Choosing between fresh versus legacy branding

CMO at DXC discusses the conundrum of whether to showcase transformation of the group's brand or rely on its technology roots

When it comes to the digital transformation of your organisation, who would you rather trust – an organisation that has helped others to transform, or one that has also transformed itself?

Gary Stockman is betting clients will prefer the latter, and in his role as chief marketing and communications officer at DXC Technology, he is tasked with ensuring they do.

Anyone who has walked through a major Australian airport recently will be familiar with the DXC Technology brand, although perhaps not with what it does. The company was formed in July 2017 through the merging of two large IT service providers – Computer Sciences Corporate (CSC) and the enterprise services group at HP Enterprise. The new organisation works to lead clients on their digital transformations.

While both companies have many decades of experience, the merger presented a clean sheet of paper from a branding perspective – and an interesting conundrum.

“There was a question of whether we wanted to do some sort of compound brand or something that was more evocative of the either of the predecessor companies, versus creating something new,” Stockman says. “But we felt the story we wanted to tell as a new company required a new brand and brand position by which to tell it.”

That immediately set about a process of recreating everything needed to support the brand, from new design guidelines (now featuring black and white high-contrast imagery) through to a new website, and collateral based around clients and storytelling.

“And all of that is an attempt to make a statement that at we are a new company and our intent is to do new great things,” Stockman says.

He adds, however, the company has been keen to not abandon its heritage.

“There are aspects of who we were that are incredibly relevant today, and our challenge is to pull those forward and attach those aspects of who we were to a new brand in the marketplace,” Stockman says. “And the creation of that brand gave us an opportunity to make a statement of who we intend to be.”

The rationale was further supported through the realisation that more and more technology purchasing decision are being made by decision makers outside of the technology function, who have no strong knowledge of the previous brands.

Most importantly, however, Stockman says the new brand allows the company to convey a proposition which is better suited to the reality of its clients.

“Today there is no question the clients feel an enormous imperative to leverage digital to improve their business,” Stockman says. “But they do not often have a clear sense of how they need to move forward – what are they solving for, what is the art of the possible.

“The same challenges that our clients are facing in digital transformation are challenges we have either met or are meeting ourselves.”

In this way, Stockman says DXC sees itself as ‘client zero’ for digital transformation.

“We are doing a lot of transforming ourselves, and we do relate that to our clients,” he says. “The ability to understand and empathise with the challenge and the urgencies than client or prospect faces I think can only help.”

Stockman joined the CSC side of the business in June 2014, from a background mostly spent in agencies, including more than 12 years with Porter Novelli in New York. While he was initially concerned whether the pace and variety of life in a large corporate would match what he was used to, Stockman says the variation of the client work immediately provided ample stimulation. And then of course there was the small matter in 2017 of the merger.

From an operational perspective, Stockman’s heritage has led him to build the function in a way that treats the business as a client.

“That is something you don’t always see from corporate marketing and communications organisations but that is something we really tried to instil here,” he says. “We ask what are the tangible business outcomes that we are seeking to achieve and then how do we work with our internal clients to affect those outcomes. And how do we deploy all the resources across marcom to do it.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

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