As I sit here in my office, I am looking at box containing software for level 1 Japanese from Rosetta Stone, purchased several years ago prior to business trip I would be making to Japan. The idea, of course, was to learn enough Japanese to get by as well as participate in some light conversation with some of the Japanese businessmen I’d be meeting.

When making this purchasing decision, I knew there were other language software companies that had been around much longer than Rosetta Stone. For example, I recall that years ago when I had a desire to learn German, I had tape cassettes (I guess you can see how long ago this was) from Berlitz, a well-established and respected company. But when it came time to order the Japanese software, the only company that was in the running for me was Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone has been around since the early 90’s and I bought into their approach to language learning by the use of repetition combined with interactive technology, which would enable me to learn a language more quickly and effectively. It made sense to me because their methodology is most similar to the way first languages are learned (at least this is what Rosetta Stone preaches).

As a company, I think Rosetta Stone has done a nice job positioning itself as the preferred choice when choosing a language software program. It has a name that is clever without being cute. You, the user, understand right away that its program is designed to help us break though that unfamiliar language barrier.

In addition, it has done an excellent job of having its product placed in airports and around people who may be headed to a non-English speaking, exotic location where learning the language would be beneficial. Unlike many other language software programs, Rosetta Stone’s packaging is simple and to the point, and its use of a globe against a bright yellow background is very eye-catching. You know right away who the company is and its purpose.

I don’t know if Rosetta Stone software actually works better than its competitors, but I do know I associate with that feeling of discovery and unlocking the unknown – in this case a foreign language.

I must like that association quite a bit as I also have Rosetta Stone software programs at my home in Arabic, Spanish, French and Mandarin. Hopefully, I will have a use for one or all of these programs. Or even one I have yet to purchase. Because in the end, I am purchasing the idea as much as I am the product.