Cisco’s goal for Webex is to be the leading collaboration brand. It wants “Webex Suite” to be the “most comprehensive communications platform, most cost-effective and most reliable and secure collaboration tool.” Aggressive? Yes. And today, Cisco made numerous, bold announcements about the platform, which I found quite interesting, which I think will add customer value and provide even more competition into the collaboration market.
The company officially announced the Webex rebrand, a new campaign, added new capabilities into what’s now called “Webex Suite,” and repriced many of its latest products. The rebrand will change the nomenclature of Webex to Webex by Cisco, but I believe this business decision goes a lot deeper than simply updating a name and logo and committing to a new marketing strategy like I see some companies do. The future of Hybrid collaboration primarily drives the decision to rebrand the company’s collaboration platform as we continue to experience working with both in-office and remote employees simultaneously.
I believe Cisco is taking this rebranding very seriously. Nothing echoes that sentiment more than Cisco’s goal of being the most loved brand in collaboration . The collaboration market is an excellent market for Cisco to focus on as it lies within its core competencies. I’ll admit, at times I have questioned this, but it makes sense to me now, particularly that I see the company “going for it”. The rebrand means very little to the customer without massive product innovations that provide a much-improved user experience.
Cisco decided to invest in the rebrand of Webex because it believes that hybrid work is here for the long haul. There were a few key metrics that Cisco pointed to drive this home. According to a 2020 Global Workforce study by Dimensional Research, meetings that included at least a single remote participant grew from 8% previously to 98% going forward. Also, 87% of executives plan to make changes to their real estate strategy in the next 12 months. Updating company real estate strategy could mean moving away from individual workspaces to more collaborative, open environments.
With the new launch, Cisco seems hyper-focused on crafting a superb user experience for hybrid work, which will be essential because it wants to be the most loved brand in collaboration. One of the most significant upgrades is the new Webex Suite. Think of this as a singular platform for completing various tasks ranging from calling and messaging to polling and events. With this version of Webex, there were more than 800 innovations added since September. These included gesture recognition, noise removal, speech enhancement, custom layouts, open APIs, immersive share, and much more. By reading the list, I can tell that Webex is much improved compared to the last version. I am excited to use the application for myself soon and provide a more in-depth analysis of its functionality.
Cisco also claimed that pricing the new Webex subscription was 40% lower than a-la-carte and competitive offerings. On the hardware side, Cisco seems to be incentivizing customers to use its collaboration devices with Webex. Customers can save up to 50% on devices like the Webex Desk Camera, Webex Desk Pro, and Room Kit when they have a qualifying Webex contract including the Webex Suite . I like this move from Cisco because it gets enterprises in the Webex ecosystem for less and allows them to experience a hardware and software combination that Cisco fully manages. Suppose customers pair Webex with third-party hardware its more complicated to guarantee a great experience. This aggressive pricing structure is a great way to get users in quickly.
I have confidence that a company as competent as Cisco can pull off a world-class collaboration application but leading the industry in innovation and being the preferred application for enterprise customers won’t be easy. The amount of effort Cisco has put into new Webex features out of the gate gives me confidence that the company is ready to fight. Several other big fish in this pond don’t want to lose any market share, so this will be a battle between giants.
Cisco knows it has many challenges when it comes to brand perception. The company knows it needs to increase awareness and, at the same time, change the perception of the brand. I believe part of the brand challenge is that many self-hosting Webex customers don’t pay enough attention to quality of service and the experience suffers. I already talked about the innovations, and modified cloud pricing that I believe are part and parcel of being the top collaboration brand.
The new Webex logo looks premium and modern. The blue and green rotating helix in the logo represents “the harmonious flow of ideas that happens when people come together as equals.” I see it as an equal footing between IT and end users. The new branding embodies a deep commitment to the future of Hybrid work collaboration from Cisco. The company wants its branding to compliment all of the work and acquisitions that went into the new application.
The Webex rebrand looks like a natural extension of Cisco’s declared purpose around “powering an inclusive future”, and a continuum of the corporate Bridge to Possible campaign. I wrote about that campaign here in 2018.
We’ve seen the company lean-in to stories about bringing critical medical care to remote, rural communities; to connecting classrooms around the world to help teachers and students navigate a virtual learning experience. It’s nice to see this continuity carry through the business, from Chuck Robbins and the leadership team, to the brand story, to way the company has re-imagined its products. I do love to see the brand consistency and I’m surprised it still “works” three years later. But it does.
Existing users will be able to see the new logo with updates starting on June 15th. New users downloading the app, starting on June 8th, all Webex apps will boast the updated branding. The updated Webex branding is about changing the focus and perception of Webex while backing it up with a deep product portfolio of collaboration hardware and software.
Webex brand campaign
With this Webex rebrand, Cisco says it’s going big with a marketing push. The brand campaign for this new launch wouldn’t be complete without customer testimonials and focusing on premium partners. Customer testimonials need to show, not tell other customers, how Webex is changing and improving the way they collaborate.
The McLaren F1 Racing team is the focus of this new brand campaign. The company is competing at the top level of Formula 1 racing and using Webex to design its new race cars and collaborate; that’s cool, in my opinion. You can see how the McLaren F1 Racing team is using Webex to collaborate here.
Adding a premium partner like McLaren does a lot for changing the perception of the Webex brand at a critical time for the company. I love to see the big initial marketing push from Cisco, and I believe partnering with McLaren for its first campaign is a good move.
I’ll admit. I’m a huge F1 fan and can’t wait to see how McClaren uses Webex when the race comes to my hometown, Austin at the COTA.
I think this is an excellent move from Cisco, and it is coming at the right time. I ran all my businesses in a “go big or stay home” mentality and this is great to see. The collaboration market is more significant than ever, and with the shift to hybrid work continuing to expand, this is the right time for the company to go all in. Cisco has deep roots in the collaboration market, and with its new brand and fantastic product, the future seems to be very promising.
I don’t want to sway you to view the launch through rose-colored classes, in any case. I’ve run many large businesses and led numerous product marketing teams. There is a lot of execution and competition between the company becoming the most beloved brand in collaboration. I believe Cisco has the hardware, software, services and many bright people up to the task. I will continue to watch this rollout closely and look forward to sharing my first impressions of the new Webex Suite.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.