Panda is trying to increase its brand knowledge in U.S. as well as other markets by launching a free and cloud-based program of antivirus. Executives feel that the new free antivirus product, named Panda Cloud Antivirus, has improved accuracy and performance. It will create enough buzz in the market to encourage customers to upgrade Panda’s business products like Panda Cloud Internet Protection, launched in April.
“Panda has amongst best products available in the market, according to my opinion,” said Rick Carlson who is the president of operations in Panda U.S. He further added, “The problem with Panda is that it’s a very small player in the U.S.”
The strategy of “free first” has proved to be very successful for other vendors. Especially, Microsoft launched the free antivirus named Microsoft Security Essentials, last year.
“Panda has about 10 million users around the world and most of them are free users”, Carlson said. “In the past, adaptations happen gradually, however they do happen”, he added. Generally, around 2-4 % of Panda users will ultimately upgrade their existing product with paid or business product after considering free offerings from the company.
“The crucial benefit to Panda is that we now have more than 2 times number of users who have tried and installed Panda. They’re now well aware about what Panda is and what Panda signifies in marketplace,” Carlson said.
Another aim is to provide opponents like McAfee and Symantec, a cut- throat competition in the antivirus market with cloud-based, high-quality antivirus software, executives said.
Executives agreed that majority of users will never upgrade to the paid service and will continue to use free product. But at this point of time, it’s more important to create a recognizable name first in the U.S., Carlson said.
“I think there is a significant enhancement in brand awareness. Panda is focusing mainly on distribution and making sure that people use this product,” he said.
Carlson, who was an ex- administrative at AVG, said that the “free antivirus” strategy of AVG has pushed company’s market awareness in the U.S. as amongst most renowned brands of the industry.
“AVG is probably, the 3rd or 4th most renowned antivirus brand in U.S. If we can build this sort of brand alertness, it will make reseller’s job very easy,” he said. “Now the discussion doesn’t begin with “who’s Panda? That’s truly what it’s in regards.”
Hugo Uyttenhove, a channel partner of Panda and CEO of Raleigh, said that he had tangled his foot in end user customers’ door by suggesting the free version. The free upgraded antivirus might give Panda, an opportunity in aiming end users, he said.