B2B Rebranding: Tips and Tricks
There are many different reasons to rebrand, but if it’s just to change the logo and colors to “freshen things up,” that’s not it. A rebrand has to be more a coat of paint on an old barn, and while we talk a lot about that here on Renegade Marketers Unite, this episode brings three different 3 rebranding stories to the forefront.
Tune in to learn about three different B2B rebrands from CMOs Heather Salerno of Appcast, Marshall Poindexter of OpenEye Scientific, and Gabi Zijderveld of Smart Eye. They share all kinds of goodies, like how to get buy-in for rebranding efforts, how to work with agency partners, how much to budget for a rebrand, and more. Don’t miss it!
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- How to get buy-in from the C-Suite
- How to measure B2B brand efforts
- Tips for managing branding agency partners
- Marshall’s interview on customer marketing
- Gabi’s interviews on Affectiva & Emotion AI and category creation
- Renegade Marketing on Amazon
- Share Your Genius
- CMO Huddles
- Bonus Huddle replay: Ross Graber on marketing metrics
- Carla Piñeyro Sublett’s interview on rebranding
- Appcast agency partner: Something Familiar
- Appcast brand video
- Smart Eye brand video
- [3:28] Heather Salerno on Appcast’s rebrand
- [10:18] Marshall Poindexter on OpenEye Scientific’s rebrand
- [16:20] Gabi Zijderveld on Smart Eye’s rebrand
- [24:52] CMO Huddles testimonials
- [27:40] Measuring the impact of a new brand
- [32:09] “Aha” moments in the B2B branding process
- [37:13] Working with branding agency partners
- [40:08] How much should you budget for a rebrand?
- [42:30] CMO-certified B2B brand-building tips
“Find a good agency with people that you enjoy working with. You're going to spend a lot of time with them.” —Heather Salerno @appcast_io Click To Tweet “Employees can be your best brand ambassadors. They want to feel like they're contributing to the company's success, and you can empower them with high-level messages to share about the brand.” —@mpoindexter @OpenEyeSoftware Click To Tweet
Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 305 on YouTube
Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Heather Salerno, Marshall Poindexter, and Gabi Zijderveld
Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you will also enjoy audiobooks. Well in that case, did you know that the audio version of Renegade Marketing 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands, was recently ranked the number one New B2B audio book by book authority. It’s kind of cool, right? You can find Renegade Marketing on Audible or your favorite audio book platform. Now speaking of podcast before we get into today’s show, I want to do a shout out to the podcast professionals at share your genius. We started working with him about four months ago to make this show even better, and had been blown away by both their strategic and executional prowess. They’ve helped us improve the show in big and little ways. So much so that our monthly downloads have doubled. That’s right, they’ve doubled. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or wanting to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at share your genius.com and tell her drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode. Hello, Renegade. Marketers Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of Renegade Marketers live our live show, featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles a community that’s sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week. This time we’ve got a conversation with Heather Salerno of Appcast, Marshall Poindexter of OpenEyes Scientific, and Gabi Zijderveld of SmartEye that focuses on their company’s recent rebrands. It’s a really interesting conversation with lots of lessons learned two things before we start one during the live show. We played some brand video examples from the guests. They’re not in the podcast, but you could watch them in the show notes at renegade.com. Two there’s some audio distortion for about six minutes of this recording. But there’s a lot of goodness in there so we left it in. Now let’s dive in!
Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing at Renegade, Drew Neisser.
Drew Neisser: I’m your host Drew Neisser Live from Jupiter, Florida. And today we are going to be speaking frankly about the challenges that many B2B CMOs face getting their companies to think about, let alone invest, in brand building. In a couple of CMO Huddles last year, we came up with numerous euphemisms for brand and brand building because many CEOs and boards consider any reference to brand as a plea to waste money on fluffy stuff. In this world view investing in demand gen is good, spending on brand is bad. This leaves many CMO in a ridiculous quandary. Either trying to educate the purse string holders on the interdependence between brand and demand or to relegate brand building to an afterthought or simply labeling brand building something else like “air cover for the salespeople”, or “category building” or “revenue marketing” or my favorite “brand inquisition”. Like so many CMO related challenges, it’s complicated. But here’s the good news. We have three amazing CMOs to help you sort it all out. And with that, let’s bring in Heather Salerno, CMO of Appcast. Hello, Hi there.
Heather Salerno: Hi, Drew.
Drew Neisser: How are you? And where are you?
Heather Salerno: I am great. I am in Needham, Massachusetts, which is about 30 minutes outside of Boston.
Drew Neisser: All right. Okay. Well, I know that you’ve been at Appcast for a couple years now. First, just tell us what Appcast is for those who are unaware of it.
Heather Salerno: You bet. So Appcast helps companies with high volume hiring needs. So we work with recruiting teams to help them find more candidates faster, cheaper. We’re based in New Hampshire, right near Dartmouth, and then have staff all over the globe.
Drew Neisser: Is there a Dartmouth connection?
