Internally, we had to introduce specific structural changes and inducements to promote unity, not simply ask for it. To do this, we:
- Articulated a clear vision and mission statement.
- Rolled up individual brand financial targets into group targets, making them internally public for the first time.
- Created a new Integrated Solutions and Consulting sales team to bring group solutions directly to customers.
- Created new product platforms to connect content from our different business units.
- Consolidated and centralized customer invoicing and customer service processes.
- Launched new advertising, marketing collateral, trade exhibits, and internal communications that for the first time demonstrated a unified image.
These changes would have been impossible without the new McGraw-Hill Construction brand, which ties together our people, products, and value proposition. It has given us the vehicle to organize internal change and the credibility we needed when approaching our key customers with offers to solve their problems.
Five years ago, we had separate business silos pushing independent product lines to meet standard customer needs. Today, we have collaborative sales teams operating under a single brand offering product and service bundles to solve selected customer problems. Our branding initiative was the key activity behind these improvements, which are now paying off in double-digit annual growth in profits.
Why is branding critical? Because it gives us a competitive advantage in challenging economic times. And because internally it reinforces our strategy and motivates our people to be focused on clear, shared goals.
Victoria Pao, [email protected]
Victoria Pao is vice president of marketing and business development for McGraw-Hill Construction and is responsible for implementing marketing and new product development strategies for the group.
Steve Lawrence, [email protected]
Steve Lawrence is executive vice president/partner at Straightline, a New York–based corporate brand consultancy. Mr. Lawrence is responsible for the firm’s brand and identity strategy development assignments, as well as client service.