How does a company that’s home to hundreds of individual brands with their own “microcultures” create an overarching corporate brand? That was the challenge facing Josh London when he was hired by tech media giant IDG in March 2015.
London, IDG’s first corporate CMO, was charged with helping implement a master brand strategy. “We wanted to move from a traditional house of brands to more of a branded house worldwide,” he told me.
IDG encompasses hundreds of technology-oriented websites and print publications around the world, and also puts on several hundred events. When London collected all the properties’ logos for a presentation, “in many cases, they looked like they might not all be from the same company,” he said. “To take these disparate voices and all sing from the same song sheet was an opportunity I was really looking forward to.”
IDG started the process with a series of global audits, asking people in the industry, customers, and individuals throughout the company for their impressions of what IDG was. Research in hand, they formulated a positioning territory and turned it into a brand promise. The final step was a same-day launch around the world: “We started in Australia,” London said. “Every office, when they came in on day 1, had a present on their desk—a ‘we are IDG’ storybook that told the story in a consistent way.”
Highlights from this week’s Marketing Superstars podcast include:
- Even at a technology company, successful marketing needs are art as well as science (3:55)
- Why a decentralized company known for its individual brands decided it needed a corporate CMO (5:38)
- How a house of hundreds of brands started developing a unified brand promise (9:09)
- How the development of a master brand affects the individual brands under its umbrella (16:40)
- Why a decentralized company needs a universal framework to help individual brands determine how to treat new products (18:11)
- How to balance the requirements of a universal brand with the needs of different regions and company cultures (20:58)