NetApp Unwaps New Image

Vendor throws money at its marketing strategy; unveils new name, logo, and chairman

March 11, 2008

2 Min Read
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On the eve of its analyst day in New York tomorrow, Network Appliance (as was) has rebranded itself with a new name, logo, and marketing strategy in an attempt to raise its profile.

"This is the launch of the next-generation of NetApp," Dan Warmenhoven, the vendor's CEO, told Byte and Switch. "We're about to embark on a campaign to acquire new accounts."

This strategy includes changing the official company name to its nickname, NetApp, a less elaborate company logo, and a "multimillion-dollar" marketing campaign over the next four years, according to Elisa Steele, the vendor's senior vice president of marketing.

"Not enough people know who we are for us to have ambitious growth goals," she adds, explaining that around 2,000 IT managers were recently surveyed to gauge their knowledge of the company. "We discovered a pretty low awareness metric in the market about who we are and what we do."

In addition to a flurry of advertisements in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Forbes, NetApp has also overhauled its Website and is working with search engines to boost other parts of its Internet presence."NetApp was not showing up where we needed it to show up on search engines around the globe, but we have got that covered," says Steele.

The exec nonetheless denied that NetApp's image overhaul was born out of the current climate of economic uncertainty.

"The branding decision was actually made about 18 months ago inside of NetApp -- it's not driven by the current economic conditions at all."

Analysts have already warned that NetApp is particularly vulnerable to a slowdown in U.S. IT spending.

Despite posting a solid set of results in its most recent financials, the vendor warned that its fourth-quarter figures could dip below Wall Street's estimates, citing a slowdown in some European markets, such as the U.K.Even if NetApp sets a bullish tone during tomorrow's analyst call, the vendor has still got plenty to worry about, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Min Park.

"Ongoing concerns of softer spending will likely keep NetApp shares from making sustainable moves upward, and our rating remains neutral," he wrote, in a note released today. "Further decline in enterprise spending in the U.S. and Europe would add downside risk to our estimates and NetApp shares."

In addition to today's marketing announcements, NetApp also confirmed that Warmenhoven is taking over from 76-year old company veteran Don Valentine as chairman of the firm's board of directors.

"At age 76, it's going to free [Valentine] up to play more golf," says Warmenhoven, adding that the former chairman will remain in contact with NetApp as an outside independent director.

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