Productivity score

There is no evidence correlating longer hours with increased productivity. If anything, there is evidence that after a certain threshold (that might depend on the type of job), your productivity goes down (some evidence here and here). Sure, you still get something done on your 60th, 70th or 80th weekly hour of work. It is just not worth it.

And so, it is strange to see Microsoft launch a service for companies called Productivity Score. A service that tells employers how staff uses Microsoft apps, essentially measuring for how long certain apps are used, or how many interactions there are with a certain shared document.

There is a huge discussion about whether or not Productivity Score is a violation of employees privacy. But from a marketer perspective, I would argue that the biggest mistake Microsoft did was naming the service as it did.

In the article linked above, Jared Spataro (Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365) says that Productivity Score is “about discovering new ways of working, providing your people with great collaboration and technology experiences”. Elsewhere, Microsoft argues that employers can use Productivity Score to ensure their investment in technology goes to fruition: for example, by signaling that certain areas of the business (or certain employees) spend less time on emails or Teams, the company might want to organize specific training to increase adoption.

That is all great, but that is not productivity.

Productivity Score is a wrong name, a misleading name, a lazy name. It suggests a link between usage (mainly in terms of hours) of Microsoft apps and productivity that is non existent. Microsoft itself cannot make that link, and in fact here is the closer they get to it in one their blog post introducing the service:

Indeed, in a survey of more than 2,000 customers globally, those with the most complete adoption and use of Microsoft 365 had 66 percent higher confidence in their organization’s ability to adapt and thrive amidst uncertainty than those less far along.

Again, that is not productivity.

Names are sticky. They are the first chapter in the story of a product, a service, a feature. They create expectations and often guide the way users will use (or not use) what you offer.

Names need to be picked carefully.

What you must look for is a name that begins the positioning process, a name that tells the prospect what the product’s major benefit is.

Al Ries, Jack Trout in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

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