Heather Salerno: A bunch of our staff went to Dartmouth and now have family members who work there as well. But other than that.
Drew Neisser: Well, go be green because my son went there so it’s kind of anyway love that area. Anyway, first of all, business must be really good because people are hiring like crazy, just replacement and then certainly in the B2B world there’s tremendous growth so it must be a busy time.
Heather Salerno: It is a very busy time. We’ve been looking a lot lately in the labor market and trying to do what we can to help our customers.
Drew Neisser: When you got there, I think it was about two and a half years ago. Can you talk a little bit about your initial mandate, as it related to say demand gen versus brand building?
Heather Salerno: Yep. So I have an awesome boss—and I’m not just saying that, in case you ever hear this—but he was incredibly clear that I had a three part mandate, he was super clear, number one, drive leads. Number two, improve sales, messaging and materials. And then three, build the Appcast brand. Now interestingly, though, in retrospect, I think what he meant was build Appcast brand awareness. But what I realized was that before we could build up past brand awareness, we really needed to think more strategically about Appcast brand, what did we stand for? What were our values? What was our personality? The good news is I had a lot of great source material, because Appcast had very strong cultural values, great people, and a really like delightfully quirky personality. So there was a lot to work with. But you know, the first step really had to be looking at was their alignment between our actual brand values, and then how that was being represented with our visual identity.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, and I’m really interested in that I want to talk about the process that you went to. So the values were established and clear as part of the culture, how did you then go about thinking, “Alright, well, these are our values. But here’s how that translates into”—one could use the word purpose, or why you exist or some other thing that ultimately becomes something that looks like a brand and messaging?
Heather Salerno: Well, I have to say we were guided by an incredible agency called “Something Familiar”, they’re based in the UK, they took us through this incredible process. And were—with us each step of the way, we had quite a bit of educating to do of our senior leadership team and my boss around what the different steps were of the process, and to really educate the group on, you know, just because we want to exactly as you said, build brand awareness really to drive more leads, we can’t do that without taking these kind of critical first steps. And so through partnership with this expert agency, they really led us. I learned a ton, I would not have considered myself a brand expert before starting this project two and a half years ago, I still—I feel like I now know enough to know how little I know. But I feel like we were just guided by fantastic partners.
Drew Neisser: From the moment that you hired this agency to the point that you—we’ll call it revealed the new brand’s story, how long did it take?
Heather Salerno: It was pretty quick. Gosh I think it was maybe—maybe this won’t sound quick—It was felt quick to me, you know, six or seven months, they were amazing. And we went through several steps, we had to do things. And again, this was fully supported by the agency, we had to do things like you know, socializing, really engaged with the change management around, you know, here’s why we need to evolve the logo and evolve our colors. And they helped us they, you know, they would put together these wonderful decks where we would say, look at these existing really well known brands that have gone through this similar process of a brand refresh. You think about a company like MasterCard, and we think, oh, you know, MasterCard has always looked like this? Well, no, they actually have evolved their visual identity over time. And so there was, you know, a lot of work being done on the front end. But then there was also work being done in the back end to bring the organization along with that change management.
Drew Neisser: Which is interesting. And this is such an important part to me. And I write about this a lot in the book, that branding build begins at home, right? We’ve got to get our employees involved, we’ve got to get the leadership involved and invested and committed. But often you can rebrand without changing your logo or your colors. I mean, you can go out with a new brand story. And I’m curious what happened that made you all feel, “Alright, we really have to bite the bullet. And we look.”
Heather Salerno: It’s such a great question. The issue is that while there were some things that were true, so we are a data and tech company, so yes, we have a lot of smart people who work at Appcast. However, there’s also a warmth, that’s real part of our personality. And yes, we are serious and determined and earnest, but we also have this quirkiness. So what the agency pushed us on is that what we were conveying with our kind of old colors of blues and greens was unintentionally cold. And there was this warmth that was not being conveyed. We weren’t showing our humanity enough. And so they did an awesome job of—they didn’t completely scrap the the colors, but they enlivened and really enriched the blue made it brighter, you know, we kept the green, but then we added this lovely kind of—we kind of argue internally, is it coral or is it salmon?—it’s not orange, so I can tell you that but you know, we added this kind of warmer color as well. I knew nothing about fonts when I started I now know like a little bit more than nothing but you know, the font really makes a difference. The old site and it was fine, you know, just to be clear to like to my colleagues who worked on it before it was fine, but you’ll see it’s, you know, it is sort of cold and what we did was we brought in this new kind of richer, deeper color palette, kind of more of this, like, you know, B2C versus B2B feel. And the imagery you’re gonna see around funnel that is because just like in marketing, we care about lead funnels to our audience, they care about their recruitment funnels. And so for us, it’s a lot about how do you find more candidates and get them into your hiring funnel?
Drew Neisser: All right, well, there we have it, we’re gonna come back and we’ll talk about some of the choices that you made. But it’s great. Thank you for sharing that. Let’s get Marshall Poindexter, who is the CMO of OpenEye Scientific and the star of episode 15 of this show, that was 18 episodes ago, Marshall, welcome back!
