Featured cases

Case: Cisco Systems 2006



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.  Tony Spaeth


C.E.O. - John Chambers
Brand officer - Gary McCavitt, Creative Dir., Worldwide Brand Strategy & Identity
Identity design - Joe Finocchiaro and Jerry Kuyper


Submitted by: Tony Spaeth, 31/10/2006
Status: Estimated by Tony Spaeth
Category: Technology Hardware & Equipment
Country (HQ): United States





Strategic driver: 45%   
Change direction
  Redefine industry or core competence
 25%  x  Situation facts: Corporate level facts: Industry definition
    x  Change event : Low visibility: Memo
    x  Change event : High visibility: Campaign
Broaden scope/scale/visibility
  Remove limiting category association
 20%  x  Identity system elements: Verbal elements: Formal/legal names
Functional driver: 55%   
Design weakness
  Increase visual strength/quality
 55%  x  Identifier tactics: Logo change: Wordmark-dominant