This continues a series of columns from practitioners I respect. The category "Real Deal" describes them well.
The software industry is relatively young and there are few John Deeres which have revised its logo every few decades. So when I saw Infor go through a rebranding exercise I invited its Chief Marketing Officer, Chip Coyle to describe the project.
“This past fall, Infor embarked on the most significant corporate rebranding in our history. The decision to rebrand was straightforward. The question was how. What does a rebrand entail? And why now?
Up to now, Infor has mostly been known as a collection of business applications specialized for specific industries – successful and mature products with loyal customer bases. “Infor” however had very little brand recognition. The arrival of Charles Phillips (who contributed a guest column here) and a new senior leadership team in late 2010 set in motion a major transformation of the company, bringing a new energy, a new strategy based on speed, and new and innovative approaches for how the next generation of businesses should work. Central to the new strategy was an increased investment in R&D, to accelerate the delivery of new products to customers. It also fueled a new technology strategy to easily connect and unify our products under one family, Infor10, which launched in 2011.
As the transformation began, a company of more than 13,000 employees now had the feel of a startup.
With the new corporate strategy, and a unified product portfolio now in place that included the integration of Lawson Software, the decision to rebrand was about acknowledging that this was a whole new company. It was now time to share it to the world. The first step was to clearly define what our brand stands for. To do so meant bringing to the forefront some of our most important traits: ‘speed’, ‘flexibility’, and ‘industry specialization’. Recognizing that our expertise in particular niche industries differentiate us from any of our competitors, we deepened our micro-vertical features, and give customers the fastest and most flexible deployment options possible with the same software available on-premise or in the cloud.
Another competence we wanted to highlight was ‘beauty.’ Building upon our leading industry functionality, we believe the next progression in enterprise software is to deliver a user experience that’s meaningful and pleasurable. Focusing on the aesthetics of the experience, the design sensibility becomes a crucial differentiator. A common and seamless user experience that allows business professionals to ‘work the way you live’ embracing familiar collaboration and social business capabilities is a core design principle.
Hook & Loop is our in-house creative agency—not external designers or consultants on our rebrand, but rather a core part of our corporate team. Based in Infor’s New York headquarters, Hook & Loop drives all aspects of our product design and user experience across our entire portfolio. Our corporate brand attributes are in fact a natural extension of our product design. This ensures a corporate identity that is consistent and repeatable.
The launch of our rebrand in late 2012 introduced a new logo which is modern and clean, and a new website offering a more consumer-like feel. But the new Infor is about much more than those surface features. We are gaining further brand recognition with a new global advertising campaign that launched in February. This campaign upholds our important brand attributes, while directly associating Infor with ‘Beautiful and Social Applications’ and ‘Industry Specialization.’
Ultimately a brand is a promise to customers, and a reflection of market perception. This is key, because brand doesn’t end at logo, tagline or website. Consumers can tell the difference between a superficial rebrand and an authentic one. We must deliver on our brand promise, and that means delivering a new generation of software that truly changes the way work is done. Successful branding also depends on creating brand ambassadors to carry the brand forward clearly and consistently. This extends throughout our 13,000 employees around the world, and to all of our constituencies in the market. The new Infor represents our capacity to connect, and that’s a value that drives our brand every day.
I welcome you to learn about the traits described above and the branding exercise here”
Chip can be reached at Chip DOT Coyle AT Infor DOT com