Marshall Poindexter: Glad to be here. Thanks so much for having me here.
Drew Neisser: I know that many of your associates at OpenEye are engineers and scientists. And these are not necessarily it’s funny to hear Heather talk about emotional connections and things. These are folks that are not necessarily famous for recognizing either the value of marketing, let alone branding. So let’s start there, and how you’ve sort of helped open their eyes, dare I say, to the value of marketing in general and brand. Let’s just talk about that.
Marshall Poindexter: Since I joined OpenEye Scientific, I’ve been on a mission to really help strengthen the company’s brand as our virus have shifted slightly from the scientific users of the past the, computational chemists, the medicinal chemists who work in pharma companies or biotech companies, to the pharmaceutical and biotech executive to oversee the budgets, but don’t necessarily use our software that helps model molecules in the early stage drug discovery process. So what we did is we hired a Brand agency, interestingly, not that dissimilar from Heather we hired an agency in the UK, Ron marketing, has expertise in the life sciences industry to really—first of all, interview our customers and our prospects, understand what was important to them. And then facilitate workshops with our executive team and our top scientists and our sales leaders to figure out what makes our offerings distinctive in the market. And how does that jive with what our prospects and customers are telling us. And what was really interesting was the 100% consistency of responses both from our prospects and customers and from our internal teams that are distinctive around science and good science, that consistency shocked even our agency, we’ve never seen that before. So that was really an “aha” moment. For our executive leadership team, both to reinforce our heritage in science, but also provide a springboard for enhancing and augmenting our message for the 21st century. It actually helped turn our founder CEO, who himself as a scientist, into the beginnings of an advocate for branding, which was not an easy feat.
Drew Neisser: So many things that I want to break down in there. I mean, interviews, a very common thing, talk a little bit about the workshops, and what those were. Were their brand values workshop, were there multiple ones, and what were the sort of the framework for those?
Marshall Poindexter: We started—or had the agency start, we gave them a list of a bunch of prospects and customers. And we talked through a list of questions that they were going to ask them about what was important to them around software that did the work that our software did. And then what did they think of OpenEye? And then what we basically did is we took some of those same questions. And in these workshops, we first had a workshop with our senior executive team. So our CEO, our Chief Commercial Officer, our Chief Technology Officer, our Chief Scientific Officer, some of the other like VPs in the company, and ask them some similar questions. And then we had a separate workshop with our top kind of science leaders, the folks that actually create the scientific applications in our software, as well as our top sales leaders and application scientists. And so there were two separate workshops. But what was interesting was the congruence of the responses and how they were similar to what our prospects and customers were telling us. But we also heard some things from our prospects and customers in the report out from the research, that was quite different things that they were looking for, that we weren’t aware of that would then influence how we would enhance and augment our brand going forward.
Drew Neisser: Interesting. So there was a opportunity that the research exposed, I guess, is the best way of putting it and some perceptual gap between what you all thought was out there and what they thought of you and what maybe you could be for these folks, there was some disconnect. Because if everything was good, right? If they knew exactly who you were, and they understood everything, life is easy, you can just keep moving.
Marshall Poindexter: Yeah, the good news was, it was actually good that there was some congruence and that there was some validation between our internal team and our prospects and customers that science was our distinctive, because that actually validated that doing any of this brand work was worthwhile. Because again, there was a lot of skepticism going into this, our CEO was like, “Why do we need to do this?” But when he saw that congruence, he was like, “Okay, now I get why we’re doing this. This is important.” That hooked Tim and the other leaders and then they were more open to hear some of the feedback they weren’t expecting that to your point was the perception gap that then help them realize, “Well, maybe we do need to make some adjustments in how we tell our story, how we go to market how we look.” Although I will say that our CEO is very clear, we are not changing the logo.
Drew Neisser: There are a couple of things that you said that it just reminded me of some painful moments and rebranding programs that I worked on and remember vowing that I would never do another one where the CEO was skeptical, because if they start out skeptical, it’s rare. And so you were lucky that the process brought him or her along often—and this is just my experience that that can derail the process. If the CEO is skeptical, what happens is when the brand is rolled out the CEO is uninvested. And it becomes a real problem because they’re just, “Uh I’m doing this because the marketing person said I did.” Not that this is an opportunity for us to transform the organization. That’s amazing that that happened. I think you’re very fortunate, you know, the light bulb went off at that moment.
Marshall Poindexter: But it was a testament to the agency that we selected. So we were very picky about the agency we work with Ron marketing did a fantastic job. But then secondly, their process was really what sold us that this could actually convince our leadership team that this was a good thing. And yes, it was able to celebrate when I was hopeful that it would come out with the result that we got, it was a little bit of _______, a lot of it was just getting the right partner.
