Cisco Does Some Name-Dropping

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What’s in a name? Cisco, as expected, is retiring the venerable Scientific Atlanta name, at least on the consumer-facing set-top boxes and DVRs, in favor of its own logo.

The idea behind the nomenclature change is to strengthen Cisco’s presence in the consumer mind with a single, five-letter brand.

As Cisco VP of consumer marketing Ken Wirt puts it: "Cisco’s profile with the consumer will be increased because there will be a bunch of boxes in their house with the Cisco logo on it that they interact with every day."

The networking company will also rebrand the Linksys line of home-networking gear, although Wirt said that will be a longer process than the changeover on the set-tops.

So can Cisco build itself up to become, say, anywhere close to a Sony?

Cisco is an absolute powerhouse household name in the service provider and corporate IT worlds. It’s not necessarily on the lips of everyday Joes as a sexy CE device maker.

Cisco is trying to establish a consumer brand. But even its mass-media "Human Network" campaign seems aimed more at business buyers than Best Buy buyers — more like IBM’s spots, less like Apple’s.

We’ll see what new tricks Cisco has up its sleeve as it tries to complete the triple back-flip into the consumer tech realm. Here’s one already on the 2011 calendar: the scheduled opening of Cisco Field, future home to the Oakland A’s.

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