Jay Kidd, the Chief Marketing Officer at NetApp, which was recently named the ‘Greatest Place to Work in America’, shared his rebranding experience with the delegates at the 2009 CMO Leadership Forum on Tuesday September 22, 2009.
Kidd’s company is a big player in almost every sector, banking, social media, motoring, you name it. When they thought of rebranding, various queries came up such as why the company would need to communicate its story all over again. The first thing the company did was change the logo, something he called the representational change. The new logo would catch the attention of potential customers in that they will notice that something new has happened. “I always think of the logo as like the stitches on your chest after a heart transplant. It’s the visible evidence that something has happened,” he said as he talked about his company’s new image.
Before the rebranding exercise, the company was known as Network Appliances though users commonly shortened as NetApp. After rebranding, the company decided to go by the name users knew them by rather than the internal name they had. Kidd said “So what we ended up with through this project is a unified name, a single name.”
The first step in the exercise was taking the executive team through an educational exercise, a kind of Marketing 101, as he said. The exercise though gruelling, proved to be fruitful since when it was concluded; the executive team was not only familiar with the brand they also believed in its potential.
“I realized at the end, the level of commitment and understanding we built among the executive team through this process, made them not only able to say the words when we rolled out the brand, but they believed it.” Kidd explained as he emphasised on the importance of involving the executive team in company changes.
Apart from internal marketing, NetApp also ran a massive interactive campaign that saw them delve into the five social media forums as well as launch a corporate awareness campaign in the States.
There was a lot of data collecting effort that was put into place which involved brand and media surveys. They also ran focus groups with a number of their employees and listened to their ideas. This process had a two way reward. The company management was able to know their employees and the employees were able to see themselves in the brand, see their work and ideas put into work.
Kidd believes that the rebranding went a long way in boosting the company’s market value and their growth rate is actually higher than their competitors. They are also more popular with new users than they were before. “Also, our rate of acquisition of brand-new accounts, who’d never purchased from NetApp before, went to record levels,” he said, expounding on the milestone the company achieved after the rebranding process.
While answering to a question on how the brand conveys, corporate culture Kidd remarked that NetApp believes in innovation as well as individual initiative. He said that a company should align its culture and value propositions. The way a company’s employees behave largely affects the value proposition and that it wasn’t hard for customers to see right through this.