Cisco Case

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How is building a brand in a business-to-business context different from doing so in the consumer market?

When building relations through the company’s brand with the consumers, it is important to make the brand recognizable through easy-to-remember slogans, logos, and so on. The consumers will not go deep into the details. Meanwhile, the situation is different for corporate clients and partners. This is the environment where it is critically important to first explain what the company offers and why it is better compared with the competitors if such exist. This is why Marilyn Mersereau, the company’s vice president of corporate marketing, has said, “Clever advertising involves the reader in something that’s thought-provoking and provocative and doesn’t slam the brand name into you from the first page.” (Kotler & Keller, 2012, p. 58).

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One of the effective ways for Cisco to become a recognizable brand among consumers may be a social network campaign. Kim et al (2014, pp. 18 – 25) emphasize that according to the trends brand awareness is easier to be built through the digital “word of mouth”. Thus, social media become a truly effective tool for the experienced marketologists. This very idea is also supported by Uzunolu & Kip (2014, pp. 592 – 602). These authors, however, look at marketing campaigns from a wider perspective and speak not only about the effectiveness of particular micro blogging platforms, but speak of the entire range of blogging platforms. Meanwhile, the strategy of building brand awareness as mentioned above is entirely different for corporate clients., and Cisco case is a bright illustration to show this.
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Is Cisco’s plan to reach out to consumers a viable one? Why or why not?

The case discusses the attempt of Cisco to reach the consumers. The brand had been successful before this attempt certainly being the world’s leader among network equipment manufacturers and developers. The company was also offering innovative services in many respects, and the entire global network depended on the solutions worked out and suggested by Cisco (Kotler & Keller, 2012, p. 57). It was among the biggest companies of the world. Still, the company did not offer consumer products; this is what the management of the company decided to change. In general, the decision taken is the right one. Cisco was already a worldwide brand, and, as such, it had a very good potential for success. Riefler (2012, pp. 25 – 34) along with a number of other specialists in the field emphasize that the global origin of the brand is what makes the company more trustworthy for the consumers.

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Therefore, Cisco did have a very good platform to start from. However, it is important to emphasize two most important things, which Cisco management do realize: first of all, network equipment is not the best tool for targeting consumer audience. Instead of spending much time thinking over what router to prefer, they would rather find solutions for their home cinema. Thus, as cited by Kotler & Keller (2012, p.58), the company entered the market of home solutions. Another thing which they do realize is that the brand awareness is to be built quite differently for the consumer audience. The strategy of not mentioning the brand name until the third page of the text will not work with consumers. However, in general, the plan is quite viable and reasonable. There is no reason for the company not to expand to consumer market as well.