My learned colleague Jared Richardson wrote a great post detailing a bit of what it took to get the introduction of Ivanti, the company and its websites worldwide, off the ground. Herewith, some additional, slightly more personal observations, and suggestions you can take from my and our experiences.
Two of my favorite analogies for complex, rapidly moving projects are the herding of cats and the production of a show. The rebranding of LANDESK, Shavlik, Wavelink, AppSense, and HEAT Software into Ivanti has, for me, combined the most challenging and satisfying aspects of both comparisons. Sort of like what I imagine the herding of the cast of the Broadway show “Cats” to be like.
As with the production of a show, execution of the rebranding exercise is supposed to look smooth, seamless, and well-planned to the outside audience, and for the most part, it has. And as with the production of a show, the rebranding involved more sheer work, collaboration, deadline-juggling, and surprises than even those of us who participated knew or could have known. A few examples follow.
The next time you have a few free moments, try this. Poke around your own company’s website, and try just to count the number of times your company name appears. Then double that number, to account for all the mentions your rapidly tiring eyes have likely missed. (And don’t think that online search tools will catch all of those, unless you’ve got tools that can search all your text-based and graphical content.)
Now, consider doing the same for the name of every product and service you offer. And for every other element of your online presence that must be updated to reflect the new branding. Then, multiply these efforts by the number of countries and regions in which you have locally translated websites. Then, run all of these changes past everyone in every region who oversees your local online outreach, to make sure you haven’t missed anything, forgotten anything, or gotten anything wrong. This, of course, long after you’ve chosen a consultancy to help with website redesign, then worked with them to craft a strategy for moving updated and new content to the new design. (Did I forget to mention that there would be lots of new content, too?) Then, if you haven’t run screaming from your workplace yet, move on to…
The marketing collateral
Lather, rinse, and repeat much of the above for every single piece of marketing and sales support collateral your company now uses. Extra credit for trying to use the rebranding as an opportunity to update or discard out-of-date collateral, only to find that the rebrand is a black hole into which every available content-related resource falls. Yes, every resource. You who remain skeptical just haven’t been through it.
The market messaging
Of course, every brand has its advocates, and every advocate has his or her opinions regarding key go-to-market messages. All that’s necessary is to consolidate all of the latest versions of these into a single, coherent set of messages that convey that we’re all now wearing the same team uniform, and why that’s a good thing for customers. No pressure. Especially since we all walked into every messaging-related meeting in total agreement about what we should say and how we should say it. Just as, I’m sure, every session in which you and your colleagues discuss IT or cybersecurity strategies begins with everyone joining hands and singing “Kumbaya,” and ends with everyone satisfied and in total agreement.
The other stuff
Oh, yes, there was more. Lots more. Just one example: finding a name that we could own, use, and legally protect internationally, without creating confusing or unfortunate translations in other languages or cultures. (One candidate was dropped when we found out it conveyed unsavory images of fortune tellers to French speakers.)
Of course, all of this was just to get the content written and edited. Only then did the exciting part take center stage: getting all of that content onto the Web successfully around the world. (And just so you know, just because I am not in the picture that accompanies Jared’s does not mean I was not involved. That room was so small I went back to my hotel room and beat on the pre-launch website via WiFi.)
All in all, an exhilarating, exhausting, and ultimately incredibly satisfying set of interlocking exercises. I’m not sure it took any years off of our lives, as the title of Jared’s post implies. But it certainly did turn into something I was glad and proud to be a part of—and would probably be glad and relieved if I didn’t have to do it again.
Lessons for your IT “rebranding” efforts
Throughout this entire experience, I was frequently reminded that many of you responsible for enterprise IT and cybersecurity management are facing highly analogous challenges. You’re trying to modernize IT to make it more user-centered, more secure, and more enabling for your users and your enterprise. And you’re probably at least a bit interested in shifting how IT and cybersecurity are perceived at your organization, in a more positive direction. In that light, here are four key takeaways from our rebranding experience, distilled for applicability to any number of IT or cybersecurity challenges.
- Collaboration is critical—but make sure not to slight or leave out any stakeholders.
- Consensus is frequently helpful—but not if it delays meeting deadlines or commitments.
- “Perfect” can be the enemy of “good enough”—meet your deadlines and commitments, then refine what you’ve done as time permits and needs dictate.
- Perception is reality—which often means that diplomacy is a key to progress and success. (In this context, it’s often useful to remember that “diplomacy” is sometimes the ability to tell someone to “go to Hades” in such a way that they look forward to the trip. Just sayin’.)
Ivanti can help
Trying to improve resistance to ransomware and other malware, and your ability to recover from such threats more quickly and less disruptively? Want to rein in unmanaged administrative privileges and the threats they create? Need to make your IT service management (ITSM) more self-service and user-friendly? Trying to avoid failing a software audit because of inadequate IT asset management (ITAM) information?
Whatever IT management or security challenges you’re trying to address, Ivanti has the solutions and experience to assist you. Check us out online, or contact an Ivanti representative today, so we can start to help you “rebrand” IT for the better at your enterprise.