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How Western Digital adapted its marketing after acquiring rival Sandisk

Western Digital acquired Sandisk for $16bn

Earlier this year, Western Digital became the world’s biggest data storage company after acquiring Sandisk for an eye-watering $16bn, however the company could have been left an identity crisis after absorbing its long-time rival.

Speaking at the Prague launch of its new suite of consumer-facing hard drives, leveraging colourful, sleek design more akin to Apple hardware than trusty hard drives have any right being, vice president of marketing Sven Rathjen told The Drum that the merger actually strengthened the brand.

“The Western Digital brand already has incredible value and resonance with target customers and by adding another world-leading brand, we’re giving customers unbelievable choice.”

During the launch of the ‘My Passport’ external hard drives and a new range of ‘Blue’ and ‘Green’ solid state drives (SSDs), the company revealed a new focus on design-centric products; these were created by industrial design and branding firm fuseproject over a period of three years – substantially pre-dating the Sandisk acquisition.

On this new direction, Rathjen said “design and simplicity” was the most important part of the new look, claiming the products had to fit the customers’ lifestyles.

This simplicity continues in the naming of its ‘Blue’ and ‘Green’ SSD ranges; Blue being for the high-product for hardcore users, and Green being the more affordable range for entry-level PC enthusiasts.

He said that the Western Digital, G-Tech and Sandisk brands will continue to operate separately to “fulfil specific customer needs across different market segments”.

Each will continue in its selected role, Western Digital for backup and storage, SanDisk for sharing and movement of content and G-Tech for high end creative professionals and videographers.

Rathjen concluded: “You can expect to see us focusing very clearly on these customer segments with our brands.”

During the launch, Jim Welsh, senior vice president content solutions business unit, added: “Through the reimagined design language, we want to engage consumers in a conversation about how storage is core to their lives and how they feel more empowered by the real benefits of capturing, protecting and enjoying life’s precious memories.”