Cisco Systems Inc.
New: Simpler logo; shorter
Launched: Previewed for
analysts September 6, 2006.
Launched on Web
October 2, and in advertising (planned) October 6.
Story in brief:
As often happens, this rebranding event began with a technical,
design-driven rethinking of the existing logo, then gained
traction as senior managers began to link it to positioning changes
and marketing opportunities.
Cisco brand officer Gary McCavitt had long struggled with the
bridge-in-a-box logo, a mark difficult to use, difficult to put on
products, and dated in personality. In October, 2005 he
retained the typemaster (and logo designer) Joe
Finocchiaro to explore
alternatives; and Joe, recognizing the importance of the project,
generously proposed adding corporate brand designer
to the team. CEO John Chambers approved Gary's design
initiative, imposing one condition: "the DNA of our bridge must be
Shorter being better, and "Systems" being limiting as well as
backward-facing, the team soon recommended name truncation. Joe and
Jerry ultimately ditched the bridge-in a-box idea in favor of a more
integral symbol-enhanced wordmark, putting the emphasis on the
brand's greatest asset, the Cisco name.
On the October 2 Web launch occasion, chief marketing officer
Sue Bostrom said almost nothing about the new logo (noting
merely "a new logo, optimized for today's smaller communications
devices"), and issued no press release to note the rebranding and
honor its planners and designers. The logo change, nevertheless,
signals a comprehensive shift in Cisco's corporate positioning and
product offerings, and anchors the marketing campaign that will
explain Chambers' new vision.
C.E.O. - John Chambers
C.M.O. - Susan Bostrom
C.B.O. - Gary McCavitt, Creative Dir., Worldwide
Brand Strategy & Identity
Identity design -
Joe Finocchiaro and Jerry Kuyper
How simple; how sweet... starting with the name decision.
"Systems" was a brand weakener, if only because it set up
an ambiguous two-name situation. Its inclusion in the logo
implied "you really ought to call us Cisco Systems" despite the
convenience (and naming effectiveness) of the short form.
The logo is indeed a more unified freestanding mark
that will discretely 'pop' wherever it appears, adding a touch of
elegance to both products and communications media. The bridge
device, integral with the wordmark (and not a freestanding symbol)
does indeed retain "the DNA of our bridge," and does this (I am
delighted to note) in a way that also suggests "DNA."
Quite simply, the logo change makes corporate change
both perceivable, and more credible, that would otherwise be seen as