Over the course of SADA’s growth, the company has had a habit of going all in. It went all in on Google Cloud in 2019, divesting its Microsoft Cloud business to get there. It went all in on its 2020 rebrand, casting aside the brand it had for the brand it needed to move business forward despite the shock of the pandemic. And it goes all in for its employees, customers, and prospects every day.
It’s kinda a no-brainer that their brand purpose can be surmised in the phrase “Together, we’re all in.” In this episode, SADA CMO Narine Galstian talks about all the strategic thinking behind the cloud provider’s bold rebrand. She also discusses the secret to her longevity at SADA (almost 10 years!!) and what it means to be an #IamRemarkable facilitator. Check it out!
What You’ll Learn
- How to know when it’s time to rebrand
- The creative process behind SADA’s rebrand
- How to launch a new brand internally and externally
- Google’s #IamRemarkable initiative
- Brand video: SADA 2020 Rebrand Reveal
- Brand video: SADA: Together, we’re all in.
- Narine’s episode on B2B analyst relations
- Article: “SADA Selected as Google Cloud Sales Partner of the Year” (Globe Newswire)
- SADA Insights
- SADA Cloud N Clear podcast
- 27°: Our Angle on Google Workspace video series
- Share Your Genius
- CMO Huddles
- [02:55] #IamRemarkable
- [04:20] From the fashion industry to B2B tech
- [07:15] The secret to Narine’s CMO longevity
- [10:10] When SADA realized it was time to rebrand
- [15:30] SADA brand research
- [17:20] Dropping the “Systems;” keeping the “SADA”
- [19:40] Show Break: About CMO Huddles
- [20:55] The creative process and the “a-ha” moment
- [26:50] “Don’t rush into a rebrand”
- [28:40] Activating SADA’s new brand
- [38:00] Show Break: B2B Market Research at Renegade
- [39:00] Measuring the success of a rebrand
- [42:20] Delivering on SADA’s brand promise
- [44:12] “You need to meet your customers where they’re at”
- [45:24] Narine’s rebranding tips
“Part of rebranding is also an internal transformation of the company in its culture, so you have to think about it from the inside out first. Is your company ready for that kind of a change?” —@ngalstian @SADA Click To Tweet
“Invest the time to do the research with your customers, your partners, and especially your employees. Bring your employees on that ride with you throughout the rebrand. It is critical to your success.” —@ngalstian @SADA Click To Tweet
Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 304 on YouTube
Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Narine Galstian
Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you 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? Kinda cool, right? You can find my book on Audible or your favorite audio book platform. Now speaking of podcasts 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 them three months ago to make this show even better, and have been blown away by both their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at ShareYourGenius.com and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with the episode.
Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. There’s a point in every CMOs career, when the brand you have isn’t the brand you need to move the business forward. In some cases, the decision is made for you upon arrival as in, you’re here to fix the brand. But in others, you’re part of the team that comes to this realization. We’ve got to reimagine our brand. Regardless of how you get there. It is a moment of truth, one that tests CMOs, organizational skills, strategic skills, and executional skills, often in an incredibly short timeframe. And as longtime listeners know of this show, pardon me, let me say that again, as longtime listeners of this show know perhaps all too well. It is a perfect opportunity to apply the CATS framework as in Courageous Strategy, Artful Ideation, Thoughtful Execution, and Scientific Method. Now speaking of cool cats, I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest Narine Galstian, CMO of SADA, and I’m going to redo that opening completely. So take two, I am taking two.
Narine Galstian: Awesome.
Drew Neisser: As I said, Okay, so I have to say so the allergies in New York City right now, that pollen is so intense, and I noticed it just like my wife and I yesterday had coughing fits. It’s so bad. So it’s really scary.
Narine Galstian: I have to take Zertech daily here in California because it’s bad.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, no, I take it daily too. And it’s not making a bit of difference. That’s how —that’s when you know, all right, here we go. From the top. Hello, Renegade Marketers. There is a point in every CMOs career when the brand you have isn’t the brand you need to move the business forward. In some cases, the decision is made for you upon arrival, as in, you’re here to fix the brand. But in others, you’re part of a team that comes to this realization. We’ve got to reimagine our brand. Now, regardless of how you get there, it is a moment of truth, one that tests a CMOs, organizational, strategic, and executional skills, often at the same time in an incredibly short timeframe. And as longtime listeners of this show know perhaps all too well. It is a perfect opportunity to apply the CATS framework as in Courageous Strategy, Artful Ideation, Thoughtful Execution, and Scientific Method. Now speaking of CATS, or cool CATS, I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest Narine Galstian, CMO of SADA. Hello, Narine. Welcome.
