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Aligning the stars or when and why a company should change its brand identity

Blog: Capgemini CTO Blog

“There is only one signature for a company: its name.” This is how Capgemini’s founder, Serge Kampf, concluded one of the first discussions I had with him and Philippe Grangeon back in 2010. This standout line came back to mind when the decision was made to evolve the Capgemini brand. I will come back to this a bit later.

Based on my experience in coordinating the revamp of Capgemini’s brand identity, I wanted to share some tips on why and when to enter into such an important change.

The question of picking the right timing is undoubtedly one that comes up most often, at least for us brand professionals. No magic here, but maybe something I would call the alignment of stars.

Seven years ago (OMG, already!), I led, together with @brendaclery, the rebranding of Thomson to Technicolor. This came as a result of a major change to the businesses. When Engie decided to abandon the name GDF Suez, two famous French brand names, getting rid of a too cumbersome past was certainly an objective.

Capgemini 50th anniversary, officially celebrated on October 1st, was perfect timing to mobilize the company people. But beyond this symbol, it is also the evolution of the world in which it operates and the evolution of its business that influenced this decision.

Capgemini in 2017 doesn’t look like it did in 2004, when its logo had last evolved. The company revenue has doubled, headcount multiplied… However, looking more in detail, the real changes have occurred on the portfolio of services, changes to meeting customer challenges and to propose the right technologies solutions. In 2004, cloud was mainly web hosting and digital was about website development. The three words—consulting, technology, and outsourcing—that governed the IT services over the last decades do not apply anymore.

The shape of a brand reputation must also be considered. In certain markets, the need to pitch to historical clients becomes less acute than being “seen” by new client profiles such as the CMO. In 2007, what McKinsey identified as a change for the future finally came to fruition in 2017; change greatly analyzed in a recent Gartner study.

The last star to align in my view, a key one for a company like Capgemini, is the employer branding; the capacity to attract talent. Capgemini’s vision that the business value of technology comes from and through people is unique to the market. These people are obviously the users and clients, but they are also the future colleagues to be attracted and retained.

In the latter domain, millennials force many companies to question themselves and consider the new main reasons to join. A Forbes article aptly describes some this evolution, notably the purpose that I will tackle tomorrow.

Finally, one must remember that the key drivers to be considered for such a change are the ones that will ultimately impact the company’s stakeholders, both internally and externally.

This post is the first of a series of 3, these views are mine.

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