What’s In a Name?

This blog was written by Allison Cerra, McAfee’s former CMO.

In one of the most iconic self-help books of all time, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie outlines several strategies to earn favor from others. Among them is recognizing that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in any language. I’ll posit a reason: Your name is your first sign of identity to the world. It’s deeply personal. It connotes meaning. Over time and with familiarity, it becomes directly associated with your completely unique essence. In short, names matter.

As a lifelong marketer, I’ve been fascinated with how a company’s brand name can have the same impact. Over time, a strong brand becomes inextricably linked to a company’s identity. The moment you recognize a brand, your experiences and perceptions of that company are resurrected. In the same way your name immediately brings to mind what others who know you already think of you, recognized brands have the same effect for their companies. In short, brands matter.

And so, when we announced that, after six years with Intel Corporation, we would once again strike out on our own as a standalone company, the obvious question arose: What will be our name? We clearly had two choices: Keep the McAfee name, one that had remained part of our brand architecture even through our history with Intel, or lose it and chart a path under a completely new identity. To make the right choice, we had to take an honest assessment of how the name, McAfee, resonated in the market. And, we asked thousands of organizations and consumers around the globe to do just that.

What we found is that McAfee is synonymous with cybersecurity itself. It’s one of the first brands in this dynamic category that has maintained a 30-year history in protecting the digital lifestyles and assets increasingly important to all. That’s a powerful connection that holds true no matter the geography or segment in which we tested it. It’s a linkage that is so prevalent, the choice to keep the McAfee name became obvious.

Yet, at the same time, we had to realize that we are no longer the same McAfee we were 30 years ago – no more than you and I are the same people we were as children. Like you and me, McAfee has grown up. And, as a nod to that maturity, we knew we had to create a new McAfee brand to accompany a trusted name.

Again, that brand is rooted in research, which reveals that our industry is in desperate need of cybersecurity companies working together to defeat adversaries. Indeed, the digital freedom we tend to take for granted is dependent on it. With that, we expose our brand essence – Together is Power. It’s more than a slogan. It speaks to our fundamental worldview: Only by working together can we collectively address the greatest digital challenge of our time – cybercrime.

And, to signal that the McAfee we proudly launch today is equal parts time-tested and future-leaning, we unveil a new logo as the visual symbol of our identity:

  • It’s a shield – the undisputed symbol for defense.
  • It’s comprised of two interlocking elements – representing the power of unity when individuals and organizations work together toward a common goal.
  • It respectfully acknowledges our heritage – from the classic red color to the carefully placed “M” that frames the shield itself.

Today marks a new chapter in our company’s history – one made possible only by the loyal customers, partners and employees who created it. You helped give us our name. You voted with how you perceive our strengths and where we must continue to do better. We’ve listened. The brand we release today is not ours to own, as only you can bestow its value. And, channeling the guru Dale Carnegie himself, we will tirelessly fight to continue earning your favor.



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