you’re not the leader), and standards compliance doesn’t matter so much since all modern browsers tend to render most sites just fine.

Brand positioning

For Joomla too, it's also about brand positioning. What are the most obvious benefits of Joomla?
And I'm not talking about features like ACL or nested categories. I'm talking about benefits to your as a Joomla user. Day-to-day benefits that makes your life easier.

That's what we need to be clear about. In my opinion, that's what the Joomla project needs to focus on marketing-wise in the time to come.

Because open source matters

As I mentioned in my post about Open Source Matters and the Joomla brand, I think the "because open source matters" slogan is kinda old. Yes, open source does matter. But the slogan is not connecting with me. I'm not drawn into it and want to use Joomla because of it. It's too generic and I guess that's why it's slowly being phased out.

Benefits of using Joomla

I find there are several benefits to using Joomla:

  • An active, international community
  • Extendable and flexible framework
  • Internationalization - ie Joomla is available in your language
  • Huge selection of extensions and templates
  • It's free
  • It's open source

Also, a unique feature about the Joomla project is that it's owned by a non-profit, not by a corporate entity.

In my opinion, we need to look at a different way of presenting Joomla. Think of it as an elevator pitch for Joomla.

Simply, what do you say when asked what Joomla is?

Here are some suggestions for how Joomla could be presented in one, condensed sentence:

Joomla is a content management system that lets you create uniquely customized websites in your own language - backed by a worldwide community.

Joomla is an international community working together to create a powerful content management system

Joomla is a free, open source content management system created and supported by a worldwide community

Have any suggestions for how we can focus the Joomla message? Please share in the comments below!

Read 9239 times Originally published on Monday, 21 February 2011 13:00
Last modified on Sunday, 20 February 2011 21:05
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