I’ve had the chance to launch or relaunch brands many times in my career. The term ‘brand’ is heavily used and many cases over-used, but I believe it’s one of the most important elements of a company’s strategy and needed to be a top priority in my role as the new CMO for Televerde.
What does the Televerde brand mean to you?
We started our re-branding process by asking our employees this question. They responded with all the different elements that make-up a brand – the physical representations like our logo and colors, our demand generation solutions, our unique business model and so on. These things are all important elements of our brand, but my challenge was to deepen the understanding of the Televerde brand in the organization. It’s more than all of these individual things; it is everything we say and do… combined… to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The brand captures the essence of Televerde and is the perception that our prospects have when they hear our name. It’s both the emotional and tangible qualities and attributes for why a company would want to work with us. And that’s pretty important.
Televerde’s brand has been built over two decades as a best-in-class demand generation and teleservices provider. As a high-energy and results-oriented organization, we haven’t been resting on our history and successes. We have set forth a new future by expanding into international markets, building end-to-end demand gen services that go beyond our teleservices roots and embracing the marketing technology innovation space with new products and services. As the new CMO, my challenge was to help the company construct and expand the brand for this future growth.
Since the brand is everything we say and do, it was essential to develop it collaboratively. According to Wired, Uber’s CEO spent three years working alongside their design director to develop new logos, “hammering out ideas from a stuffy space they call the War Room.” This method wouldn’t work for us. First, we were evolving a brand, not creating a new one. Second, we did not have three years to spend in a War Room. And finally, our brand needed to be informed by the perceptions of our employees and clients.
Televerde is a mid-sized company, so spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new brand was not in the cards. We needed to find a resource with some real expertise and high quality work without breaking the bank. Following the tried and true brand development process was going to be a first for Televerde, so we wanted a strong partner that was agile and responsive to our unique mid-sized company needs.
I was lucky to find the perfect local expertise. Stacey Pilcher, CEO of Pilcher et al, had me hooked when she said, “When working on evolving a brand, sometimes I feel like a Sherlock Holmes. It takes a lot of fact finding and discovery, before you begin to see what the puzzle looks like.”
Brand development is an inclusive process involving the company from the start, getting input and sharing findings, so everyone can walk along the development process and understand why the brand is relevant to them. It also means hearing from our customers, uncovering meaningful tidbits regarding our performance – strengths and weaknesses – and how they perceive we stack-up against the competition.
Throughout the process, we began to recognize patterns and pieces fitting together; discovering perceptions, personality, and position. The uniqueness of Televerde began to emerge and our story grew from the reams of information we gathered. Who we are as an organization became clear – our relevance to our customers, employees and community. Now, all we had to do was translate this abstract concept into language, shapes, colors, style and actions, all those tangible things that make a brand real to people.
We started with the logo creating a mark to tell our story of growth–growth in the sense of partnering for growing client revenue and how we also help our employees and communities grow. The growth story is a dynamic and meaningful one that captures the culture of Televerde. We created a new tagline to clearly and simply state how we help our clients. We built a brand book to help our employees understand the totality of the brand and rally their support and enthusiasm. We re-designed the website to reflect the Televerde of today and tomorrow to our customers. We reconstructed our presentations, visually yes, but more importantly throughout the content to speak with our new voice and message. And, we redesigned environmental graphics to present a consistent story to employees and visitors.
Whew! That took nearly six months of intense focus with Pilcher et al keeping us on track. But as we launched the brand internally, and saw how our employees energized behind the concepts and related to our new look and feel, we knew we had taken a big step forward. And when we announced it externally, we struck a note with our customers – “Congratulations on your new brand, it represents Televerde well, as a company we know is committed to our success.”
No process is perfect, and evolving a brand takes a lot of collaboration. It reminds of a quote from Lewis Carol “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” Working together, sifting through clues your brand will emerge telling a unique story and energizing the future.
I’m also sharing the redesign of our main lobby. Let me know what you think.