Narine Galstian: Hello, Drew. Thank you for having me.
Drew Neisser: Thank you Now, how are you and where are you?
Narine Galstian: I’m doing really well. Thank you for asking. And I’m based in Los Angeles, California.
Drew Neisser: All right, hometown, Home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers. Okay, so now I noticed on your LinkedIn profile, and I love this that you have the hashtag “I am remarkable”. Now what inspired you to add that and has that sparked some interesting conversations?
Narine Galstian: It has sparked some interesting conversations. So I Am Remarkable is a Google initiative that started many years ago via Google employees who came together to really have a framework for allowing everyone to have a voice: underrepresented groups, women, and other underrepresented groups to be able to boast, if you will, about their accomplishments and brag about themselves more, really to bring their accomplishments forward and openly feel comfortable to discuss them and to share them. So I became an I Am Remarkable facilitator a few years ago. And it’s a session that we run within SADA, as well as some other partners. But it’s global initiative, and especially for Pride month, this month. There’s several sessions running. So if you’ve never joined, I highly recommend it. Very cool.
Drew Neisser: For those of us who are not in a minority, I think we would have to, we need our own, like humble brag or something like that. But —
Narine Galstian: Try to be an ally, right? To allow underrepresented groups to have a voice?
Drew Neisser: Yeah, no, totally, totally agreed. Now, I noticed you started your career in the fashion industry, and you spent eight years at the California Market Center. Now that’s a long stay for a first job. And based on that start, are you kind of surprised you ended up in B2B Tech?
Narine Galstian: I certainly never imagined I would. That was not my career goal at the time. I loved fashion. I worked in retail for many years, throughout high school and college. So I really wanted to stay within the fashion industry. And my first job out of college was to do marketing for Fashion Week’s in Los Angeles. So as you can imagine, for you know, 20 something year old, this was like a very exciting job, a lot of interesting fashion week parties and designer events and things like that. It was it was wonderful experience. But that’s kind of where I started the B2B exposure, if you will, because I worked with the designers who were working with the retailers, and to kind of bring the two together throughout the Fashion Week and various events that we did and campaigns. So that was my first exposure from a B2B side, but certainly not tech. There was nothing technical at the time. I didn’t want to date myself, but it was a long time ago.
Drew Neisser: Well, but I mean, What a great place to start. And — but I imagine after, because you were there a long time. And you certainly got a good look at the fashion industry. And at some point, you must have said, Maybe this isn’t for me.
Narine Galstian: Yes, I mean, definitely, there was an opportunity that came forward after there was an acquisition. And so I decided, well, I’m really young right now. And I need to have exposure to marketing in various industries, B2C, B2B. So I didn’t want to continue in a path and kind of pigeonhole myself into one industry, I really wanted to try the really applying the principles of marketing, if you will, to other industries and seeing like “could this work?” It’s really what interested me about marketing to begin with the fact that you can kind of take those principles and the foundational aspects of it, and apply it to any market, any industry and product or service. And watch it kind of trickled down and work its magic that way. So yes, you know, an opportunity came to transition, and I took it.
Drew Neisser: No, it’s cool. And it reminds me, you know, I think a lot of kids, I was over the weekend talking to some undergrads from my alma mater, who were looking at various aspects of media and arts and entertainment. And one of the things is you think about saying, Well, I’m really into fashion, so maybe fashion marketing would be and then you realize, So marketing is just interesting on its own. And I have to say, for my course of my career, some of what you might think of the least interesting categories proved to be the most interesting in terms of problem solving. Okay, now, you’ve been at SADA for over nine years, which is triple the average, some say might more. So like you got the eight years of the beginning and nine years now you’re a stayer.
Narine Galstian: I’m a stayer, yes.
Drew Neisser: What do you attribute your longevity at SADA to?
Narine Galstian: Well, I think there’s there’s two components. One is really are you learning? Are you learning constantly, right? And technology and tech services really, more specifically, cloud technology is just constantly innovating, constantly evolving, so you never feel like you’re ahead of it. You’re always trying to catch up with, you know, the technology that’s developing so fast, and it was such an early stage of cloud technology at that time that I started in 2013, that I was like, oh my god, this is like so stimulating and so interesting. But that feeling has not changed that feeling of like, there’s so much more you can do with cloud solutions. There’s always new innovation coming to the market, and allowing businesses to grow, that I never feel like I’m done. I never feel like I’m bored. You know?
