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National Instruments is now NI - Thoughts

Active Participant

Hello Change-embracers and deniers,

For those who don't know me, I'm not a loyal NI brand advocate. NI is a supplier to my company and they make some products that I really love (LabVIEW and cRIO are my current favourites). Over the years of running a business I've learnt that marketing is important and marketing to engineers is quite difficult. Marketing to engineers across the world is even harder! I'm therefore going to quickly summarise my opinions on the new look NI with the caveat that my opinions don't matter, I'm not the target audience here.

 

1) Logo--> It's OK and I'm glad they got rid of the eagle, it means it will difficult to convert into a mascot and that's great for me as I was always a bit scared of that bloody great eagle that haunted NIWeek.

2) Colour Scheme--> I like the green personally, but it's not going to affect any of my buying decisions in the future.

3) Website changes--> I think the front page looks great. Hopefully some of the budget will be spent on User Experience too.

4) Messaging--> to me this is the most important thing and something I'm actually enthused about.

 

Messaging

This article is not about repeating NIs messaging or marketing material, it's about how it made me feel.....

 

The simplest part first, I liked that they used NI staff and customers in the videos and presentations, rather than stock photos. It emphasised inclusiveness and that was nice.

 

What I took away from it was that NI recognised that collaboration with all stakeholders was the key direction for their business to go and this was an outward looking message. I liked that looking outward was so foundational to the messaging, because when NI does this it is an exceptional company to do business with.

 

In some ways I thought the target for this messaging was more for NI themselves than the rest of us.

 

It will be interesting to see how this develops in the future, marketing fluff or actual substance. I'm optimistic that there is real substance here.

 

Lots of Love

Steve


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Nice summary Steve.

Leading up to this rebranding NI were suggesting that something big was going to be revealed on 16th June. Maybe I misunderstood the communications from NI but I was thinking some announcement that LabVIEW would integrate with some industry leading application or some new hardware that will revolutionise the test and measurement industry. I guess we already have a very powerful platform to build on so I'm not really disappointed but after spending half an hour watching the webcast I'm left wondering what I just sat through and how this will benefit me.

Maybe I'm not part of the target audience for this as I just want to get stuff done in the simplest way possible, LabVIEW and NI hardware already does this. When I've needed support from NI, they have been there. Hopefully this will continue.

 

Steve Swindley (CLA since Feb 2008)
GCentral
Knight of NI

Steve,

 

     Thanks, I needed that!  Maybe I've been in Academia too long (Ivory-Tower-itis), but what you said made a lot of sense.  When I viewed the video, I, at first, thought "Oh, no, another Marketing Show like happens at NI Week -- oops, maybe this will be the Marketing Show that they didn't get to do at NI Week!", but it was clearly pitched in a more customer-centric way.  I'm still trying to get my head around "Engineer Ambitiously" (I keep trying to read it as "Engineer Ambiguously"), but Slogans can change ...

 

Bob Schor

Active Participant

Hey Steve,

Thank you for sharing your toughts !

 

IMO, I totally agree with @Swinders ! For more than 2 months, we were looking at the countdown to discover how NI was about to REDEFINE engineering. I was expecting a disruptive technical approach to engineering. Because, hey, in my mind engineering is something technical, or at least close-to-technique.

And.... the REDEFINITION is changing the logo and the colors.... To me, it is like being promised to go to Disney World and finally discover we are at a school fair.

 

But hey, who said you can't have fun at a school fair ? So here is my analysis about it :

 

1) The logo : at first I didn't understand it. Where is the force in that logo ? How is it recognizable ? It seemed plain to me. But my wife (who's not an engineer and far from NI world) told me : 'Hey, it makes think of Tetris ! Parts assemble !'. Dow ! She's right, it reminds that NI is the 'LEGO-like company of instrumentation'. But ... really ? In my mind, I tought about NI like a LEGO solution 20-years ago. Haven't we evolve in that vision ? These last years I completly forgot about that LEGO association. And it was fine, because we're not playing with child toys here... That image was so fogotten in my mind that last time I tought about it is when DataflowG (look on Twitter) actually built PXI chassis with LEGO pieces.

