Repairing Brand Integrity: A Case Study

The global leader in employee relocation acquires leading service firm, but loses their way

Challenge:
The world leader in employee relocation had just completed the acquisition of another relocation firm that was known for their outstanding customer service. While the acquisition did offer a new level of capabilities and breadth of services worldwide, it did not improve overall service levels – whether reported by industry suppliers or by relocating employees and their families. Furthermore, the combined group had lost a sense of who they were and what their position in the market should be.



inferno – whose work with the acquired firm over 10 years had helped them grow from the 12th largest worldwide to the 3rd –  was asked to provide insight into how the brand had lost its way, and what it could do to move forward in a meaningful, consistent way that resonated with internal staff clients and stakeholders

Solution:
The brand integrity challenge here was a big one. By reaching for the golden ring of customer service excellence, the company had lost its positioning in other areas where they held a market lead. After meeting with leaders within the marketing department and reviewing communications both internal and external to the organization, we began interviewing key stakeholders throughout different areas of the company, including sales, operations, customer service, HR, and leadership. Our interviews focused on key cultural components as well as areas where the individuals felt the company could improve. We then turned our research focus to customers ­– existing, lapsed and potential – to understand how the public viewed them from the outside.

We analyzed the data and triangulated on the results to discover that it was not a marketing or messaging issue that was the obstacle to moving forward – but an operational one. While not a unique find during marketing discovery, what was unusual about this particular finding is how crystal clearly it affected the customer service numbers, and the company’s ability to speak to them

“They were trying to draw competitive battle lines in an area where they had no footing. We were able to show them where they could successfully claim a competitive advantage, and ultimately, help them do just that”

But more than discover what we couldn’t boast, we uncovered what we were uniquely capable of claiming: global leadership in a multitude of different aspects of relocation, combined with an unflagging desire to be the best. This led to:

An integrated external campaign that staked our leadership claim of “Trusted guidance –  for every move you make.”

A corporate refocus on overall depth of capabilities and breadth of services that were unmatched in the industry

An internal culture campaign that refocused the staff on the unique capabilities of the organization and the “why” of what we do every day

Learning:
The main takeaway from the effort was the recognition that Mergers and Acquisitions don’t always net the cultural transformation that was intended. In this case, the acquisition of a service-first organization did not magically transform the culture of the acquiring firm. Rather, organizational norms provided a governor on the ability to provide superior service.

When combining organizations, it’s important to look not only at what each brings to the table, but at what the reconstituted “whole” can claim as a brand – and to hammer that home both internally and externally.

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Equatue doluptat numsandreril ilis nostrud ex ea at, quam, sim in vullutatum ip ero consequis aut adit, quatet auguer irit nonsequis non vel ullamcorem irillandit lum voloborpero od magna faccum nonullaore facin ver sent iril

Equatue doluptat numsandreril ilis nostrud ex ea at, quam, sim in vullutatum ip ero consequis aut adit, quatet auguer irit nonsequis non vel ullamcorem irillandit lum voloborpero od magna faccum nonullaore facin ver sent iril