Drew Neisser: The change is happening in the industry right around you. Now, have you had the same CEO the whole time?
Narine Galstian: Yes, I have.
Drew Neisser: That’s the key. I just want to — I had to make that point, because I had Kathy Button Bell on this show. And she was been, or was in the role of CMO at Emerson for like 22 years same CEO, same CEO. And and I think that CEO just stepped down and I’m, or in the last year, and I suspect, we’ll see, we’ll see, I don’t know where, what she’s up to. Okay. Before we actually get into what you did. I always like to ask the question for my 95 year old Dad, how would you explain SADA to him?
Narine Galstian: That’s a good question. So I would explain that SADA is a cloud services provider, and being able to take organizations who are looking to scale their business and grow it and need to have a secured space for their cloud data to be stored. SADA is a service provider that makes that entire transformation and transition easy on the customer, so that they can continue to focus on their innovation, we will take on the responsibility, making sure their data is secure, and they have the tools they needed to grow.
Drew Neisser: Okay, I think he’ll understand that. And otherwise, I’m gonna have another 15 minute conversation with him about the cloud and what it does and all that, but we’re gonna move on.
Narine Galstian: I think there’s a movie on that, what is the cloud, right? Yeah.
Drew Neisser: Anyway, it’s all good. It’s, you know, it’s, Dad, when you’re buying on Amazon, it’s all in the cloud. It’s all enabled by the cloud. It’s happening. It’s all in the cloud. Okay. So let’s get into, I know that you and I’ve talked a little bit about SADA rebranding. But if you — in the course of these nine years that you’ve been there, talk about the moment where you all realized we got to — because it was SADA Systems. I mean, that was sort of the name right? And what — when did you sort of decide we got to, you know, we got to look at this brand pretty, pretty carefully.
Narine Galstian: Well, we actually looked at it a few years earlier, to rebrand. And it was one of the big initiatives that I wanted to do when I first joined the company. But realizing, you know, after some initial research, we just weren’t ready to make that transition. And I think part of rebranding is also an internal transformation of the company in its culture. So you have to think about it from the inside out. First, is your company internally ready for that kind of a change. And we at the time, had two separate practices, the Google Cloud practice and the Microsoft practice. And initially, those teams were completely firewalled from each other for, you know, best practices and partner commitments. But what that created was two different cultures within the company. And so even the marketing was kind of like the universal team across both of them. Everyone else in the company functioned in different environments. And you very much saw the difference in cultures between the Google and the Microsoft Teams. So we evaluated and realized we weren’t going to be able to develop a brand that would be representative of both of those practices. We really wanted to wait until the divestiture of the Microsoft practice happened, so that we can focus on one partner so we went all in on Google Cloud, and the rebrand at that time, you know, was just ready because of that major transition in divesting that practice. We were all ready now to take on a new culture internally and be able to represent that externally.
Drew Neisser: Okay, I have to stop you for a second. And I want to sort of, I want to just really put a giant punctuation point on this conversation thus far. All too often the decision to change brands is an arbituary one that says I don’t like the color. I don’t like the look and feel it doesn’t feel right. What you just heard Narine talk about is it’s about an inside out substantial change for the business. We’re not talking design, we’re not talking logo or color. We’re talking about how the business, the fundamental business strategy. And so the second part that I want to emphasize in this fundamental business strategy is the courage of saying, you know, what, we have two service categories. We have Google and Microsoft, and we’re going to focus on one. And I know the outcome of this story already, I’m not going to share the outcome, but that takes tremendous courage, because I’m imagining that could have been 30, or 40, or even 50% of your business at that moment, right. So to say, Oh, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to walk away from that business and focus on that takes tremendous courage. And was there a debate over that did like people, “What are we doing here?”
Narine Galstian: Certainly not a debate. But of course, we had deep conversations about it. Because you know, it’s very difficult to divest an entire practice of your team, because there’s people involved, right, so you want to make sure that your people are taking care of, and you’re not just kind of selling off and be done with it. Right, there was long term relationships with the people that worked in the Microsoft practice. And so there were several conversations around how to do this the right way, you know, and how to make sure that this isn’t going to really backfire, if you will, on the entire company culture, and how does it then reflect what we do from the business side, right, and how we serve our customers. So there was a lot of it was not an easy decision, by any means. But I think when we had to look at our company, and the growth path we wanted to take, and who did we want to align with who really represented our own values and innovation that we saw, you know, exponential growth happening over time, and that was Google Cloud.
