When Branding Doesn’t Stick At First…

NetApp (or as we used to know it, Network Appliance) launched a massive re-branding effort last week. The marketing effort caught lots of news attention and blog traction.

What it didn’t seem to do is impress stock watchers.

Following NetApp’s Analyst Day event this week, Jayson Noland, a Robert W. Baird analyst, downgraded the company’s shares from Outperform to Neutral.

Simply the stock pundit wants to see more profitability.

This downgrade comes despite NetApp’s CEO saying he expects fiscal 2009 revenue to jump 15 percent to 20 percent over this year. That seems pretty positive.

But there are clearly some underlying issues in play.

For example a pretty big part of the storage device maker’s market base includes the banking industry. And we all know what’s happening there given the mortgage debacle.

While NetApp says it’s pushing into new industries with a vengeance it’s going to take time. Even if it hires on the expected workforce — the vendor plans to pull in over a thousand new employees within the next year. Right now it’s got a little over 7,000 — there are some challenges ahead.

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