by David Kirkpatrick
, Senior Reporter
Magic Software is an established multinational with a 30-year history and 14 regional offices around the world, including Israel, North America, Japan, Europe and South America. With a market presence that entrenched, rebranding is not a marketing effort taken on lightly.
Tania Amar, Vice President for Global Marketing, Magic Software, joined the company just over two years ago. At previous corporate stops, Amar initiated rebranding campaigns, so she came to the position with experience in successfully executing large-scale rebranding.
She also realized Magic Software’s entire business was about to undergo a major change.
Amar explained, "The company was about to launch -- within a year and a half -- a new mobile development platform. I was looking to analysts and reading the trends that very clearly (pointed to) the whole mobile enterprise market being a revolution in our space -- in IT."
The company determined that it needed new messaging, and branding "look and feel," to be credible and to penetrate the mobile enterprise space.
Magic Software went through a total rebranding, culminating in the launch of the new brand in June of 2012.
This case study covers the process Amar’s team utilized to successfully rebrand Magic and increase Web traffic 20%, Facebook fans 1,000%, and YouTube subscribers 70%.
At the beginning of the rebranding process, Amar brought in an external strategic partner whom she had previously worked with on similar campaigns. She stated this partner had an understanding of global culture, which she felt was an important asset since Magic had international offices.
Amar also described the scope of the effort as "dramatic."
"The rebranding was looking at all the product architecture," she explained. "We have two main products in an application platform and an integration platform. We had different naming for them, and different positioning, and we decided to change the model of the way we presented our product."
Amar continued, "Changing the name of the product, changing the way you present the product, is very dramatic for a technology company."
Step #1. Begin with workshops involving internal decision makers
Amar described the rebranding process as "bottom up," with the first step hosting a workshop with the 14 branch managers from each of the regional offices, putting these internal decision makers at Magic from different countries and global regions in one room.
She said the idea behind the workshop was to find out several things from the managers:
- Where are we (Magic) today?
- Where do we want to go?
- How should the company be positioned over the next two years?
- What are the future needs of our customers?
The workshop essentially was a forward look at where Magic wanted to go as a company, explained Amar.
Along with the future projections, the workshop also sought the following:
- What are the values of the company?
- What is our culture?
- What are the values that we represent as Magic people?
The 14 branch managers were chosen for the initial workshop because the team wanted to include people with decision power, but also people who meet Magic customers on a day-to-day basis.
"Our branch managers have a very hands-on approach," said Amar. "They are salespeople themselves, and they meet with the customers on a daily basis."
At the end of workshop, the team sought a one-sentence answer on Magic’s positioning and what is unique about Magic based on what the workshop participants heard directly from customers.
Amar stated the team planned on using the information gleaned from the workshop to create branding that matches the culture and style of the company.
"On the one hand, you want to be recognized and supported by your employees. You want everyone to feel comfortable with the new branding," explained Amar. "On the other hand, you want to be different from what you have today, so it’s a real challenge when you deal with a very drastic rebranding like we did."
Step #2. Conduct interviews with key external resources
After obtaining insight from the high-level internal resources, the team then reached out to key external resources with surveys and interviews.
These external resources included:
- Key customers
- Key partners
The team conducted around 25 interviews with the external resources, and included some Magic employees in the interview process.
About these interviews, Amar stated, "I needed to check our own gut feeling about the positioning and the values."
The output from this stage in the process was a large presentation that covered all of the discussions, summarizing the different possibilities for Magic’s value and positioning.
This interviewing stage really informed the content aspect of the rebranding. Amar said the team spent around a year working on the content positioning before even beginning to tackle the design and logo elements of the rebranding effort.
She said the word branding exercise was important to ensure the rebranding campaign wasn’t perceived as the team just sending out a new logo and claiming Magic now had a unique, and new, offering in its business sector.
Step #3. Open the ongoing discussion to internal and external stakeholders
Amar stated the team thought it was important to involve Magic employees across the company.
She said, "We spent time presenting the steps with key stakeholders internally and externally, again before the part (of the rebranding process) which was more around the visuals and the logo."
These discussions allowed the team to get further insight into how the messaging should be rebranded.
The stakeholders were asked to read the entirety of the content and messaging.
The result of the interview process outlined above in Step #2, and the ongoing discussions with additional stakeholders in Magic’s brand, was entire re-messaging and a new content style.
"We [ended up] with a very enterprise-formal style," Amar said. "Changes included the way we built our sentences and the way we addressed the audience."
In the old branding, Magic used a formal B2B tone. In the new branding, it tried to be more friendly and informal, and get straight to the point.
For example, here is an example of the "old" branding messaging style:
"Many enterprises choose leading ERP and CRM solutions, such as SAP and Salesforce.com, to manage their IT and business activities. These include handling acquisitions, products, catalogs and orders, as well as managing leads, campaigns, customer profiles, and more.
"Although both the SAP and Salesforce.com solutions provide excellent services, each with fully-fledged and robust functionality in its own realm, in most enterprises these systems are deployed in isolation without any integration between them. It could be said that ‘no system is an island’, and in reality there is a great deal of overlap between such systems, often requiring interaction between the processes that are executed by each of them separately.
