Anthea Stratigos – July 25, 2016
Our 5th key to success beyond the tipping point at Outsell’s 10th Anniversary Signature Event is Brand and we’re thrilled to have Craig Safian, Sr. VP & CFO of Gartner, Inc. speak about this essential topic. Over the years, brand has become one of the thorniest issues I’ve seen in this industry. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart and one I passionately and routinely advise about. Never have I seen M&A go sideways or cultures clash more than over what to do with brand. People get positively religious about brands and reason goes out the window as zealous righteousness takes over or companies make rookie mistakes with amazing brands.
So who does brand well?
IBM, Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, and Gartner are all great examples. Brands get absorbed quickly during M&A and a single brand name prevails when talking about the company or even products. Google Scholar, Google News, or Bloomberg BNA or Bloomberg Legal, are examples.
Gartner is Gartner until just recently when they made an interesting series of acquisitions culminating with Capterra. With Capterra and its sister properties, Gartner decided to keep the brands separate. At least for now. The three companies are operating on the open web by their separate names and they are also lead generation businesses targeting small and medium businesses a different market and revenue model for the parent. So, in this instance, Gartner decided to not blend brands. Why?
We’ll hear more from Craig on this topic; how he thinks of M&A, of brands, when to blend them and when not and how they make these critical decisions at Gartner. All too often we see companies change their name and think they’ve changed their brand as if wishful thinking and a new exterior paint job actually changes the furnishings and way of life in the house.
Our industry is chockful of brand choices we’d not have made nor recommended. We at Outsell are pained to think that major brand houses are actually getting paid to come up with these names. Whether tronc, RELX, S&P Capital IQ (or whatever – I still can’t remember), TopRight’s name change, D&B’s logo which we are not fans of, or Avention from OneSource or recently RealtyTrac to ATTOM we see a lot of kooky branding in our industry where really powerful names get tossed by the wayside. And we see many getting it right, Gartner for one.
So, shout out to Craig for joining us to tell their story and provide lessons from their decisions, some of which are still playing out. Beyond the tipping point, brand matters and a single, powerful, consistent one with good culture and good quality behind them will win every time. Brands can be lost in a day, they can be made faster in this era of real time. But good ones can last for decades, if not centuries, and it’s a topic CEOs must keep front and center, including consistently driving home the one thing their brand represents and reinforcing it through all they do. It’s a huge success factor that is too often overlooked.
Hear how Gartner thinks about this essential topic and take home plans to burnish your brand. Register here and join us at Outsell’s Signature Event in London, 5-7 October 2016.
Need confidential decision support with your M&A plan? Contact Jeff Swartz for more information on Outsell’s Custom Research & Consulting.