"We're rebranding/remaking our company. We need a new image. When people think about our company, we want them to think (fill in the blank)."
Call me cynical (many of you already do), but I've heard this story before. It's just not that easy to turn a ship (or a company) that's become so big and has already grounded a reputation (be it good or bad).
That's the mindset I had when I spoke to the folks at Fairchild Semiconductor. But with this company, maybe more than any other, I have to give it the benefit of the doubt due to its history. Most people in the industry would agree that this company played a big role in making Silicon Valley what it is today. It was founded in the 1950s by a group of people who would become some of the biggest names in the industry, including Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce. The list of firsts is equally impressive.
Fast forward to the early 2000s, and you have a company that's plodding along. It's staying afloat but not making any big news. That's a not a bad story, but it's not a great one, either, and and the current leaders are looking to take the company beyond that.
Something clearly started happening at Fairchild about a year ago. I wasn't sure what it was, but it's since been revealed. In the company's own words: "Fairchild is building a culture that is focused on inventing and 'design thinking' -- part of our DNA and heritage that remains an essential part of Fairchild today."
That seems interesting, but what does it actually mean?
The company wants to be known as a leader in power-related products. I met recently with Sajal Sahay, Fairchild's new vice president of corporate marketing. He said the areas where his company wants to excel include power efficiency, mobile power, power for home appliances, and industrial power. That's a good starting point, because those are all areas that are in need of improvement in our industry.
Can the company do it? With a new tag line of "the power to amaze," it has the ideas down right. Now comes the hard part -- putting those ideas into play. We know that Fairchild's founders clearly could have pulled it off. Let's hope the current crop of leaders can write a similar script.