As of last week, this was the old Polycom:
As of today, this is the new Polycom:
The company still calls itself "the global leader in open standards-based unified communications solutions for telepresence, video, and voice," but the approach is all different.
It doesn't take a graphic designer to understand the differences in the logos above. (And to be clear, a logo is just one component of branding. But it's the hood ornament to the whole thing.) The old Polycom stood for a 22-year-old tech stalwart that appeared to do its job in a no-bull manner. The triangular shield and serif font said, simply, "this is what we do, we don't care how it looks, all we care about is trust." The typical enterprise M.O.
The new one? Much more approachable. Lowercase letters, a Silicon Valley-friendly sanserif font and interlocking circles, not triangles. Social circles, not castle walls. Inclusive, not exclusive.
Why do we care about rebrands and identity here at ZDNet? Because these things exist to signal business strategy. And what you see above is a Polycom that is trying to embrace consumerization in the enterprise, particularly around mobile, where things are swiped and tapped instead of typed and clicked. Like a dense San Francisco fog, consumerization has seeped into every pore of the workplace. Polycom wants you to know that it gets it.
That's not to say the Pleasanton, Calif.-based multinational will drastically change its actions; it will definitely continue to sell to major enterprises with massive revenues that carry names you've never heard of. (One recent one: India's Essar Group, which plays in the steel, oil and gas, power, telecom, shipping, ports and minerals industries. Not exactly a household name.)
But the new identity marks the company's increasing steps toward becoming a software-driven company, one that specializes in visual collaboration in new areas like mobile and social. Polycom's message to customers: focus on what you can do with telepresence in government, entertainment, science and education -- not the protocols necessary to make it work.
The old identity? A bit too Death Star. The new one? I imagine Polycom's top brass hope it's welcoming enough to customers' employees such that they don't feel like they need a week's worth of training to telepresence halfway across the world.
Of course, talk is cheap -- Polycom will have to put its money where its mouth is to prove it can walk the walk. (How's that for a string of clichés?) But this very public step is one taken in the right direction.