Drew Neisser: It’s funny. You mentioned the thing about process. I sent an email today to one of our fellow huddlers, who was contemplating this and starting up began to look at agencies and I just said process is as important as outcome when it comes to this. You’ve got to bring people along, execs and employees. So we’ll definitely be back and talk about the rest of this journey. But now we’re going to bring on Gabi Zijderveld, the CMO of SmartEye and start of episode 7 of this show, and episode 106 of Renegade Marketers Unite. Hello, Gabi. Welcome back!
Gabi Zijderveld: Hey, Drew, thanks for having me again.
Drew Neisser: It’s great to see you. And just to sort of ground the folks —I forgot to ask Marshall where he was, but I knew—where are you today?
Gabi Zijderveld: I am at home in Somerville, Massachusetts, actually not too far from where Heather is.
Drew Neisser: I know you guys could have gotten together and hung out and done a joint effort. Okay.
Gabi Zijderveld: Next time!
Drew Neisser: Next time! So when we last spoke, you were at Affectiva, which was acquired by SmartEye, talk a little bit about that transition. And again, so a little bit unusual that the acquiring you know, you weren’t the acquired brand, but you ended up becoming CMO for the parent company.
Gabi Zijderveld: Yeah, so SmartEye is today, we’re positioned as the leader in human inside AI. So we make technology that can understand support and predict human behavior in very complex environments. And our technology is predominantly known for being deployed in automotive. So it’s automotive tech. And we build things such as driver monitoring systems, so understanding driver behavior, drowsiness, distraction, and then enabling car manufacturers with all the data we provide to build the appropriate interventions in a vehicle. There’s a lot more to that. But that’s essentially the core of what we’re known for. At Affectiva, we started the field of emotion AI and we were also becoming active in automotive and there are definitely a lot of synergies between the two companies and we have been talking partnership for quite some time when the conversation shifted to, “Hey, we actually want to buy you guys.” Early on, it became very clear that the CEO of SmartEye was quite enchanted with the brand work we have done that Affectiva. He was kind of eyeing as a potential competitor in the future, he really admired our marketing and when I first started talking to him—well before closing the acquisition—it became apparent that he was quite keen on building something similar for the SmartEye company. And he also told me that almost by— well I wouldn’t quite call it by design—but by circumstance they had really under invested in marketing so they knew they were behind and even before Affectiva came along, they had to do something better and update basically what they stood for as a company. Also they did not have a senior season marketing leader so really I was the right person at the right time at the right place.
Gabi Zijderveld: Walking in, I love it. Let’s talk about then you have these two brands, they need to become one brand you sort of have to consolidate the story. Talk a little bit about the rebranding exercise that you’ve gone through a little bit, what were some of the initial steps
Gabi Zijderveld: Okay, so I gotta stop you there. So this has happened. And I tell the story in the book, there are many times in my career where the “aha!” moment happened, the right words came out, put them on a page. And in one case, in one story, I tell in the book, the moment which was for Family Circle, where family comes first, just a great line ended up being on the magazine for 19 years. However, that was all they did with this. And it was because we never actually had buy in from the pub to really invest in the idea of it. And so when you have this moment of human insight AI, and you can see all the things as a marketer, you can sort of see where it goes, how did the process of getting everybody else on board work? As was it just “Hey, I thought of this, let’s all go!” I mean, in which case, you are blessed to work for an egoless environment where.
Gabi Zijderveld: Yeah, it was really interesting and a little tricky, right? Because we got acquired but essentially it was a merger of the two companies. So SmartEye and Affectiva blending together into a new organization. Where as SmartEye, for about two decades, was known in the global leader in eye tracking systems. They as a company had already outgrown that because they were doing a lot more and now Affectiva comes along and all our emotion AI technology is part of this. So we could no longer claim we’re the global leader in eye tracking, we’re the global leader in bots. And it basically resulted in super fascinating discussions. Thankfully the CEO of SmartEye and Rana el Kaliouby the founder and CEO of Affectiva—who is still also with the SmartEye company as Deputy CEO—The two of them were very invested in working with me on figuring this out. Of course, there were a lot of press work that was done, press release all the supporting assets announcing this acquisition—which was a big deal it got announced in the industry that was a forcing function and really forced us to get together in a room and with our PR agency hash out, “Okay, how are we going to talk about this company?” We landed at first on something a little bit generic that we were going to become this global AI juggernaut that was going to build this amazing technology, across industries. But starting with automotive. That was fine, it carried us through the acquisition announcements, but then as I dig into marketing with my Swedish team members, because SmartEye is headquartered in Sweden, with my team in the US, we realized like everything needs to be outdated. And globally, our juggernaut is fine for a press release, perhaps. But that’s not really who we are. So we thankfully had the CEOs of the two companies super invested in it be together with an agency. And I can tell you more about that later, that was interesting, too. We had many, many conversations, you know, global leader in what? And then eventually—actually, I was on one of my many pandemic walks in lovely day for square Somerville—when it came to me, it’s really human insight AI, we build technology that provides insight into human behavior in complex environments. And with that data, we can understand and support and predict and handle this human behavior. I came back to the group and it stuck. Everyone’s like, “Okay, this, this is it, this is the path forward.” And that’s really that happened this summer. So a couple of months after the acquisition, I think it was August. And that propelled us into a six month exercise that we’re basically still in, we’re kind of on the tail end, but we’re still in it.
