BACKGROUND / CHALLENGE:
Cisco is one of the pioneering brands of Silicon Valley. They have manufactured and sold the networking hardware and software that powers the internet for decades. But the internet, and Cisco’s business, have rapidly evolved. Today, new technologies and advancements in areas like AI and Web3 have created tremendous growth opportunities for startups and tech giants alike.
To explore the potential of these new trends and technologies, Cisco created an incubation unit to start, fail fast, iterate, and grow within these rapidly evolving areas outside of Cisco’s traditional business operations.
Cisco sought out WANT for a branding partnership to find a partner capable of swiftly and efficiently developing an incubator brand. This brand needed to generate enthusiasm among internal audiences, enhance recruitment initiatives in the competitive talent market, and expand and diversify the Cisco brand into emerging and captivating growth sectors.
The work began with discovery interviews with Cisco executives to understand the business context. Additionally, we audited competitors and their incubator units to explore the range of linkage to the parent/corporate brands and their positioning, naming, and identity strategies.
Next, WANT worked with the incubator’s leadership team to create a positioning for the brand. The idea “Build Amazing” was selected to emphasize the brand and incubator’s focus on exploration/R&D and developing tangible products/businesses. The idea does not limit the brand – they will invent and build products across various industries, from cloud security to Web 3.0.
After completing the positioning, WANT began developing names for the new brand. The final name of Outshift was chosen after working through our strategic naming funnel. The short, powerful name symbolizes the incubator brand’s role in shifting the Cisco business and brand into new strategic growth areas. The name reinforces and amplifies the positioning and culture of the incubator’s outside-the-box thinking and speed of ideation and creation.
With the final name in hand, WANT created the brand identity and logo for Outshift. The final logo concept excited the Outshift and Cisco executive teams from the moment it was presented. The logo leverages Cisco colors and typography style while amplifying its role as an incubator set on exploring new markets through the symbol. We locked the logo up with the endorsement line “by Cisco” to expose and extend the Cisco brand into the new markets while balancing the new Outshift brand with the authority and resources of Cisco.
Once the brand of Outshift was created, we designed three distinct yet interconnected market brands under the Outshift umbrella, each embodying a dynamic aesthetic distinct to itself. Although individually tailored, these visual guidelines seamlessly integrate with the overarching Outshift brand, showcasing the richness of the diverse yet unified brand ecosystem.
Finally, we were tasked to bring the brand to life ahead of its debut at Cisco’s annual stakeholder conference and expo. In just eight short weeks, we crafted a comprehensive visual brand identity for Outshift that extended across multiple touchpoints. This included website and tradeshow booth design, development of collateral and promotional materials, creation of dynamic digital advertisements, social media design elements, and custom email templates. We further complemented this identity with brand videos and informative whitepapers. This multidimensional approach ensured a robust, consistent, and impactful brand deployment at launch, with a vision set on its continuity well into the future.