Social Media Marketing Summit: Brand Spotlight on Cisco

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 in Conferences & Networking, Social Media | 2 comments

This presentation focused mostly on Cisco’s launch of a new router ASR 2000, but they parlayed a singular product launch into an entire social media network for Cisco for uber users of networking tools that brought fun into the mix.

  • LaSandra Brill, Manager, Web & Social Media Marketing, Cisco.

LaSandra BrillWow… the computer she was using prompted her to restart now or later for automatic updates and she clicked Restart Now, so there was a hiccup in the program, so to speak.  I have to give her props that she totally knew her presentation and continued on, even citing accurate figures, and just picked right back up.  The entire audience groaning “ooh, noooooo” when she clicked Restart Now was amusing.  But as I said, she held her own and recovered very well.

I saw an interesting tweet that someone came just for this presentation because they possibly have a less sexy product that this tweeter has!  Good point – making a networking router exciting is quite the feat.

Bullet Point Review!

  • Marketing in a web 2.0 world is much different than traditional marketing.
  • Foundation of the campaign was the uber user – created a micro site to gather registrations for the launch event.
  • Normally this happens a week or so ahead of time, but they instead used fictional characters to say something a bit more vague while being fun and interesting.
  • Traditional campaign leveraged on a social media level.  Used videos on YouTube, Facebook, etc.
  • They created a Facebook group to leverage for this launch, but also didn’t want to make it toooo specific because they wanted to utilize it later.
  • Group continues to grow even after the product launch.
  • it is a long tail, but they feel that it’s worth it.  They don’t pay for the sponsored group, but utilize the free group to minimize investment.
  • Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.
  • Created a game (Edge Quest) and used it with a tournament to create buzz in the blogosphere.
  • Leveraged Second Life as well with a pre-event live concert, launch event countdown calculator.
  • They did research before venturing into Second Life and found that they did have a big audience within SL.
  • Created a video of the launch event on SL and posted that on YouTube and Facebook to leverage and cross publicize.
  • Created a widget that became viral with an embed code for bloggers and social media.  ProBlogger picked it up.  Free advertising is awesome.
  • Because the widget is hosted on their servers, they could update it whenever and it’s syndicated.
  • Built up anticipation and speculation about the product to entice bloggers to write about them through teaser releases.
  • Vaguness kept speculation fueled and buzz going.
  • Leveraged the concept of a social media release – clear & simple, ensure accuracy, build community, easy access, attention-grabbing, embed code for sharing.
  • Saved a ton of money by having a virtual product launch over an online only product launch.  Only had to utilize John Chambers for an hour of his time instead of half a day.
  • Reached 128 countries with a prerecorded launch video.
  • Lessons learned:
    • Avoid hidden costs – ensure roalty free access to videos so that content can be re-purposed on social media sites.
    • Test, test, & more test – widget was a new tool so the embedding perfection took more time than anticipated.
    • User generated content – the UGC on Facebook was the most active discussion with the “Top 20 Signs you’re an Internet Addict” thread.
    • Edge Quest ASR Design Craft content was a bust – the promotion for this was lost in the promotion for the tournament itself.  Lesson – stick to one message.

Points brought up during the LaSandra Brill Q&A

  • Cisco has a big voice, so how does this translate to smaller business?  You have to make it sexy, a router is very routine and they made it sexy – was in their top 5 product launches of all time.
  • Most costs were soft costs – human time, engagement.

Overall a great session – at first I admit that I was worried it would be a snooze fest but it was actually really interesting to see how well they leveraged many different venues of social media to launch this product and the success they acheived with it.


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. LaSandra Brill

    Great summary, I'm glad to hear it wasn't a snooze fest. If you are interested in the slides you can access them here:

  2. TrishaLyn

    Awesome, thanks for sharing the link! I'm always wary to just republish slides when people at conferences make the available 🙂


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