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Oct 4, 2008

How Cisco Tried to Make Routers Sexy Using Social Media

How Cisco Tried to Make Routers Sexy Using Social Media

In March this year, Cisco launched the ASR 1000 Router Series. No big deal, but for the fact that it was delivered completely via social media. This was apparently Cisco's fifth most successful campaign, and according to the company it has proved to be a turning point for the way Cisco takes products to market: "virtually, virally, and visually."

The biggest lesson here is this: Routers aren't sexy. If Cisco can make a router exciting enough for social media, you too can utilize social media to create a buzz about your product or service.

Social media is all about building an experience - not an event. LaSandra Brill, manager of Web and social media marketing at Cisco discussed the tactics and results of the ASR 1000 launch at the Social Media Marketing Summit this week. I've listed the steps taken by Cisco to reach its goals below; you can see Brill's presentation on SlideShare.

ASR 100 Launch Campaign Steps

1. Created a fun micro site directed at uber users (the tech and early adopter audience) to help create and spread buzz.
2. Cross posted videos from the micro site to YouTube to extend reach. 
3. Established Second Life presence that included a countdown calculator and pre event live concert to increase visibility; research showed much of their audience is on Second Life.
4. Created a FaceBook group to cater to users not part of Second Life.
5. Created an interactive 3D game - Edge Quest - to attract the large gaming audience. 
6. Created a widget that holds a collection of key videos, documents and images that allows sharing for their content, while remaining on their server.
7. Blogged about it on the Cisco blog to try and intrigue bloggers and customers.
8. Heightened buzz with press with a vague two paragraph teaser press release to extend press coverage and fuel buzz.
9. Created a social media release to reach out to bloggers.
10. Introduced product via live online event; video on Second Life that was cross posted on FaceBook and YouTube.
11. Created 'Ask the Expert' - a forum where customers could talk to the engineers that created the product.

Cisco says they met their goal of increasing visibility and involving their audience by using the social Web, creating buzz and building a community at a negligible cost; a soft cost that involved time, resources, and creativity instead of budget.

Given the state of the US economy right now, the social Web seems to be the smartest choice corporations (or individuals) can make if they want to create passion and excitement for their brand - at a soft cost.

Ed: Left out huge labor costs and advertising support. Social media is one part of the overall product marketing.

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