Simplifying the complex brand portfolio for a B2B telecommunications company
After years of growth and keeping up with technological improvements, the portfolio of a B2B telecommunications company providing Internet, phone, video, and networking services grew bloated and confusing for its customers. Product naming had been done in an ad hoc fashion. It followed no convention or strategy, which resulted in inconsistent language, and a focus on products and incremental technology improvements as opposed to higher order needs, benefits, or mental models that are relevant to customers. Further complicating the situation was the fact that buying behaviors differed by customer segments and by service area, so determining a singular way to organize offers in the entire portfolio was challenging.
The FullSurge team began by immersing ourselves in the client’s business, organizational structure, current/future offer set, and key competitors. After gaining this solid working knowledge, we conducted a series of senior management interviews from across the business including marketing, sales, service, and product development. While gaining deeper insights into the business through these interviews, we also clarified naming practices and processes, and surfaced hypotheses for how best to organize the portfolio—what we refer to as “organizing principle.” Coming out of the internal interviews we developed a set of key areas on which to gain market-based insights, as well as three distinct alternatives to structure the portfolio. The three distinct alternatives included: 1) by business size (e.g. small, medium, and large), 2) by industry (e.g. hospitality, healthcare), and 3) by degree of need (e.g. high, medium, low need depending on service area).
We took our hypotheses into a qualitative round of customer research to gain additional insights into positives and negatives, along with the requirements associated with a particular approach if it was adopted. We also gained insight into strategic priorities and needs relative to the category, as well as preferred naming conventions and category vernacular. This information guided the development of a survey where we quantified responses to these alternatives, the opportunity size for bundling, trends for preferred naming conventions, and rank ordering of feature importance by service area. After careful analysis of the data, we identified a convention that met the needs of the market, was intuitive to the client’s business, and was on-brand with their strategy to become more customer intimate.
The client embraced the recommendations and a long-term migration plan is underway. The new approach, based on level of need by service area, will help guide a new brand architecture for servicing customers in a more relevant way—one which is customer- and market-centric as opposed to internally defined.