Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking, has continued to refocus its brand on the B2B market after pulling the reins in on a much-scrutinized extension into consumer audiences. Cisco’s brand has always been able to remain relevant in the switching and router market, but that may not be enough to maintain Cisco’s performance in the future. The recent acquisition of NDS, a leading provider of video software and content security solutions, indicates that Cisco could be looking to gain a more solid foothold in software based applications. As the market continues to trend towards mobility and cloud computing, strong and nimble international competitors, like the Chinese powerhouse Huawei, will bring new challenges to Cisco’s reputation as an innovator — especially outside the US. Cisco’s campaign, “The Human Network,” has been a consistent presence, but the brand strategy will need to adapt to the return of focus on the B2B market. Cisco has continued to ...view middle of the document...
Thought leadership is a smart play here. Why? To win in this fast-growing space, business services brands must quickly deliver on the three pillars of brand strategy: authenticity, relevance, and differentiation. Acquisitions provide the authenticity through which these brands become credible players in the space. Thought leadership, then, transforms these credible, authentic technical capabilities into something that is relevant to customers. It demonstrates the ability to solve the customer’s most challenging business problems and create value. Investing in IP also drives these brands’ presence as digital/ social technologies continue to place a premium on sharable content over traditional forms of advertising and engagement. Big data is still a hot topic and top of mind for many CTO/CIOs. The services brands that not only bring capability to the table but help customers get their heads around the topic will win. Content is the essential glue that will bind the services company to customers as they both navigate the big data wave. This is all very big stuff , as a white paper on Cisco’s site reminds us: “For big data analytics there’s no such thing as too big.” Maybe. But in the world of global brands, being big does not go far enough. There are many large services companies but few truly global services brands. The ones that made it have found a way to scale and dimensionalize intangibles, like big data. These companies make sense of things that are either hidden deep within a technology ecosystem or found in ephemeral moments of advice. The best global services brands have transcended the inherent limitations of their own offers and found an enduring, emotional role to play in the lives of customers and markets. A Smarter Planet. High Performance, Delivered. The Knowledge Effect. The Human Network. This is better, not bigger. Business services brands are the most challenging to build. As such, the ones appearing in our ranking are tour-de-force examples of branding at its best. (Feldmeth, 2012)
Brown, C.V., DeHayes, D.W., Hoffer, J.A., Martin, E.W., & Perkins, W.C. (2012). Managing Information Technology (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Feldmeth, J. Bigging up Big Data. http://www.interbrand.com/en/about-us/Interbrand-about-us.asp extracted February 9, 2013.