- David Placek, Lexicon, The Globe And Mail, May 2014
This argument was rooted in an Intel example. The Intel Pentium brand did not directly communicate the notion of a powerful microprocessor, but it was once the global standard for power computing. Pentium eliminated the era of naming Intel’s microprocessors using engineering nomenclature, such as 4044s or 8088s. This new Pentium brand rolled off the tongue and symbolized superior microprocessor performance.
The work on Fiberlane’s brand strategy came to a head on February 27, 1998. Terry outlined the communication objectives for the brand.
First, the new brand had to be highly correlated with advanced technology, speed, and massive bandwidth. The latter point addressed Vinod Khosla’s notion of the arrival of the “Terabit Tsunami.” Fiberlane’s solution would overcome the frustration of service providers unable to deliver the desired bandwidth and speed that their customers sought.
Second, the new name must support responsiveness, availability, and problem solving. Terry wanted the company portrayed as “can do.”
Third, the company moniker must carry the simple, confident, straightforward, “can do” message that Terry insisted upon.
Fifth, the company was to be portrayed as a change agent and intent on “facilitating change in the industry and becoming critical to its customers.” Accordingly, the new name must be distinctive within the industry, symbolizing that it would, as Terry further argued, “Either make the rules or change the rules.”
Last, but not least, the new name had to suggest a company that possessed a creative attitude.
Developing the Brand
As Lexicon listened to this array of objectives, they kept “Team Fiberlane’s” focus on the idea of brand as a concept, as a predisposition to buy, as a promise. Extending this concept of brand further, Lexicon highlighted that a brand is all about beliefs, expectations, and promises. Imagery of a vessel suggested that a brand must have the ability to carry a message, an idea, and a promise. In fact, Lexicon argued that the focus needed to be less on whether a name is immediately understood and liked by customers, and more on “the name’s potential as a vehicle to weave an ongoing story that is larger than the brand itself.”
The brand became Cerent (pronounced SAYR-ent) for the company and Cerent 454 for the product, both of which were unveiled in mid-1998.
The brand story was captured by the product’s ability to break the bandwidth bottleneck in the constraining metropolitan optical transport network. In fact, the Cerent solution marked the inauguration of a whole new product category that uniquely addressed this multi-billion dollar market it helped to define – Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (or MSPP).
In less than two years, the Cerent brand was valued in excess of $7 billion and the underlying product became larger than life.
They did it right!
- Mark Twain