Gabi Zijderveld: No, never right. What was actually really interesting. And this is also it’s still a learning process, I think for all of us, because there truly are cultural differences. Sweden is very much a consensus building society. Whereas in the US, we’re more inclined to sometimes make top down decisions and just make a decision and move on disputes in general really like to think things over take their time to think it over. And then they want to make sure that everyone’s okay with that. And so we’re relying on this human AI thing. We’re beginning to define it, we’re building it out, we’re kind of building a narrative, a brand’s story around it, and the CEOs are liking it. The agency is liking it, we’re seeing a path forward. But no, no, no, no, we have to get this improved by the entire leadership team, you know, which now with this merger, and it hadn’t been streamlined yet, at the time was about 14 or 15 people. And we happen to have this annual strategy kickoff where everyone was in the same room in Gothenburg, Sweden. And the CEO really wanted me to get everyone to be okay with it. So I’m like, “Oh, okay.” I was kind of fine deciding and moving on. But I’m like, Okay, I’m a team player here. Let’s do this. Everyone at first. “Yeah,” everyone’s like, “Yeah, yeah, sounds good.” So I’m kind of thinking, okay, thumbs up around the room, and we move on, but no no no, then we have to sleep on it literally. Like, let’s have everyone think about it overnight. And then the next day, let’s get back together. Now, thankfully, this ended up being a 48 hour process, it could have also taken four months, which some other things did. But we came to an agreement, everyone was a big thumbs up. There was soon thereafter, a board meeting where the CEO took it to the board, who were quite enchanted and delighted with the early materials we showed. Then after that board meeting, we had a company meeting, where typically we do a read out on the financials, because we’re a publicly traded company, we briefly presented it to the company as well, again, super big thumbs up, right? The concept resonated. And then it was on the marketing team to start updating every single thing related to the comp, right.
Drew Neisser: So there’s that moment where you’re presenting it to this group of people and they say that they review it for 48 hours. That’s a rip your heart out moment. I just know I have been there. It’s a horrible thing when you know you have it. And again, the risk at that moment is it’s so easy to kill ideas at that moment. And here’s the reality of it also, and we’re going to take a break in a second, but the reality is, no idea is great until you make it real. So there you have it. So I’m gonna plug CMO Huddles for a second. I know that you’ll help me out in talking about this. We launched CMO Huddles in 2020. It’s an invitation only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. One CMO described huddles as timely conversations with smart peers in a trusted environment, while another called did a cross between an expert workshop and a therapy session, and since Heather, Marshall, and Gabi are all huddlers, feel free to sort of, you know, share your experience and sort of thoughts and did those words describe what we’re talking about here?
Marshall Poindexter: Yeah, you know, CMO Huddles has been the single best group I’ve joined in my entire career. I have gained so much insight and wisdom from the unselfish and generous best practice sharing that my peers and colleagues and friends in CMO Huddles has provided. And it more than pays for itself. I highly recommend it. And Drew is an amazing facilitator for all over CMO Huddles conversations.
Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re just gonna end the show right now. Thank you, Gabi or Heather, anything to add?
Gabi Zijderveld: Marshall, you captured it so well. But I to this day, remember, the first CMO Huddle we did Drew—or the first one I was part of—and it was in the early early days of the pandemic, let me roll just like kind of dumbstruck and figuring out what the heck was going on in the world and how we were all going to have to adapt. And from the early days, just the trust based empathy and sharing and helping each other succeed. That ethos stuck, right. And now what are we, you know, good two years in, it’s still at the core of CMO, Huddles, and I’ve met so many amazing folks like Heather and Marshall here today and have had so many frank conversations, it’s just been amazing. Definitely one of the best peer groups I’ve ever been part of.
Drew Neisser: Love it! Heather?
Heather Salerno: I would just add, I think it’s a really cost effective way to have access to these insights and best practices and to get tips on the best vendors that people have worked with. And in some cases that not so great vendors that people have worked with just really open. And you know, the other thing I’d add is, we can all get so caught up in our own challenges that, you know, to your point about therapy session, it’s not that it’s nice to hear about people’s challenges. But you know, what is nice is occasionally when you’ve had experience with something, and you can actually share your experience and help a huddler when you can, you know, kind of contribute to that community and not just be kind of taking the ideas and insights for yourself.
Drew Neisser: Thank you for that, those insights and couple of you mentioned the the value that it delivers. It just it really warms my heart is what I’m saying. So if you’re a B2B CMO that can share and care and dare with the best of them, visit CMOhuddles.com, or hit me up on LinkedIn to see if you qualify for a guest pass. Let’s get to our full body B2B branding discussion. So one of the challenges that you all face is, you know, you got to get budget for an agency, you got to get budget for the process. And then of course, you got to get budget for executing because there’s no good coming up with this thing and not being able to execute it. And in order to get budget, you need to be able to talk about metrics. So I’m curious. And we’ll just start with Heather, talk a little bit about how you’re thinking about measuring the impact of this new brand program?
