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Cisco Systems Inc.

New:  Simpler logo; shorter communicative name

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 Jerry Kuyper to the team. CEO John Chambers  approved Gary's design initiative, imposing one condition: "the DNA of our bridge must be retained."

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.

Credits:
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
 

First Impressions:
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 smoke.

 


 

 



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CEO Chambers

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