Over the past 12 months, I’ve worked on a number of very interesting projects for a wide range of industries: business services, financial services, engineering and construction. While at first glance this appears to be a haphazard approach to business development on my part, there is a common theme running through each of these projects. The common denominator is that each of these companies is a privately-held, B2B (business to business) company in the $5MM to $50MM revenue range facing an important, strategic decision. The purpose of these work stories is to highlight the recent projects I’ve worked on to give my audience a better understanding of the marketing strategy and business development work that I do.
The first project that I’d like to highlight is with an engineering services company serving Fortune 500 manufacturing companies such as BMW, Volvo, Caterpillar, and Alcoa. Here’s a high-level overview of the project.
Industry: Engineering Services
History: Founded in 1990
Location: U.S. (East Coast)
In the Fall of 2014, my client – we’ll call it EngCo – was at a strategic crossroads. EngCo began as a distributor of technical products. Over the years the company expanded into engineering, construction, and outsourced process management. In this new capacity as an engineering design company, the company found itself at the forefront of a newly emerging and potentially disruptive technology. The company had dipped its toes into this new market working with a handful of highly reputable Fortune 500 companies from 2013-2014.
- The company wanted to evaluate their current brand identity – which was squarely situated in its past as a technical products distributor.
- Did the original brand identity conflict in any way with its new direction in technical design and construction?
- Should a new brand be created for the new line of business?
- If so, what market attributes should this new brand represent?
- Who was the target audience for this new business?
- Where were the best opportunities for expansion into this new field?
- What were customers’ top reasons for interest in this new technology solution?
From these questions, we outlined two initiatives: 1) Brand Strategy, and 2) Market Research.
Company name and brand image are very important in communicating to prospective customers the essence and focus of your company. When a company’s name and brand image are not in alignment with the true nature of the product/service provided, it creates perception and attitudinal issues in the prospect’s mind. In initiative 1, we analyzed and discussed the desirability of a new brand name in regards to the new line of business.
In initiative 2, we identified approx. 30 companies with whom we wished to speak regarding their perceptions on the new market opportunity. Over the course of several weeks, I interviewed key people at each of these organizations using a structured interview questionnaire.
From the brand strategy initiative, we determined that the original brand identity was not in alignment with EngCo’s newly emerging technology solution. The original brand represented a business based in traditional, industrial supply distribution. As a result, we created a new brand name and identity that better positioned the company for expansion into this new market.
From the market research initiative, we identified where the best market opportunities lay in this new market. We were able to identify the opportunity in terms of geographic regions and customer benefit priorities.
EngCo will be launching into this newly emerging market with a new brand identity and a clear marketing strategy.