Heather Salerno: I would say we’re still on a journey here to get to the perfect KPIs. But we have been looking at engagement through our social channels, traffic to our website, that is always lovely, when, along with the investment in brand comes an increase in demand gen. And I would love to say that that was, you know, I hope certainly that there has been a strong connection there. We have seen tremendous lift in the interest in Appcast. You know, we have also been working with a PR agency. And so looking at share a voice and mentions, etc. That’s been another very helpful metric for us.
Drew Neisser: Interesting, Marshall, what about you? Now I know you’re still in the process of developing materials and getting this out there. But have you already talked about metrics for brands?
Marshall Poindexter: Yeah, we’re starting to talk about we haven’t fully rolled out the enhanced brand yet. We’re still just finishing that up. But we’re already starting to think about how are you going to measure kind of Top of Mind aided and unaided brand awareness? How are we going to measure brand perception brand sentiments, purchase intends, we’re already starting to figure out and calculate what would our customer lifetime value be and our brand loyalty as it relates to that? So kind of building on some of the same metrics that Heather mentioned, we want to tackle that too. But we want to also look at these more higher level strategic metrics now, what tools we’re going to use to do that, what partners are we going to need to bring to help us do that? We haven’t yet figured that out. But we will soon.
Drew Neisser: And Gabi, I know we talked about this a little bit in the huddle because you referenced my book, but let’s talk a little bit about what, we’ll call it, the low budget ways that you’re thinking about.
Gabi Zijderveld: For us I think just a lot of low hanging fruit because in the past, the SmartEye company really didn’t do that many measurements around any of the marketing. And now we’re basically in the middle of reworking all brand assets, including a website update and it’s given us an opportunity to reflect on, “Okay, what is just a bare minimum that we should be tracking,” because even that hadn’t been done in the past. For myself formulated it into really three buckets, obviously, a very obvious, you know, increasing brand awareness and visibility for the company. So measuring a lot of the same things that Heather and Marshall and measuring definitely PR has always been a good lever. So what a share of voice? What are the dimensions? What kind of site traffic do we see? Do we see our site traffic increase if we put better content out there? What kind of engagement on social media mentions a social media? And I really did find your book, Drew, super helpful there. Because there’s no way I’m going to have a budget anytime soon to do a really in depth brand study, nor do I think I have the time or energy to even conceive of that. And it would be overkill, right now. Let’s get the basics in place first, and your book actually gave us some really good ideas of, you know, what are some of the things we could be measuring, we’re beginning to dive into that. And then there’s two other categories we’re going to look at, which is for some of our business areas, demand gen as a lead generation is definitely relevant. And we want to generate more high quality leads. But for example, for our automotive business, it’s really not about lead gen. We’re talking to all the car manufacturers already. So it’s making sure that key stakeholders in those accounts are aware of what we’re doing that we keep them engaged with the content we put out, that’s another area a little bit of a light touch Account Based Marketing approach.
Drew Neisser: I mean, there aren’t that many car manufacturers. Although thanks to electric there are a lot more than there were 10 years ago. So really, this comes down to what Ross Graber was talking about, in our bonus huddle on metrics, it’s for you, it’s what percentage of those opportunities are you actually participating in. And, you know, one way to look at awareness is if you have high awareness, most likely, you’re gonna get to participate in all the opportunities. And if you have low awareness, you’re probably not going to participate in any of them. And just for the listeners, because I did this the other day in an earlier show, and at least a couple people hit me up for it, I’m more than happy to send you the chapter on metrics in my book, chapter 10. Measure what matters, hit me up on LinkedIn, I’ll send you that chapter. And I think you’ll get some ideas on how to measure on the cheap. Okay, you guys have all gone through this process, your various stages of it, I’m just wondering about aha moments, when the members suddenly get the brand. I’m gonna go to you, Marsha, because we talked about that a bit. What was it that sort of helped your CEO get it?
Marshall Poindexter: He founded the company 25 years ago—actually next week, so he knows the company intimately. And the fact that aspects and customers were telling us in the brand research, basing our brand, the scientific work that we do is critical, has been critical needs to continue to be critical. That was his “aha” moment. Because he said, “That’s it, I built this company to be based on science, you’re telling me what I want to hear. And you’re telling me that we should keep doing that.” So that validated for him that this framework was worthwhile, and that he should, you know, listen to what the recommendations were to the perception gaps, with customers and prospects.
Drew Neisser: Right. And so there was this moment of, we’re on the same page, you just validated 25 years of my life, because this company is called the OpenEye Scientific, we’ve been delivering that and the customer saying, “Yeah, that’s really important to us.” AND—not but—but and we can add to the story. And that’s so interesting, as a reminder to you all, as a CMO, when you if you don’t really know what your CEO thinks about his brand and his business and don’t have that as a core level of understanding and can’t deliver information that sort of validates some of the core beliefs of them, you may run into a problem. So that’s a great “aha” moment, Gabi, Heather, an “aha” moment for you?
