ERDAS: moving into a new business category
To a niche audience, Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging (LGGI), was a household name with a reputation as one of the industry’s leading global geospatial solutions providers. But the geospatial market was evolving to include a much broader range of customers, as Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth and similar services put geospatial data into everyone’s hands.
In this changing environment, LGGI desperately needed to rethink and broaden its brand to remain competitive in the wider marketplace.
- Saying hello
In response, the company’s strategy was to expand its offering with enterprise solutions for commercial markets, such as insurance and financial services, that have a need for geospatial information system data. To accomplish this, LGGI executed an aggressive M&A strategy, widely expanding its product portfolio and brands.
At the same time, the company needed to create awareness and demand for its solutions from a new class of customers – the professional consumer, or “prosumer.” The acquisition timeline offered the ideal opportunity for LGGI to assess its naming, branding and messaging.
The goal was to develop a new message explaining how its geospatial solutions help organizations drive better decision-making, increase productivity and grow revenue.
“When we decided to rebrand Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging to ERDAS, we knew we could count on Arketi to help us do it in a way that would help us further our business,” said Bob Morris, president and CEO of ERDAS. “As an Arketi client for more than four years, we knew firsthand that Arketi’s knowledge and expertise would help us build a new brand that would compete in new markets.”
In order to understand current market dynamics, Arketi conducted extensive research, including competitive naming, messaging analysis, and qualitative and online customer research. Arketi then tapped into industry members and participants to better understand LGGI’s market position, as well as the target audience’s impression of the brand.
Arketi brainstormed, refined and tested numerous possible new names for the company. Research showed that the marketplace retained a positive affinity for ERDAS – a brand which the company had acquired in the 1990s – and LGGI embraced Arketi’s recommendation to rebrand the company under the ERDAS name.
Arketi’s research also led to the recommendation that ERDAS position itself in an entirely new category: “earth to business” solutions – a concise and compelling way to describe the concept of geospatial information that business users rely on. Since ERDAS wanted to define this category, Arketi crafted a corporate message that culminated in the tagline: ERDAS, The Earth to Business Company.
The next step was to introduce the new ERDAS to the marketplace. This meant that development of a brand that visualized the connection between the earth (geospatial information) and businesses. Arketi created a logo whose dynamic semi-abstract “global” form and lower-case typography presented ERDAS as a modern, business-oriented company. The agency’s branding process then produced mood boards exploring various ways the “earth to business” concept could be visualized. Custom photography was used to make the visual connection.
With the brand structure in place, Arketi moved on to implement ERDAS’ corporate identity, a new website, email marketing, collateral and tradeshow booth graphics.
Arketi created a print and online advertising campaign with the headline “Hello, my name is ERDAS,” to (re)introduce the company and launch the new positioning. For visual stopping power, and to emphasize the company’s uniqueness, the ads were deliberately different from others in the geospatial market: a vivid photo of the Earth as seen from space was shown introducing itself as ERDAS to the prospective reader, communicating the name change, and prompting readers to learn more. The advertising was later evolved to promote specific product lines.
In addition to the paid advertising, ERDAS’ rebranding received worldwide media coverage in eleven of the largest, leading industry publications. The trade press wrote articles about the company and its new go-to-market strategy.
Grounded in research, Arketi’s new positioning and branding for ERDAS redefined the company and engaged prospects in a powerful manner, while reassuring the original audience that the best-in-class solutions they trusted still led the way.