3Com refocuses on firms in new branding initiative

MARLBOROUGH, MA: 3Com has launched an integrated marketing campaign to bolster its brand as a global IT networking company.

MARLBOROUGH, MA: 3Com has launched an integrated marketing campaign to bolster its brand as a global IT networking company.

The company is refocusing on its base of corporate customers after abandoning that market in 2000, when it was hit hard by the tech downturn.

"People are looking back at where we were and are not connecting with where we are today, which is a major networking player," said John Vincenzo, global director of corporate communications. "And the company hasn't done much in trying to change that perception."

Since 2000, 3Com has become better known for spinning off brands, such as Palm and US Robotics. That, along with its absence from the corporate market, created a dated image of what the company had to offer.

Past PR initiatives focused mostly on the company's technology, talking more about "speeds and feeds" than business value. This new global effort will take the opposite approach, talking more about the business value of 3Com's portfolio of products and services.

One talking point will be that 3Com's technology offers a more complete and compelling business value than the technology from competitors like Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, and Nortel Networks, said Vincenzo.

The $651 million company is taking its executives before analysts and the media, focusing more heavily on business and vertical media than on the technology press. And going forward, the message will be more about the business value and not as much driven by technology announcements.

3Com is working with its international network of agencies on the campaign, including its firm in the US, Coltrin & Associates.

"PR is very important to this effort," Vincenzo added. "Brand advertising gets you a lot of visibility. But PR [is] where you get the credibility."

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