The Importance of Repositioning

Arketi Group’s Mike Neumeier recently interviewed Ajay Murthy, vice president of global marketing at Convergys Corporation, about his company’s recent repositioning.

Cincinnati-based Convergys Corporation (NYSE: CVG) provides solutions that help companies drive greater value from the interactions they have with their customers and employees. With 75,000 employees and 85 contact centers in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Convergys delivers relationship management consulting and solutions to clients in more than 70 countries and 35 languages. A member of the S&P; 500, Convergys and has been recognized as a Fortune Most Admired Company for eight consecutive years.

The Purpose of Positioning
When Murthy joined Convergys nearly two years ago, it had recently embarked on the creation of a new vision to better articulate the value the company brings to the markets it serves. Following more than a decade of growth and numerous acquisitions, Convergys had become a company with varied and seemingly unrelated lines of business. This created confusion both internally and externally as to what kind of company Convergys was, whom the company targeted, and what it had to offer.

Arriving at this critical juncture, Murthy recognized it was time to develop a powerful, clear, concise, and descriptive brand positioning that tied the company’s collective expertise and experience together. He seized the opportunity to reposition Convergys for future success.

Looking Inside and Out
Knowing that a successful positioning must resonate above all with the Company’s clients, Murthy first determined to ascertain (1) how Convergys’ clients viewed the brand; (2) where clients wanted the company to be in the next five to 10 years; and (3) what clients thought made Convergys a uniquely good choice for them.

Among the many views Arketi Group unearthed during this research process, one theme came up repeatedly: relationships. Convergys was known for delivering value by providing solutions that strengthened its clients’ relationships with their key constituents – their customers and their employees. This critical insight became the foundation of Convergys’ new positioning which, after much elaboration, refining, testing and validation, took final form in the concept of Relationship Management.

Measuring Success
In late 2007, Convergys unveiled relationship management as its new positioning. The response was overwhelmingly positive, providing Murthy and his team with an initial confirmation that they had succeeded – succeeded in giving the world a clear, concise and descriptive definition of what Convergys does; what unifies the company’s diverse lines of business; and what differentiates it from its competitors.

That was encouraging, but Murthy recognized that external acceptance was only half the battle. How well were Convergys’ employees understanding the new positioning, and how did they feel about it? After all, these 75,000 individuals are the “ambassadors” responsible for bringing the message to the world.

In mid-2008, the Convergys team looked to answer this question in a quantitative fashion. Approximately 25 percent of the employees completed a survey about the company’s new positioning. Overall, the majority expressed confidence that relationship management differentiates Convergys from its competitors, and more than four out of five said the positioning adds long-term value to the Convergys brand.

Lessons Learned

In Murthy’s view, there are three ingredients to a successful repositioning:

  1. Understand the overall corporate vision and strategy, and ensure the new positioning aligns with them.
  2. Find out what customers’ expectations of your organization are, and use those findings as a starting point in developing the positioning – after all, an outside-in approach is more likely to yield a message that resonates with buyers than one based on internal perceptions.
  3. Once the positioning is established, engage employees through education and communication, so that they are not only aware of it, but fully understand and believe in the message that they deliver as representatives of the company.

What’s Next

“Further strengthening our leadership position is paramount to our long-term success as a company,” says Murthy. “Relationship management gives us a positioning we can leverage, and has permitted us to focus our marketing efforts in a way that gives our sales teams what they need to successfully sell Convergys.”

Murthy and his team are now taking a truly integrated approach to marketing. All communications channels and efforts – sales support, advertising, online marketing, demand generation, public relations, event marketing and internal communications – are now aligned and executing on the concept of relationship management.

The Importance of Repositioning was developed to provide insight into one business-to-business company’s experience in repositioning. To hear Murthy’s full interview on this topic and learn more about Arketi’s role in this project, please tune in to our October podcast, the B2B Marketing Minute.

By Mike Neumeier, APR – November 1, 2008

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