What Polycom Needs

This blog may as well be titled "What all companies need", but Polycom is significantly lacking this in the genre I work in so I'll direct this toward them.

They need a Cheer Leader, with emphasis on Leader.

Zoom has Eric Yuan. Cisco has Rowan Trollope. Craig Malloy, Lifesize. Scott Wharton (or we could/should put Simon Dudley) for Logitech. When you think of these companies (in Cisco's case it's when you think about their collaboration group, likewise for the conferencing division of Logitech) these people immediately come to mind. They are excellent cheerleaders for their brand/product line. Polycom has lacked this in the social media era. It doesn't need to be the person at the top but someone needs to "own" the product line/brand both internally and publicly. Sure, there may be someone internally that owns product development. By looking at their product line and how dissimilar and disjointed they appear against each other I'm not so sure.

Look at Cisco's endpoint line. Like them or not they've started to share the same feel over time with their industrial design. Now compare Polycom's Voxbox to the Pano to the Trio. Based on the industrial design of each of these it's obvious that no one person oversaw their development.

Ownership comes in many forms. It's driving the product line, it's being the person who gives the keynote about a new product, it's even the person who does demo videos for YouTube. Ownership means being the person accountable for the products, their design and its performance. A sidebar to that - the product/brand owner doesn't have to do all the demo videos or speeches. They can simply be the preface of a YouTube video or they can introduce the actual speaker at trade show. In any event, it still puts them in front of the crowd.

Why does this matter?
If things seem disjointed, the public may as well assume it is disjointed. A single face, the brand owner, can make things appear smooth because it's always "that person" who you associate with the company. Internally, it's all about accountability. We know if the collaboration group at Cisco has major problems, everyone knows who is responsible at the end of the day. Ownership should drive product development and products shouldn't be designed "by committee".

Now it was just announced that Polycom was purchased by Plantronics. Plantronics board includes Bob Haggerty, former CEO and long time Polycom employee. Will that mean a change in things? I'm hopeful it will.

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