Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Blog Feed Post

How to Successfully Brand or Rebrand a Company

Q/A with Pega CMO Grant Johnson, appearing on Rieches Baird’s “Branding Business” Radio Show

 

Ray Baird: Obviously you’ve built many successful brands and re-branded many companies over the years. What’s your secret and what can our listeners learn from your experience:

Grant  Johnson: Having done re-branding successfully for nearly two decades, the first key principle is to tightly define the drivers and key objectives.  Are we looking for a brand refresh or brand transformation?  When I arrived at a company named Big Fish, I needed to drive a transformation which included a new company name, logo, positioning, messaging and brand identity.  At FileNet, it was a refresh to build on earlier brand progress and help drive brand differentiation vs. the big guys we were competing against, including IBM, EMC and Oracle.   At Pega, it encompassed creating an entire brand system and architecture.   The company had grown to more than $200 million in sales when I arrived with almost no systematic approach to brand identity, architecture, or brand management.   Pega had a working logo, the symbol for Pegasus the flying horse, so I left that alone. Everything else, including color palette, graphic style,  naming conventions and brand personality, needed to be either created or changed.  We came up with a simple way to help our 2,000 employees relate to our brand personality.   Our four brand key personality attributes leverage our shorted name, PEGA and stand for: Passionate, Engaging, Genuine and Adaptive.  I created a video entitled, “How PEGA are you?” in which employees from different regions discuss how they embody those four brand personality traits, and this helped them become true brand ambassadors.  Together with online brand education and training, this really helped get our employees behind the new brand. When you get brand advocacy to become synonymous with company advocacy, you can really harness the power of your people to build brand momentum.

Ray Baird: What are the biggest challenges companies face when re-branding?

Grant Johnson:  Once you’ve got the first question I mentioned resolved, (the purpose for rebranding), you need to get agreement on how to approach it.  What is the scope?  Over what time and at what cost?  Who will make decisions besides the CMO?  I’ve found that having a simple three-phase process is something my executive peers can easily understand and support, so in my rebranding approach for Pega, I defined Phase 1 as Brand Assessment, Phase 2 as Brand Development and Phase 3 as Brand Execution.   Under each phase I defined what we would do, who would be involved – i.e. customer, partners, board members – how we would report on findings, and a process to make the important decisions. .

A second major challenge is developing consensus on what to change.  This can be somewhat controversial because after the brand assessment, obvious inconsistencies and variance in brand quality and standards will emerge, and sometimes you have to throw out what others have already created.  It’s like saying “your baby is ugly,” so it’s never easy to deliver a change message because after all, most of these decisions are subjective.

The biggest challenge, however, is getting agreement on specific changes.  In past practice, a lot of options that I’ve created around brand identity, personality, and promise were well received.  The hard part was getting agreement on which of the various desirable alternatives to choose.  At Pega, we came up with three alternatives for our brand promise:  “we help you drive continuous business improvement”; “we help you become more customer centric; “we transform the way your business works.” Our customer research and most of my team favored the transformative expression, also the most aspirational. However, many stakeholders thought such a brand promise would over-reach our ability to deliver.  So we landed on helping organizations become more customer centric.  This is working quite well for us, especially since we keep enhancing our product line to better deliver on this promise.

Ray Baird:  How do you manage the areas you don’t control on the brand, e.g. the touch points?

Grant Johnson: That’s a great question and something I’ve dialogued about with many of my CMO peers.  At most companies, B2B or B2C, the CMO doesn’t control all the touch points, such as Web, Storefront, Call Center, Services, Partner or others, which can lead to an inconsistent brand experience at best, and brand dilution at worse.   What works is for marketing, as the chief brand architect, to define what the brand and customer experience should be at each touch point.  That’s not enough, however.  Marketing needs to get feedback, reports and measures in either a systematic or ad hoc manner to determine if the brand vision is being delivered or if refinements or major changes are needed.   In today’s customer-driven world, none of us owns the brand. Our customers do.  The best we can do is shape it.  We can do a better job of shaping if we monitor all touch points, whether 1:1 interaction, via social media, or the Web, so we can continually reinforce what’s working and abandon what’s not.

Ray Baird: Technology companies bring a complexity to branding and create a plethora of products names, which can be overwhelming to prospective customers.  What’s the best way for B2B companies to have the right philosophy and brand architecture, especially in regards to brand naming?

Grant Johnson:The best way to deal with this is to create a coherent brand architecture that provides structure and consistency to the branding process   A company must first decide if they will adopt and perpetuate a master brand strategy (Lexus), a house of brands (P&G), or an endorsed approach (Microsoft).  Next, brand architecture is a useful metaphor because successful brand building requires some level of hierarchy to define the relationship between the company brand and all the product lines or sub-brands.  One key structural consideration is to not create too many levels in brand architecture.  Most people have difficulty keeping more than two levels in their heads, so it’s best to manage to a more streamlined brand structure.   After all, today’s consumer is more inundated than ever with information and thus their attention level to any piece of information is brief, so you want to make it easier for a customer to identify with and understand your brand.

A second and related issue is product naming.  If you’re P&G and you can afford to spend $100 million to launch a new product or brand, go ahead and create a proprietary name.  If you’re like most companies I’ve worked with, such an investment is inconceivable, so I recommend having either descriptive product names or perhaps suggestive ones.  This also supports brand or product extension goals because customers can more easily relate to an existing frame of reference than a new one.  Simplicity and customer understanding should be the driving force in naming decisions.

Ray Baird: If you had one critical piece of advice for companies going through the rebranding process, what would it be?

Grant Johnson: You should hire an outside branding firm to help.  I’ve done this five times and while I personally have the expertise to figure it all out myself, having senior level, independent and objective branding experts to help you shape, propose and close on brand changes helps enormously.  The way I see it, I can have someone like Ray Baird tell my detracting? peers, “you have to go this way if you really want to stand out from the competition,” or “your ideas won’t work and here’s why.”  If I say that same thing, I might put them on the defensive or disenfranchise them during the critical change process.   To riff on one of my favorite past taglines from American Express, the #1 service brand in the world, don’t go on this journey alone.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Grant Johnson

A dynamic, senior-level technology executive with a proven track record building businesses on a global basis. As Chief Marketing Officer for Pegasystems in Cambridge, MA Johnson is responsible for worldwide marketing strategy and execution. He oversees corporate marketing, field marketing, industry marketing, product marketing, marketing programs, marketing communications, analyst and public relations, and global web strategy. Previously, Johnson was the Vice President of Marketing at Guidance Software (GUID) and Vice President of Marketing and served as an officer for FileNet Corp., a $400+ million enterprise software vendor acquired by IBM in 2006. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Marketing for FrontBridge, an email management vendor acquired by Microsoft. Johnson led the company’s re-naming and re-launch, built the marketing team and delivered integrated marketing programs to support significant and sustained revenue growth. He has also served as Director of Marketing for Symantec, with worldwide responsibility for the Norton brand, and as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ethentica, an enterprise security vendor. Johnson received his bachelor of arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University. He has also published several articles on best practices in high tech marketing and co-authored the book, PowerBranding™

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...