Challenge
A complex and confusing portfolio and brand architecture

ManpowerGroup is a U.S. multinational corporation headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is currently the third-largest staffing firm in the world. In recent years, the business landscape had begun to shift from talent sourcing and management to talent assessment and development. Accordingly, ManpowerGroup began to reflect these changes through its service offerings, fueled primarily through several strategic acquisitions. These acquisitions included Right Management (a company that offers solutions to identify and transition talent while optimizing business performance), and Experis (a workforce solutions company that specializes in skilled industries such as IT, finance, and engineering).

These additions also raised questions about the brand portfolio and architecture. Namely, although ManpowerGroup would technically remain a “house of brands,” should it begin to move toward the “branded house” end of the spectrum? And equally important, should it develop a greater sense of connection between the complementary businesses through a connected brand strategy and narrative? Finally, consistent with the shift referenced above, the underlying value proposition of the Masterbrand needed to transition from one that considers the candidate (i.e., employee) primarily to one that includes the client as well (i.e., organization)..

Solution
“Business agility” as a theme to unify the portfolio

FullSurge led a cross-BU and cross-functional client team to accomplish the objective of refining the brand architecture and defining a ManpowerGroup narrative, with the goal of creating greater linkage and synergies between the businesses and brands across the enterprise. We used a combination of data mining (existing market research), interviewing executives within each business unit, and conducting new primary qualitative research among customers and prospects to determine the optimal brand portfolio strategy and architecture for the business.

The key finding from our body of work was that the notion of “business agility”—the ability to flex and adapt to constantly changing commercial environments—was common across the businesses and a perceived strength of the ManpowerGroup brand. Importantly, it also represented a “white space” opportunity that no major competitor was attempting to own from a positioning perspective. With this finding in mind, we crafted a brand narrative that effectively linked the disparate businesses under a common umbrella, and identified an architecture that would more closely unify the individual brands, while still maintaining relevance to their respective stakeholders.

The key finding was that the notion of “business agility”—the ability to flex and adapt to constantly changing commercial environments—was common across the businesses and a perceived strength of the ManpowerGroup brand.
Impact
From strategy adoption to creative execution

ManpowerGroup embraced the strategic recommendations. Following our work, the company began to activate the recommendations in conjunction with agency and creative partners, including advertising, communications, and PR.

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