MEDIA ANALYSIS: BRAND SPEND ANALYSIS - Cisco Systems moves into the internet mainstream. Now, are you ready?

Cisco Systems has been dubbed ’the biggest company you’ve never heard of’. Historically it has had a very low profile relative to its size, despite it being ranked one of the top ten businesses in the world by market capitalisation.

Cisco Systems has been dubbed ’the biggest company you’ve never

heard of’. Historically it has had a very low profile relative to its

size, despite it being ranked one of the top ten businesses in the world

by market capitalisation.



That was all very well when Cisco was marketing itself solely within the

IT industry, but now that it is pushing small- to medium-sized business

and even going direct to the consumer it is embarking on a massive

marketing drive - using both TV and the press.



Cisco supplies more than 80 per cent of the network equipment for

carrying internet traffic, but until recently was virtually unknown

outside the specialist IT market.



Cisco’s advertising campaign seeks to raise awareness of the internet,

and uses the core theme ’Are you ready?’. The rationale for the

marketing campaign is that - with internet growth set to explode - Cisco

must promote its brand far more than it has done to date. Cisco has

spent over pounds 400,000 on press advertising in the first nine months

of 1999 and over pounds 200,000 in October alone.



The ad buying strategy in September and October targeted publications

not usually used by Cisco, such as the Evening Standard, Metro, Daily

Mail, Daily Telegraph and The Times. The creatives have a range of

themes, including ’Human IT from Cisco’, ’Lower your handicap, do

business with us’, and ’Business e-fficiency solutions from Cisco’. Most

of Cisco’s press ads in the broadsheets have been full-colour full pages

of 25x4.



Of course, it would be foolish for Cisco to abandon its core market

while chasing after Joe public. Accordingly Cisco continued to spend

with the business magazines that reach its target audience. VNU’s

Computing picked up pounds 34,083, while rival Computer Weekly landed

pounds 24,679. Network News profited handsomely, with Cisco spending

pounds 32,243 on the title, while IT Week received pounds 29,317.



Cisco estimates that internet connections will soar in Europe from 142

million in 1998 to 562 million by 2003, and believes that Europe can

lead the world in the adoption of internet connection via mobile phones,

televisions, and, eventually, devices such as cars and

refrigerators.



With these predictions in mind, Cisco is backing up its advertising

campaign with new partnerships with other technology suppliers including

IBM, Sun Microsystems and Motorola. Cisco is also looking to work with

Ericsson and Nokia.



As Cisco moves increasingly towards the consumer and small to medium

sizes business markets, it is also using its own success in technology

usage as an example to others. Since the early 1990s Cisco has used its

own internet servers and routers to connect it to all its employees,

customers, business partners and suppliers and has thus managed to

quadruple in size since 1994 without a proportionate increase in

operating costs.





Research by Media Monitoring Services, tel: 01344-627553

www.mediamonitoring.com