When NEC Corporation of America‘s revenue began to decline a couple of years ago, the company’s executives knew it was time for a change. Struggling with low brand awareness and a need to differentiate themselves from their competitors, NEC started where most companies should – at the brand level. The result: their Orchestrating a Brighter World campaign.
But before they could bask in the glory of their new brand, NEC had to manage the chaos that naturally accompanies such an endeavor, which Joe Salisbury – the company’s vice president of corporate marketing, communications, analytics & big data – shared at a recent DFW AMA luncheon.
During his presentation, Joe shared best practices NEC uncovered as they underwent their recent transformation:
- Understand the customer. NEC created detailed customer personas to better understand who their customers are and what they care about. Then, they made concerted efforts to develop those relationships by meeting with them regularly in person for example. (When Joe asked how many members of the audience had met with a customer this week, only a few hands shot up).
- Convey customer value. A primary objective for NEC involved shifting their conversations with customers from technology talk to solutions. They began building these solutions based on each customer’s challenge.
- Make organizational changes: align sales/marketing/business units. NEC hired a new team to drive the tran
sformation and consolidated all of their marketing employees into one department. They also refined their sales process taking into consideration where they fell into the cycle.
- Go to market. Once their team was in place, NEC adjusted their strategy and action plan accordingly to better connect with customers and achieve a competitive advantage.
- Revisit branding. Through the rebrand, NEC uncovered a key differentiator, which Joe believes every organization needs. Theirs turned out to be biometrics – an innovative technology that can enhance safety and security, but can also carry a “big brother” connotation. From fingerprint scanning to facial recognition technology in video display walls (which recognizes a person and automatically adjusts the content based on their age for example), NEC is using their innovative differentiating technologies to improve the customer experience while gathering critical client data.
- Execute. Without proper execution, NEC’s transformation couldn’t be successful.
While focusing on other areas, many marketing professionals can lose contact with customers, prospects and the latest innovative technologies. Joe’s best practices not only remind us of the need to focus on our customers or clients but to also maintain a clear line of sight to a strategic approach that stays true to an organization’s brand.
How have you maintained customer engagement while undergoing transformation or change?