Heather Salerno: I would say that when the agency that we were working with, and I can’t remember if I said their name before it, but it’s Something Familiar, the first time that they presented their findings to our CEO, and they spoke so passionately and articulately about this incongruence, you know, this lack of congruence between what they saw and what they had heard from their interviews with customers, employees, the leadership team, and then what they saw. And when they presented that to the CEO, I think because they are experts, and they had the words that maybe I didn’t have. He’s so smart and reasonable that he was like, “Okay, I get it. Like I get why we need to make a change and why we need to refresh.”
Drew Neisser: And I just want to sort of remind the folks that are listening, this is one of the things you can do a lot in house, you can do so much in house today. And it’s such as—because personally I’ve done a lot of these rebranding things, and Renegade has—having an outsider, being able to talk and show your brand and show a mirror to your brand to your executives will be invaluable. Okay, Gabi, another “aha” moment for you?
Gabi Zijderveld: Yeah, I think for me, there was certainly an “aha” moment for me personally, right? The company had already—I think in 2016—Creativited a brand book with an agency that they had been using. It’s a boutique firm called Milk in Gothenburg. So I more or less inherit the agency. And I made a point of getting to know these people early in the summer, I really actually liked their work, I clicked with them personally, I’m like, I’m not going to shake this up. I’m going to work with these guys. And the CEO of SmartEye had already established a relationship with this agency, and had been invested in that prior brand book. So my “aha” moment was, you know, I can work on the messaging until the cows come home and update the website. But no, we’re going to update the Brand Book, we’re going to literally together with the agency and the two CEOs, step through the brand book, page by page and discuss all content. And this is where I do—I have gotten appreciation for the Swedish approach of taking your time and building consensus, I really got to appreciate that in this process. Yes, it took several months, maybe even half a year, but it forced us to revisit every single word we use to describe the company in a very thoughtful and deliberate manner. It took a lot of time, but it was a really productive process.
Drew Neisser: It should take a lot of time. And I well we used to get RFPs and say, “We want to rebrand, and we need it in six weeks.” And we’ll say “Thanks. Yeah, that’s not going to work.” And it’s not going to work because you’re thinking about this as a logo and a color thing. And when it’s really about transforming the company and delivering a new promise and backing it up with change behavior. Anyway, this is the moment in time in the show where I always ask what would Ben Franklin say. And what’s interesting to me in this thing is the process that we’re going through here, the strategic process, every agency has a slight different process. But the important thing is they have a process and they go through it and that you do this thing step by step and that this is not guesswork. There’s a process here that goes on. So what Franklin would say is “He that lives on hope, dies fasting.” This is not a process that is about I hope this works because that won’t work out. No, you got to get commitment. And one of the things that Gabi just said that I think is so important in all this is you do need your executive team to be on board, you do need your employees to be on board. Enough of my preaching, let’s get back to the guests. You’ve all worked with agency partners, how about a tip on working with them and getting the most out of them. Marshall?
Marshall Poindexter: Even though our brand and agency partner has expertise in the life sciences industry, we did have to spend considerable time educating them on our unique industry segment in pharma and biotech software and the buyers that we serve, I would say it’s important to set aside time upfront to really help the agency grasp your buyers, your company, your products and services, value proposition and positioning and messaging, they may have a—hopefully they will have some background, hopefully you picked an agency that has some understanding, but to really help them get you and your buyers, you’ve got investable time to educate them and get them just really rock solid on that.
Drew Neisser: I think this goes back to this process of making sure that your executives know what they’ve signed up for and that they’re going to participate in that whoever is going to be doing the educating is committed to being available. Heather, what about you in terms of working with your agency?
Heather Salerno: Something Familiar, our agency, frankly, I think they I think they managed me as much as I managed them. And I think that’s really important because I think an effective relationship. It’s based on respect, it’s a two way street. And frankly, we needed to be pushed a little bit, we were a little bit of a uptight Northeastern tech company based in New Hampshire. And they pushed us and you know, we were here, they maybe wanted us to go here and we got to here, right? We got to a happy medium, but we wouldn’t have gotten there if they hadn’t pushed us. So Gabi, you kind of alluded to this, but working with people with whom you connect, with whom there’s trust, and respect and let them push you
Drew Neisser: Interesting. I did an interview with Carla Piñeyro Sublett is now the CMO at IBM and she had gone through a rebranding at NI and I remember her saying The agency said to her, “Well, one of these ideas are going to feel really safe and this one is going to scare the crap out of you.” And I love that and there is a feeling there. Because if it’s so comfortable that it doesn’t challenge you at all, then there’s a chance it’s boring. It’s it doesn’t do it. Okay, Gabi, what’s your tip for for managing your agency partners?