Drew Neisser: And it’s amazing, it really is, I love this and had we talked about this before I put my book out, this would be in there, because this is a moment. And so lots and lots of times, we’re talking to CMOs, and they’re talking about adding a market and adding another practice and I get it because you sometimes you have an existing customer and you want to add another service, that’s one thing. But when you can redefine your market in a way that you can be the best at. Right, best partner for Google Cloud versus best partner for Google Cloud and MS, Microsoft, you really are one — It’s a bold, bold move. Okay. And I again, I’m going to save the results on this. But so having made that business decision, how did you then go about the process of sort of strategically looking at SADA, SADA system and make some some key decisions about what the new brand would stand for?
Narine Galstian: Well, we first started with research. And, you know, we brought in an agency that was really aligned with what we were looking to accomplish. And we started with the research of, you know, kind of understanding from our customers perspective and our partners perspective, as well as our employees perspective, what does SADA coming to them? What is SADA Systems mean to them, but when they think of SADA, what is the first thing that comes to mind? You know, it was a cultural decision, because we wanted our employees involved in that process, we knew we were going to be recruiting and adding significant amount of headcount. So we want — we knew that culturally, this had to stand strong, right. And it really had to resonate and have it be something people believed in. But from our customers perspective, we also wanted to understand how did they view us when they needed some sort of, you know, technology solution or service? When did they pick up the phone and call us? You know, and same thing with our partners. So, first few months was all about the research. We did both surveys and then we also did focus groups and understanding that, you know, our goal was to go up market from, you know, SMB and corporate up to enterprise level customers, we really wanted to make sure we were positioned properly with our messaging and with our representation, to be able to appeal to that customer. We were confident in the services we provided. But now how do we communicate that to the enterprise customer so that they have the confidence to do business with us?
Drew Neisser: And was there an aha moment during this strategic process where you sort of said, Okay, here’s this, this insight is really going to help drive our business forward.
Narine Galstian: Well, funny that you mentioned the system’s part of it. Because we realize that having the systems there, immediately categorize us into IT services or IT systems. And, you know, that was obviously a big part of our business previously, but we had grown so much from a consultancy perspective, really getting deep into the business practice of our customers, understanding their workflows, understanding their own business goals, and then being able to evaluate what they really needed to get to the next stage. So we weren’t just an IT or security service anymore, you know, we had this entire consultancy team and change management team, to help companies really transformed from inside out. And so we knew we had to drop that systems immediately. But what we also realized is that SADA a brand, the name of the company, because we did think about do we change the name at this point? Or do we keep it, but there was a real brand loyalty already with SADA. So that was, you know, surprising to say, to hear because we didn’t realize it was so deep. In some of our customers, we didn’t realize it was so deep in the ecosystem, you know, but it was and so we knew we had to keep the name, but we really had to refresh it and bring forward kind of the the key core values that made SADA different than all of the other providers, all of the other solutions providers. And so we honed in on those and revamped the entire messaging around the company.
Drew Neisser: And so would you say that SADA is a purpose driven organization?
Narine Galstian: Absolutely, we have one of our core values is drive purposeful impact. So, you know, really making sure that you’re driving impact really understanding, you know, what is the purpose of what we’re doing here? What is the customer actually wanting to achieve at the end of the day, you know, and have that be your goal.
Drew Neisser: Got it. Okay. All right. Great introduction to the challenge ahead. I want to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re gonna get into some sort of how you carried this forward. We’ll be right back.
Drew Neisser: So I’m going to take a second and plug CMO Huddles. Launched in 2020 CMO Huddles is an invitation only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOS to share care and dare each other to greatness. One CMO describe huddles as timely conversations with smart peers in a trusted environment, while another called it a cross between an expert workshop and a therapy session. If you’re a B2B CMO in need of a force multiplier, visit CMOHuddles.com, or send me an email or you know, hit me up on LinkedIn to see if you qualify for a guest pass.
Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back, and Narine and I — we were talking. So, you have your values. Let’s talk about how you started to get from the research that you did to the execution and what was the process that you went through? So we talked about the research, but you know, once you got that the agency comes back with their summary and so forth. But what were some of the key parts of the creative process for you?
