Rebranding a High Tech Business
Identifying the best marketing thrust for a high tech business
Sometimes an outside, unbiased study by a branding professional like Stephen Hawley Martin can turn what could have been a disaster into a success. In this case, it was for a multinational, multibillion-dollar company that had just acquired and merged six software businesses into a new entity newly named Invensys Software Systems with the intention of selling software and software fixes to mass manufacturers.
These manufacturers all had factory automation. They all had e-commerce, supply-chain and customer relationship management (CRM) software. The problem many had that Stephen's client could mitigate was that many of these systems were purchased at different times, at different levels of the organization, and most had been meant to achieve totally different objectives. Practically all of them worked at different speeds—the e-commerce software sucking in orders as fast as customers could key them into a website, and the automation software working at the speed of the slowest machine on the factory floor. To make matters worse, many of the individual software systems came from different IT companies, had different architectures, and spoke different languages.
Stephen’s new client asked him to develop a marketing communications and branding strategy based on how an older, slower manufacturing automation system can bottleneck fast-moving e-commerce because it was something this newly constituted entity could fix. Applying the Martin Brand Power process of interviewing leadership and staff throughout the organization, he came up with almost a dozen rough benefit statements. Prior to setting up interviews with customers of the business, he shared them with the CEO and his top managers.
Seeing the potential benefits crystallized got the client CEO’s attention—and showed him and his colleagues that they appeared to be headed in the wrong direction. It occurred to them that the speed difference was only the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface—the big part of iceberg—was the basic incompatibility of different systems, with different functions, bought at different times by different executives to do different things at different speeds, and with no ability for many of them to talk to one another.
After some head scratching and discussion, they realized they could sell patches that would give disparate software systems the ability to communicate, and to work and to play together well. These patches would cost customers far less than entirely new systems, and putting them in place would entail little, if any, factory downtime.
But that wasn’t the best part from the client’s point of view. The newly realized approach would make the business more money than dealing with only automation and e-commerce. So they shifted strategy on the spot. Simply put, the new direction was to call attention to the host of potential problems that could be caused by disconnects between a manufacturer’s different software systems—disconnects my client could fix.
The ad campaign that came about as a result ran in Industry Week, CIO, Chief Executive, Managing Automation, and Darwin magazines. All the ads in the campaign achieved record high readership scores. Publishers of two of the magazines liked the ads so much they upgraded them to premium inside-cover positions at no extra charge.
That a record number of readers apparently liked what they saw paid off in a big way in business for Stephen's client. During the course of the campaign, the company went from a $400 million loss to overall profitability.
If you’d like to have a conversation with Stephen Hawley Martin to discuss the possibility of having him create a roadmap that will lead to increased sales for what you sell, send him an email. There will be no obligation on your part, it won’t cost you a thing, and who knows where it might lead.
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