SEN to Brand

by Dave Michels

This just in: Siemens Enterprise Communications is going to do some advertising.

According to Ad-Week, they hired a new firm to spend $90 million on annual media spending. Presumably, this is associated with a major effort to rebrand the company. When Siemens AG spun out enterprise communications in a new joint venture with Gores Group – the new firm had limited rights to “Siemens” as a name. Of course, that could be renegotiated or extended and perhaps it was. I was expecting a rebranding effort to take place sooner (because when you know there is going to be a new name – all branding with the old name is lost money). The new name – and in fact if there is even going to be a new name – is still not confirmed.

The issue of a naming is always difficult – it took us two weeks to agree on our cat’s name. But a new name for Siemens Enterprise Communications would be extremely difficult. First you have to decide if “Siemens” should be in the name (assuming it was even a choice). In Europe, Siemens has a very strong brand. It is probably neutral to negative in the US, but a new name could be much riskier. The other problem is international markets. It is very difficult to come up with a name that works in so many countries – has an available Internet domain and Twitter handle, and doesn’t offend anyone. The last time this happened we got the name Avaya. I don’t know what that cost, but it wasn’t cheap. Avaya didn’t have the option of using its old name (AT&T), and SEN may not have the option of keeping Siemens.  Most likely it will be some made up word (as in the case of Avaya) – using real words in company names is both out of style and practically impossible.

New name and logo, rebranding all their literature, products, and contracts – expensive stuff. The $90 million above is the “media spend” – no word on the what the actual rebranding is actually going to cost, but a lot more than $90 million is a  reasonable assumption. Just reprinting all those business cards – let’s see 11,000 employees x an average price of $25 = $275,000. That’s gotta hurt. Think of how far $90 million could go in R&D. On the flip side, think of how much SEN has saved over the years on marketing. The poor company never even got a logo.

I wonder what media spends they are thinking of. Maybe they should sponsor my blog? I reach an intelligent audience that’s focused on UC. My site is open (I don’t encrypt the text). I cover voice, UC, collboration, and networking. I normally charge $180M for sponsorship of this blog, but thru Q1, we are running sponsorship programs at half off.

In June 2010, I interviewed the newly hired Chris Hummel – newly hired as a CMO.  SEN’s Got A CMO?