Narine Galstian: Yeah, so the agency did a great job at kind of taking that information back from all of the research and coming back to us with you know, three concepts, if you will, of where we can take the brand and what really resonates with us as a team. So the three different concepts that we initially reviewed, you know, I would say they didn’t hit the mark 100%. Right? We liked some aspects of one verse and other aspects of the other. But we weren’t like 100% sold, you know. So we really had to internally decide what we liked about all three concepts and then see if the agency can then come back to us with with something that really resonated. And so they went back into their creative mode and came back with the current creative that we have and messaging. And I think it’s also in the delivery, right, of how you take that messaging and creative to get and combine it together. Right? It can’t be one or the other. Because sometimes you like creative, that’s independent, but then with the messaging, it doesn’t jive or vice versa. So they worked their magic and really brought it together. And it just fit where the entire room was like, Yes, that’s it. That’s the one and you know,
Drew Neisser: What are we responding to? Is it a tagline? Is it a logo? What is it a strategic summary? What are the — what is it that got you to that aha moment where everybody goes, That’s it.
Narine Galstian: It wasn’t one or the other, it was the combination of the entire presentation. So they worked, the logo, the messaging, the tagline, and the imagery to typography, like they presented us with the entire picture. And that’s what brought it home to us. Because it really brought that full circle together what we want it to stand for. And that’s the important thing I think agencies have to understand you can’t just come back with, here’s what we think, for the logo without all of the other aspects of the brand elements. Right? So that’s, that’s the biggest advice I can give is look at the entire brand representation together, not individually.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, I know, it’s funny, I feel for the agencies a little bit because you’re at three concepts, and you’re trying to get to one. And if you actually ended up having to do that three times soup to nuts, it is so much so much work. But other point that you make. And I think this is true for just about every company unless you are doing branding all the time. And you and your mind can know how these things are going to play out most of the time clients, and particularly when you’re dealing with folks who may have only do this once every 10 years, right? And not marketers, so you got CEOs and CFOs and head of sales and so forth. You kind of got to show him the whole darn thing. You know, it’s so much work. And it’s painful if you’re in on the agency side, but it is the reality, because you will say Well imagine how — No no, can’t. You simply can’t imagine. And I think that’s so hard and problematic. But I think agencies definitely need to recognize that if they want to be successful. That’s what they’re gonna have to do is deliver the package. Because brand isn’t a logo. And it isn’t a tagline. And it isn’t just a messaging. It’s everything. And so if you can’t show enough so that they can see how all the pieces work together, then they’re just pieces. Right? Exactly. So that’s so interesting that it took that. So, but the good news is once you saw it all and everybody went, Yes, that’s it, you can go to execution pretty quickly, which is the good news. So I’m trying to give us a sense from the time it took to, we need to make this change, and beat and then you had to find an agency and then you got to this moment before we’re actually in market. How long do you think it took you to get from? We need this to — everybody agrees this is it?
Narine Galstian: A year?
Drew Neisser: A year? Okay. And a lot of that is I’m imagining is the research that needed to be done?
Narine Galstian: Yeah. And time, you know, to do the research and the focus groups, it took a, you know, a few months to plan and execute a lot of that. And then the creative obviously, the agency needed time to really put that together. And then we went through, like I said, a couple of rounds of that until we, you know, saw that so it took almost a year. Yeah. To do that. And this was yam we started right before the pandemic right? We’re like, literally that January. And, you know, we went into, you know, pandemic mode and contemplated to be transparent contemplated, should we do this? Should we not do this? How long is this pandemic gonna last? Do we wait. But, you know, we decided ultimately, this wasn’t something that was ending in three weeks or month, right? So we needed to move forward and keep a business running and, you know, take a risk, and that’s what it was, it was kind of a risky move, to do a rebrand in this kind of unknown landscape, if you will. But we were confident in our business. And we were confident that we were going to grow as the company and we needed the brand to make that happen.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, it’s so interesting, as I, as I’m hearing you talk about this. And I know, and I’m certain you do know, a lot of CMOs, who get to a new company, and the first initiative that they start on is a rebrand. And I’m, that drives me nuts. And I mean, I talk to C — the folks in huddles all the time about this, that is not going to change things for you. Right, I mean, and it won’t, it will — it’s really important to the company. But if you rush it, there won’t be foundational support, you won’t have the employee input that you need, and you’re going to have this kind of, I’m gonna say weak foundation, if you rush this process, you’re really going to hurt, it’s an opportunity to succeed, because as you said, the very beginning, this is about employees, embracing something, and it’s about the whole company coming together to head in one new direction. And so anyway, just if you’re a new CMO think about that, just put, it may be the really important thing that you need to do. But I gotta say, you’re gonna build credibility by focusing on your demand gen, building your relationship with your CFO, understanding how the business actually makes money, all of these things will build the credibility. So then, you know, the organization well enough to do the branch anyway, pet peeve? Sorry, I went off on that. But do you agree with me?
