Motorola is apparently going ahead with plans to split up the company. This move will raise a large and rather difficult branding question.
The proposed split with separate the handheld division from the rest of the company. The handheld division produces cell phones and smart phones such as the Droid. The rest of the company manufacturers public safety radios, handheld scanners and telecommunications equipment. At the moment, the handheld division isn’t profitable; all the profits come from radios and scanners and such.
The big question: what happens to the Motorola brand after the split?
Letting both companies use the Motorola brand is the logical solution, but this is not an ideal approach. Who then owns the brand? Who decides what is ok, and what isn’t ok? What will Motorola stand for, anyway?
Giving the Motorola brand to the handheld division seems like the best solution to some since the handheld division is consumer facing. But this ignores the fact that the Motorola brand has enormous value in the radio and scanner area.
It isn’t clear how powerful the Motorola brand is in the consumer space. Motorola hasn’t been an industry leader in handheld devices for many years; Apple and Blackberry dominate, with Nokia strong in international markets. Still, Motorola is the company that invented the cell phone. It is hard to imagine the handheld division walking away from the brand and adopting a new name.
I’m not certain how Motorola will resolve this issue. I am quite certain that letting both companies use the brand won’t work well in the long-term.