Gabi Zijderveld: Yeah, actually what both Marshall and Heather said really resonated. But I think what frost proved to be really important I highly recommend to everyone is continuously invested time. For us now it’s been a six plus month process. And we’re not done yet. We invested a lot of time explaining to them how this company had changed and how our technology had involved in why it mattered in the industry. But also to this day, if there’s anything we work on together and it needs to iterate on it. I spend a lot of time explaining to them why I want to change or why I’m editing something because only that collaborative process is going to make it better so time consuming, but really worth it I think.
Drew Neisser: Well, and again, it’s time consuming, because it’s really important. It’s a lot of time for the CMO, but it’s also time for the other execs and hopefully you get your employees involved. Now, this is going to put you in an awkward position. And I didn’t prepare you for this. So I’m going to try to figure out a way a fellow CMO in huddles is about to explore in this thing. Brand is roughly where you guys are in terms of size, trying to figure out how much to budget and you know, to get for this, and I know that we’re talking about different things, if we’re talking about a rebrand that includes logo and signage and changing everything. And the other is we’ll call it a repositioning ballpark 100k 200k help this individual, you don’t have to share your own budget, but how should they think about budgeting for rebranding?
Heather Salerno: I believe we spent around $100,000. And it was for the brand strategy work, the development of that new visual identity and then the development of the website
Drew Neisser: That’s a bargain!
Heather Salerno: I will say that we lucked out in that we found this agency that was sort of starting out and now they’re, you know, a few more years in and so their their prices may be higher now, but
Drew Neisser: You got to deal because it to get a rebrand with logos and a new website that’s really inexpensive.
Gabi Zijderveld: That’s interesting, actually, Heather, because I think I’m looking at about the same when all said and done, including a website redesign and the web development, not a complete web development, but just some WordPress work that caliper had to do.
Drew Neisser: 100 grand, interesting. Okay, Marshall range?
Marshall Poindexter: Yeah, I would say kind of similar range 100-150K, when you include the brand rework, and then the web stuff, although what’s interesting is all of that seemed like huge dollars to our executive leadership team. And I explained to them, No, this is a park and bigger companies could spend hundreds of 1000s, multiple 100s of 1000s or millions of dollars. So, you know, once I level set them in terms of that costed, then they were more okay with it. I think it’s reasonable, all of us are in the same ballpark.
Gabi Zijderveld: May I make a comment? I would also venture to say that that because I think we’re also in kind of similar stages, possibly we did a lot in house as well. And I’m sure Heather and Marshall, you guys did too, in terms of writing content, developing assets, but you do it at a budget like that, you just end up taking a lot in house.
Drew Neisser: I’m so glad you said that, Gabi, because that’s has to be the case. And given the fact that right now at least so many companies are rebranding, a lot of branding firms don’t have capacity. I mean, we’ve been trying to find branding firms for huddlers. And you know, it said, “Well, we could start in May,” which is just such an unusual situation. All right, well, we’re getting down to the end. So we need a quick final words of wisdom. It’s like a Tuesday Tip, but we’re Thursday. So just one thought, start us off Heather with advising your fellow CMOs on getting brand building, right?
Heather Salerno: Find a good agency with people that you enjoy working with, you’re going to spend a lot of time with them, make sure you find a good partner.
Drew Neisser: I love that. Okay, so we’re gonna have some fun along the way with a good partner, okay, then Marshal your tip
Marshall Poindexter: Employees can be your best brand ambassadors. They want to feel like they’re contributing to the company’s success, you can empower them with high level messages to share about the brand. And I’ve even had a situation in the past company where an employee actually helped lead to a multimillion dollar sale if they weren’t even a customer facing employee. They shared it with a neighbor, their neighbors husband worked for a buyer, and it turned into sales. So empowering them with messages is a great idea and should be part of your brand work.
Drew Neisser: By the way. You know, I believe in that really strongly. One of the things that really in the book, I include an employee survey that I strongly if you’re about to begin on this thing, put that survey out there again, if you want a copy of that survey, just hit me up on LinkedIn. Gabi final thoughts.
Gabi Zijderveld: My tip would be to definitely start with your messaging. Figure out who you are, why you exist, why it matters and who cares.
Drew Neisser: I love it. Okay, thank you. Heather, Marshall, Gabi are all great sports. Thank you, audience for staying with us. To hear more conversations like this one, and submit your own questions while we’re live. Join us on the next Renegade Marketers Live we stream to my LinkedIn that’s Drew Neisser. Every other week. Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser, hey that’s me! Production and show notes are by our friends at Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceovers Linda Cornelius. To find all the transcripts of all episodes suggest future guests or learn more about my new book in the savviest B2B marketing boutique in New York City. Visit renegade.com. I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those renegade thinking caps on and strong.
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Renegade marketers. Unite is now a production of share your genius. Melissa Caffrey is our content director. The music is by the amazing burns twins and intro. Voiceover is Linda Cornelius to find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about them. And the savvy is B2B marketing boutique in New York city.
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