Narine Galstian: Absolutely. I absolutely agree with you. And I think the other element of that is that CMO think that they are successful, because they rebranded and then they don’t stay long enough to see how that rebrand actually rolled out and wasn’t executed wasn’t really successful. So I think that’s the other key element is Don’t rush into it. But if you are going to do it, see it through see it through the execution process, and really understand was it a success? Or was it not?
Drew Neisser: And we’re gonna get to how you all you look at success. But I’m just — I want to now move a little bit. So we — the agency makes this big presentation, everybody says that’s it. Talk about now the executional plan, and how you rolled this out in maybe you can start with how much time you spent with employees and rolling it out before you actually launched it?
Narine Galstian: Well, from the moment that we said, this, is it, it wasn’t final, right? So you’re saying this is it to that concept and to the initial design, but then you have to fine tune each part of those elements, right. So that’s when you start breaking it down into the pieces of the logo, you know, the messaging, the typography, the photography, that, you know, all of the illustration. So it took another, you know, I would say, two months, maybe three months to finalize the entire brand guidelines, you know, and in that timeframe, what I started to do was bring in different cross functional teams into the committee, kind of exposing them to early stages of the brand elements, getting feedback from them, and bringing, you know, other team members from the engineering team. You know, how does this resonate with the engineers in the company, not just the salespeople, right? We also tapped into some of our trusted customers who we knew would give us some great feedback, presented it to them early on, we presented to our partners Google and their leadership and got initial feedback. So it took some, you know, initial, private kind of conversations to get the feedback of we’re really loving this we’re really feeling this what do you all think and have it be validated by them? And what this did is it kind of set that foundatian already got people excited, it really got the employees excited. And you’re basically getting buy in before you’re doing any launch, right? Because people feel included in the process. And that’s the important thing. You can’t do a rebrand in a silo, you have to bring in people, you have to have them be part of it. So they feel like they contributed to it somehow. Right? And you —
Drew Neisser: You want them to own it. I mean, ultimately, employees are the ones who bring the brand to life, right? They’re the ones who deliver on the promise.
Narine Galstian: Right! There on the front line, and there are your advocates. So if they’re not bought into it, the outside world isn’t going to be bought into it. And so when we were finally ready, we actually launched internally at a town hall, to all of our employees globally, and revealed it to them we had — we made a wonderful reveal video, bringing it all together and had our brand guidelines, and I can’t tell you how amazing it was to get the feedback from our internal employees have like, wow, like we can’t believe this is amazing. This is exactly how I want to be represented. This is exactly the brand that I want to be associated with. And they were super excited to share it. And I was like, no, no, no, wait until the public reveal. Don’t share it now.
Drew Neisser: That’s a tricky part, I remember presenting a brand refresh to internal audience. And during the presentation, the head of sales, put the new tagline on his LinkedIn profile, and shared it. Yeah, and as much as we were excited that they were embracing it, we had to pull it back.
Narine Galstian: Yeah. And it’s tricky, right to plan, the timing of all of that. So we actually had her had our internal, you know, townhall on the Friday and released it the you know, the following Monday, so that it had very short time in between to, you know, make sure it doesn’t leak out, if you will. But we had a big reveal with throughout all of our channels. So the video went out, the social was a big part of it, we launched an entire new website with it, which is quite the undertaking to redo. And, you know, we sent all of our employees, swag boxes, with all new swag with a new logo and representation with you know, the new design elements. And same with our customers, and our partner. So everyone got the news at the same time. And it really got everybody excited, and customers were emailing us about it. Our partners were emailing people were sharing on social and it was just, I have to say normally, you know, marketing always gets feedback from others cross functional teams who think they’re marketers, and I’m sure you you know what I’m talking about, right? Everybody has an opinion about marketing. I did not have a single employee, say anything bad about the brand, or have an opinion that was not positive. But not a single employee, which was an amazing — As a CMO, like that’s how you want things to land where like everyone across the company, just agrees it was a beautifully, you know, rebranded initiative.
