CMOs should make a connection between brand promise and purpose (Landor Perspectives 2011)

Allen Adamson

I was relieved to be among the frequent fliers who didn't have travel plans when Mother Nature decided to fill the skies above northern Europe with gritty ash. I could only imagine the frustration of those waiting in terminals for the air to clear. Thinking about these weary travelers and their inability to get to critical meetings, family reunions, and other get-togethers also got me thinking about Cisco and its really nifty branding.

What prompted this linear line of thinking? Well, if you look at the recent collection of ads for Cisco, you'll understand the connection. But first, a few facts. Fact one: The fiery volcano in Iceland made it impossible for people to make the connections they needed to make. Fact two: Cisco makes products that make it possible for people to be connected, no matter how far apart they may be geographically. Fact three: Until now, consumers didn't really make the connection between the Cisco name and what its brand stands for. As a matter of fact, for as long as there have been things like routers and switches and interfaces and myriad other technological innards, there has been a general lack of understanding of what any company involved in digital details actually does. This general lack of understanding is definitely not helpful for a company in this category trying to communicate its brand promise. Nor does this lack enable a company to differentiate its brand from a sea of competitors in any significant way.