Jennifer Renaud
December 13, 2019

166: B2B Marketers Talking Turkey in Taxis

Guest: Jennifer Renaud - Vice President, Vertiv

What happens when you put an incredibly articulate CMO in a cab with the host of Renegade Thinkers Unite? Genuine fast-paced goodness, that’s what!  Jennifer Renaud, CMO of Vertiv, a $4.5 Billion company that spun out of Emerson Power in late 2016, is absolutely riveting as she shares the stories of two large companies that abandoned well-known brand names with frightful results.

The first company in question was Oracle. During her time there, Renaud witnessed the disappearance of both the Eloqua and Responsys brands in favor of the new Oracle Marketing Cloud. The initial results were not pretty as thousands of Eloqua and Responsys lovers searched in vain for those brands. Site traffic dropped off dramatically until they returned to using the old names at least on landing page.

Amazingly, the same thing happened at Vertiv, the parent company of brands like Liebert, Avocent and Geist. While none of these are household names, it turns out they are well liked in their vertical markets. Shortly after her arrival at Vertiv in April 2018, Renaud visited a customer who had not heard of her new company, but when she shared the name of the other brands, he said proudly, “oh great, do you want to see my Liebert?” It was at the moment that Renaud realized that bringing back the Liebert name, at least online, as well as the others, could have a dramatic impact on their business. She was right!

If you’re thinking about abandoning a brand name, then do listen in both to understand the risks and to hear ways of mitigating the downside. And for anyone who wants to make a case for growing brand awareness, you’ll find it especially interesting to hear what happens when that awareness is suddenly taken away. Fascinating insights await you. Enjoy.

How do you recover from a brand name abandonment?

I think the beauty of some of the things that we can do in marketing is really test what might work and what might not. We went to one event recently where the carousel just said Vertiv and Avocent. And, it was great because people come up to us and said, ‘wow, I had no idea that you were here.’ And it helps us a lot to get that brand up there. We also did a video that said, we are Liebert, we are Avocent, we are Chloride, we are Vertiv, that ran at events.

How would you make the case for brand based on your experience?
Well, one of my favorite books is A More Beautiful Question. And in some of the questions you could ask is when you’re making the case for brand, then what happens in the absence of brand? And I think having case studies like these that say, here’s what happens when you have it and then it’s gone says one thing. So, if you can get it, which means you need to invest in it properly, it does mean something. There is a value to it. And if you’re looking for an acquisition, what gets acquired is the brand. You want you want to be building that brand for that purpose.

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