Drew Neisser: There are so many things that I want to sort of punctuate to just emphasize in this conversation. One of the things that I see a lot of CMOs do and which is not give enough time for the internal aspect of this, but I have to say because you involved employees early with the surveys and the research, and there were certain teams that got to preview it, you could do a very tight release, because it wasn’t in many ways. It wasn’t just a shocking surprise to at least senior leaders in the organization. So that’s one thing because generally, and this is I guess, a question. When you do a rebrand, you’re essentially saying we’re kind of different than you think we are folks out there in the marketplace employees were a little bit different as well. It’s the same company that you love to know only better, and here’s how we’re better. And here’s how you can deliver on that promise. And so sometimes with rebranding, you really have to retrain and sometimes sort of and I’m curious, was there any aspect of the story — and I, by the way, I meant to punctuate Swag, swag, swag for relaunch really important, just make sure this is the one time where everybody wants new logo swag, everybody who was part of this relaunch wants it your prospects may not, but please do customers do partners? Do all of them are happy to do it. Okay. What was there anything involved in terms of training or things that you had to do differently as an organization to deliver on the promise that the new brand brought?
Narine Galstian: Yes, we actually tapped into our own change management team to roll this out. So they took it on as they would any other customer project. And we divided up the teams, you know, and made sure that we started with the leadership first and, you know, shared it with them the day before, you know, the announcement at the town hall, actually a couple of days before the town hall, and then, you know, brought the other employees together into training them on, like, what is this messaging mean? How do you deliver it? What are the new assets that we want you to share? You know, and really making sure that the employees understood what does this mean for them? When they come up in front of the customer? You know, how does it make them feel? And so there was open conversations about that, you know, what does it mean, when you say, you know, we’re bold, dynamic and nonstop, right? Like, how does that motivate you? How, what do you think that will resonate? How do you drop that, you know? We build strong relationships, what does that mean? And why is it important to the customer? You know? So those key points of how we delivered it, I think, you know, made all the difference in the world, for employees to feel connected to it, you know, it’s like, an innate kind of belief of like, yes, yes, that’s who we are, you know. And we had all of that. And, you know, this is a major undertaking, when you have to revamp your entire marketing, collateral, and website. It is a lot of work to do that. But it’s so important to have that ready to be rolled out when you make that announcement, because you want them to immediately start using those. Rather than saying, Hey, this is the rebrand. This is all great, but we don’t have that presentation ready yet. So just use what you have. And then we’ll get back to you. It can’t work that way. You have to immediately have them start using the new brand elements. So you have to have it ready to go. So that when they’re excited. That’s what that’s when you want to hit home when they’re excited that you need to get it into their hands and they need to roll that out.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, you know, I remember a client and you only get one shot at this to relaunch a brand. So you better make sure that your pieces are in place. Alright, we’re going to take a quick break and then we’re going to come back and wrap up with results and how you should measure a program like this. Okay, stay with us.
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Drew Neisser: Okay, we are back. And we talked and you mentioned this that this is a long term horizon that you got to stick around to see the results. What were the results that you were looking to achieve when you launch? And by the way? When was the when did the brand launch actually happen?
Narine Galstian: October of 2020.
Drew Neisser: Okay, October 2020. Well, we’ve had a lot of time now. For you to see the results talk about how you measure the success of this program.
Narine Galstian: We’ve measured it on a few elements. One is the you know, kind of quantitative aspects of things. Being able to measure you know visits to your website, conversions from your websites? How is that new messaging new elements being utilized, right. So we have, you know, doubled our website year over year in traffic. Conversion rates have gone up over 30%. So that really kind of tells us when they’re coming, it’s resonating, the messaging is hitting home, and they want to consume more. We developed an entire Insights section on our website that is filled with incredible resources, you know, from blog content, videos, training, on demand, kind of how tos, if you will, we also have our own podcast called Cloud and Clear Podcast, that has grown tremendously over the last two years. So we noticed, you know, triple digit growth in our insight section, year over year. So again, it’s resonating, people are coming to consume all of that. And then we’re seeing it obviously, in our numbers, right, or in our revenues. And we have consistently grown the company, but, you know, I know it was during pandemic time. And there’s, you know, like a big rush to cloud right, during this remote work environment and being able to have business continuity. And so it was a perfect time that SADA was ready to service those customers. So we doubled our business in that timeframe. And, you know, pipeline was like, tripled during that timeframe. And it still continues. And so we’re not done, if you will, right, we’re still introducing new elements of our brand into different channels. And we started a whole new video series, for example, that is you know, 27 Degrees it’s called, because our big element is 27 degrees slash. And so we call it our angle on Google Cloud. And it’s a weekly series where our technical experts come together. So we’re still activating different parts of that brand, even though we’re like almost, you know, two years in. A year and a half into it. But it doesn’t end. So I really can’t emphasize that enough. It’s that you don’t just launch and think like, that’s it, right. I’ve done my work. But that continues in the activation. And that’s a critical, critical part of making sure it lands, right. And then it has the longevity and the consistency that you want.
