If you asked employees in a random sample of companies what makes their business unique, many would be hard pressed to tell you. The default position on this seems to be ‘our people’ (like we've never heard that one before!), but that doesn't really do the job of articulating your value and it doesn't do much to fire people up about working with you, or for you.
We’ve not been immune to this at Progress either. While I found that I received some great one-to-one feedback from our partners, customers and employees, I wasn’t getting a complete, consistent picture of how people felt about Progress and why they choose to bet their businesses on our platform.
This was a big problem for me because if I wasn't getting a clear picture then how could I expect the Progress partner community to successfully leverage our brand to promote their applications and solutions? How could I expect customers to know they were making a great decision with an application that's 'powered by Progress'?
When coming up with the answer to this challenge the most important thing for me was to get an honest, authentic response. And that meant that the answers had to come from the people that knew us best - our customers, partners and employees.
But I didn’t want to spend a fortune doing this. I didn’t have 9 months and $2million to burn! How many of us in marketing get huge rebrand budgets to do with whatever we want? Not many! So, instead we put together a small team to conduct a basic survey across Progress employees, our partner community and our customer base to find out exactly what they thought made Progress special and what qualities they associated with our solutions and our brand. With just a small set of open questions, we got straight to the heart of what we needed to know.
Here I was working for a company that believed they had no brand. The audience may have been diverse, but the responses were overwhelmingly consistent, specific and emotive. Everything I was looking for. And at that point I knew – Progress had remarkable brand strength. Let’s not confuse name recognition with brand! Words like “rock solid,” “reliable,” “scalable,” “partnership.” Quotes like “the best software you’ve never heard of,” “you help us bring our ideas into the world,” “it just works,” "the engine that powers my business."
I loved it!
The experience of doing this was extremely positive. There is nothing quite like hearing first-hand how much your company makes a difference to make you proud to be part of it. This was amplified when sharing the results of the survey internally, generating huge positivity as well as helping people feel clearer and more confident about the impact our solutions have on businesses around the world. The best thing of all is that this was unfiltered, not something that had been constructed by one person within the business or by an agency that had been paid to make us feel good about our brand.
And just as the survey itself was far-reaching, the results will be too. We listened to what our partner and customer community said and are sparking some bold changes to tell our story that we are very excited to be revealing at Progress Exchange 2013. You told us from the heart and we have taken it to heart - I can't wait to share it with you!
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