"SAP and Salesforce.com integration is essential for every enterprise to maximize each system’s output, reduce errors, and improve overall organizational efficiency."
And, here is an example of the new branding messaging:
"You’ve chosen to run your business with two of the leading enterprise applications because you want to be the best. But are you really benefiting from the potential synergies and operatingas efficiently as possible?
"If your SAP and Salesforce.com are still not integrated, your staff is likely spending valuable time manually updating duplicate data and switching back and forth between systems to access the information they need to do their jobs. Chances are that tedious error-prone processes are slowing your business and hindering employee and customer satisfaction.
"The good news is that Magic xpi Integration Platform lets you easily integrate, synchronize and automate processes between both systems so your business can prosper!"
Step #4. Determine rebranded design and polish new messaging
After completely reworking the messaging, the team engaged in a continuation of the initial outreach to external resources, particularly analysts.
The idea was to gain additional input on the new content from key analysts who had been following Magic for a long period. This stemmed from concern that the revamped messaging might not connect with the audience, or worse the audience wouldn’t even associate the new content with Magic, because it was so different from what that audience was used to receiving from Magic.
Amar stated, "We spent time polishing the message with some our key analysts from Gartner and Forrester."
With the rebranded messaging settled, the team then focused on the new logo
(note: you can see the old version here
) and design elements of the rebranding. Magic engaged the services of a local, Israeli-based design agency that came up with a number of different logos and visual ideas.
Amar stated that the team surprised the agency by choosing the concept that was the most "daring and edgy."
In fact, the team opted to utilize six variations on the shape of the new logo. (Example of an alternate variation
She described the new design as modern and attractive, and much more in what Amar called a "B2C" style to appeal to the mobile space.
"We talked a lot about the consumerization of IT," Amar explained. "IT is not any more in the hands of the IT manager or the developers. We wanted to have lots of remedies to attract IT teams at the consumer level."
Amar added, "The whole branding, the design and the look and feel, was really built more for online communication and for social networks. We really strengthened our online presence, the websites have completely changed. (Note: You can see the old version of the site versus the new version of the Magic website
Two brochures, produced before
the rebranding, help illustrate the difference in messaging, look, feel and even in how the way Magic’s products and services were presented to the audience.
Step #5. Provide prelaunch rebranded experience to key audience members
With the rebranding effort complete, the team wanted to provide the new branding in advance of launch to key people, both internal and external, to the company. This allowed those audience members an opportunity to become used to the new branding.
"We wanted to make sure our key and close audiences -- our customers who have been working with us for many years, employees and analysts, as well -- we wanted them to be exposed to the branding before it was going out formally in June," Amar stated.
Through early 2012, before the launch, the team shared the new brand at conferences, customer events and internal meetings. One very large customer was given a private preview of the new branding.
Step #6. Launch the rebranding look, feel and messaging
"Our emphasis was on the content and purpose behind the rebranding and not so much showing off the esthetics of the new brand," said Amar. "Even though we are very happy with our new design and logo, we were more interested in explaining the real evolution that our company was, and still is, going through to our customers and partners than in general market publicity."
The rebranding was pre-launched through a worldwide road show that explained the reasoning behind the effort, and at the same time, solicited feedback from key customers, partners, analysts and employees.
Magic employees were given a look at the new branding at the Magic World event in May, and the official launch of the rebranding was June 11, 2012, when the new website, blog, Facebook page and other core marketing materials went "live."
Amar stated, "We did not issue a press release, as we felt that we had conveyed the explanation for our new branding to our key audiences and didn’t want anyone to think that we were only rebranding for superficial reasons."
One reason the team decided to use six slightly different variations on the new logo was because the rebranding was more Web-based than the traditional brochure and other physical marketing collateral pieces.
The six different shapes allowed Magic to provide a dynamic logo for website visitors.
With the importance of the online impact of the new brand, the main key performance indicators for the rebranding included online traffic -- website visits and social media impact being the most important.
Since the launch of the rebranding in June, Magic Software has achieved the following:
- Website traffic increased 20%
- New visits to the corporate blog increased 10% in spite of a decrease in blog post volume
- Facebook fans reached 43,000, a 1,000% lift
- YouTube subscribers increased 70%, and views 50%
Amar emphasized that although the KPIs for the rebranding were marketing metrics, the team is also looking at bottom-line impact and implementing a new system that will allow Marketing to show that impact.
"Marketing is responsible for this project because we want to show the ROI of everything we do, and rebranding is one of those things," she said.
About the entire rebranding process, Amar stated, "Usually the rebranding is for external -- you want to change the image, or the perception of how your customers look at you or the market. But, I think the year-and-a-half process with the workshops and the discussions internally was even more important, or at least as important as the end result of the rebranding."
- Rebranded logo
- Old logo
- Alternate version of new logo
- Old website
- Rebranded website
- Brochure with old messaging and design
- Brochure with rebranded messaging and design
SourceMagic Software Enterprises
Related ResourcesThe Five C’s of Successful Branding
(via the Magic Blog)How to Prep Your Staff for Corporate RebrandingStorytelling and Brand Resurrection in the Age of Social MediaB2B E-commerce: Revamped online branding and cross-linked site search drives 17% of B2B revenueBranding and Interactive Media: What is the role of a brand on interactive media? How does branding relate to direct response?