Drew Neisser: I realized I never actually got, is there a tagline?
Narine Galstian: Together, we’re all in
Drew Neisser: Together, we’re all in. Okay. And was a lot of the effort that you did to sort of support that and prove that I mean, because it’s an interesting, it’s a wonderful promise. And then, but you got to deliver.
Narine Galstian: Right.
Drew Neisser: So how did marketing deliver on together, we’re all in?
Narine Galstian: We really took kind of this customers for life, you know, notion and being able to communicate to our customers that we’re not in this for one time project, this is something we’re in together with you for the long run. And so getting on to the cloud is just the first step that you do. What you do in the cloud thereafter, is really what’s going to make the difference in your business, in your competitive aspects in your growth, you know, and scale and innovation. And so, we wanted to make sure that we’re with the customer throughout all of the different stages of that. And then we really put double down on customer storytelling, making the customer the hero of that transformation. You know, we were just on the back end, but like They’re the heroes that are willing to take the risk right on this new technology and new innovation and bringing that to the forefront but not stopping there. Bringing them on to videos with us bringing them to the podcast with us to share their stories, providing PR opportunities for them to share their stories. So it builds a relationship with a customer that says Your success is our success. That’s how we live through our brand.
Drew Neisser: For—Yeah, amen on all fronts. One of the things that I talk a lot about in the book is that when you have an promise if you can’t bring your customers along, then it’s not that something’s wrong. And but on this case, it was all about celebrating them and their success. And because the promise was about customers together, we’re all in which I think is awesome. All right, well, we’re running out of time here. And I know I can keep going. But let’s think about how far this process has gone. What do you know now that you wish you knew two years ago?
Narine Galstian: Oh, that’s a good question. You know, I think it would be, I wish that I knew how much it mattered to the customer to have resources available for them at every stage of their growth. So this concept of meeting our customers, where they’re at, has become really, really important. And we’re not making the assumptions for the customer or anymore. We’re like asking for that concrete feedback, and being able then to create resources for them, that helped them through that particular stage of their growth. And I think earlier on I was like, Oh, this is great. This video is gonna be great, right? But it wasn’t for all everyone at that different stages of their growth, right. So you really have to segment and your messaging has to be appropriate for each of those segments for it to hit home.
Drew Neisser: Okay. All right, we’re gonna wrap up. And I can’t possibly summarize this, but there were so many good insights. But so Narine, give us two do’s and don’ts for your fellow CMOs and fellow handlers, when it’s time to rebrand two do’s and one don’t.
Narine Galstian: Definitely do your research. Invest the time to doing the research with your customers, your partners, and especially your employees, do bring your employees on that ride with you throughout the rebrand, it is so critical to your success. And a Don’t would be don’t rush. Don’t rush through that process.
Drew Neisser: I know and everybody is in such a hurry to get this done. And it takes a lot of patience. And you need a C suite that will support you. And this is why don’t put this on your first item if you’re a new CMO, because you’re going to need the credibility that you will get by building a demand gen engine or tweaking the engine or building credibility through tests with your CFO so that you can get the time that you need to do this right. So it has meaningful impact and by meaningful impact. I’m talking about sales double, triple pipeline that’s meaningful impact if we’re looking at doubling your traffic that’s meaningful, in fact, all right, Narine, thank you so much for joining the show.
Narine Galstian: Thank you so much, Drew. I really enjoyed this conversation.
Drew Neisser: So for listeners of the show, if you enjoyed this conversation with Narine Galstian, do us a favor and go to Narine’s LinkedIn profile and just say hey, I really enjoyed your episode of Renegade Marketers Unite. And if you really feel generous, go to your favorite podcast channel and give us a five star review. Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser audio production and shownotes are by our friends at Share Your Genius. But Melissa Caffrey is the executive producer. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceovers Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book, and the savvies B2B marketing boutique in New York City. Please visit Renegade.com I’m your host, Drew Neisser, and until next time, keep those renegade thinking caps on and strong. Wow.
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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.
Please visit renegade.com. I’m your host Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.