Are we really back to that ?

It is like thinking about LabVIEW as a lab software... It has become really more than that !

 

2) Color : First you change the logo, then the color... Ok, but what does that green means exactly. If you change it, there is a purpose behind that. Still did not found about it.

Moreover, when you are re-inventing a solution already in place, you try not to mess up with users habits. At least, that's what we do when redesigning an already existing software : we try not to change too much the HMI. Otherwise, you loose users confidence and you end up with 'it was better before'. Maybe I'm getting old, but I feel lost. I won't say that 'it was better before', but... I don't know, I feel lost !

 

3) website: it looks like a blog ! One of my colleague tought that the website was hacked ! But no, not hacked, just polished... too much polished IMO. It is a tech company ! I want to see technologies up front !

But if, at the end, it becomes more performant, I'll live with that. To me, the website needed improvement for sure. So let's see if it will work better in a near future !

 

4) Messaging : Ok I buy it ! I'm excited to see what will come from it and if the promise is not only a marketing operation !

 

To summarize, the redefintion is not what I expected. I do not fully understand the rebranding and the message behind that.

But I've great expectation about it and hope that it will serve the engineers around the world !

CLA, CTA

View Cyril Gambini's profile on LinkedIn
Active Participant

"At least, that's what we do when redesigning an already existing software : we try not to change too much the HMI. Otherwise, you loose users confidence and you end up with 'it was better before'. "

 

Have you seen NXG?

 

"3) website: it looks like a blog ! One of my colleague tought that the website was hacked ! But no, not hacked, just polished... too much polished IMO. It is a tech company ! I want to see technologies up front !

But if, at the end, it becomes more performant, I'll live with that. To me, the website needed improvement for sure. So let's see if it will work better in a near future !"

 

They changed the front page but the part of the website that really needed updated were the hardware advisors. I go there not to read blogposts but to buy hardware. That experience hasn't changed. Still crappy.

 

 

Sam Taggart
CLA, CPI, CTD, LabVIEW Champion
DQMH Trusted Advisor
automatedenver.com
GCentral
Active Participant

Hi Sam,

 

"Have you seen NXG?"

 

Yes I did ! I tested each of the 5 versions. And I've been disappointed 5 times.

I've got the same feeling with NXG than with the website. Too much change at once, some (most ?) of the changes are not an improvement.

At the end, NXG code seems to me more difficult to read. Too much polished I'd say (big icons, all flat in color, small indicator/control nodes that are not well distinguishable (even confusable with constants)).

Programming with NXG (a professional app I mean) is a pain. And even for 'easy' programs, I can't use it. Still missing basic functionnalities that are required for apps that we sell.

If it defines that direction that NI's taking for every new stuffs, then I don't like it. I'll have to follow, but not afraid to say that I don't like it.

 

 

"They changed the front page but the part of the website that really needed updated were the hardware advisors. I go there not to read blogposts but to buy hardware. That experience hasn't changed. Still crappy."

 

You can't imagine how far I agree with you ! But they said that the website update is not finished yet, so I hope that the HW/SW advisors (or at least buying / searching for tech answers) will be greatly improved.

But, IMO, they should have begin with improving that specific experience, instead of redesigning the front page. 90% of thet front page is not related to NI core business...

CLA, CTA

View Cyril Gambini's profile on LinkedIn
Member

Prior to the rebrand, I had seen it hinted at in various places online, so it wasn't a total surprise.

 

The eagle will be missed. It was a great piece of graphic design, and had associations of speed, power, agility, etc. It's also a very US-centric symbol which NI wants to move away from in a more global market, so I can understand its removal.

 

The green. For the logo, it's ok. It's symbolism is obvious - new, fresh, environmentally conscious, etc. I think the shades of green used across the website are a bit too much though, so much so I made a custom style to make links etc blue again. Not because I don't like the new branding, but to help improve navigation and reduce eye strain.

 


@CyGa wrote:

That image was so fogotten in my mind that last time I tought about it is when DataflowG (look on Twitter) actually built PXI chassis with LEGO pieces.


Link for those curious. Bonus rebrand pic:

NI-logo-new-cropped.png