Harvard Business School N9-500-061 February 2, 2000 Renaming Computer Power Group On Monday morning, December 5, 1998, Peter James, CEO and Managing Director of Computer Power Group (CPG), a leader in the Australian IT education and services industry, was reflecting on the results of the recent Brand Visioning offsite – code named Project Horizon. He was satisfied with the future plan they had created for the brand, including an articulation of the brand purpose and values, a clear statement of branding objectives, and a brand architecture that effectively unified brands in the portfolio (see Exhibits 1 & 2).
James was relieved that the team decided that they should change the corporate name to Interim Technology, the name of the company’s new parent. Although it was not mandated, James believed this move was a good first step in establishing a positive relationship with his U. S. stakeholders. The work provided a strong platform on which to transition the company from a product centered group to a brand-centric organization focussed on advancing corporate performance and personal careers through leadership in IT education.
There was only one more item on the “to do” list of the brand strategy project – setting brand names.
The agreed-upon brand architecture called for descriptive sub-brand names within the Education and Services business units, as unified under a strong corporate umbrella. “Our marketing objective,” explained James, “is to create an inspiring and dominant corporate brand which encourages the best quality IT professionals to join and want to be part of Interim Technology. We want to move to an umbrella brand structure, within which are specified strong educational and services brands capable of meeting individual and corporate segment needs.
The Project Horizon visioning team decided they should start the naming exercise with the Education business unit, which provided the training and development of IT professionals that formed the cornerstone of the company’s purpose and mission. The Education unit included two core sub-businesses; each identified along customer segmentation lines. The first sub-unit provided educational services to individual consumers, and included the CPTI (Computer Power Technology Institute) brand.
The second segment of the Educational unit served the corporate market, and included the MTE (Management Technology Education), CPAS (Computer Power Advanced Systems Institute) and Imageword brands. The off-site team agreed that after the names for the individual education and corporate education brands were confirmed, they could move to the Services business unit, which was marketed through business-to-business channels and was therefore, they believed, less critical from a branding perspective.
The Naming Meeting Given their history and contributions to CPG profits, the branding of the individual and corporate education sub-units had generated impassioned discussions at the off-site visioning Research Associate Andrea C. Wojnicki prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Susan Fournier as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Copyright © 2000 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to http://www. hbsp. harvard. edu. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Harvard Business School. 1 500-061 Renaming Computer Power Group meeting – discussions for which resolutions had yet to be reached.
James was in favor of abandoning all of the existing individual and corporate education brand names, grouping them within each relevant sub-division, and renaming them with an appropriate Interim prefix. So, for example, MTE (Management Technology Education) and Imageword, the corporate education brands, would merge to become Interim Corporate Training, or some such entity. CPTI (Computer Power Technology Institute) and CPAS (Computer Power Advanced Systems Institute), the individual training brands, would merge and become Interim Individual Training or a variant thereof.
However, many senior managers at the offsite were hesitant to consolidate individual brands under a single sub-brand umbrella, thus abandoning equities that the firm had invested in over the years. James remained convinced that the benefits of scale would outweigh the equity lost in abandoning the existing names. He arranged a meeting involving the General Managers of each of the four current education subbrands, and Melissa Richardson, Strategy & Innovation Partner from Galileo, the brand development consultancy that had been working with CPG on their brand initiative from the start.
James started the meeting. “As you all know, I am seriously considering sub-branding the individual and corporate education brands under the Interim corporate umbrella. ” He turned to Mike Clugston, the General Manager of CPTI. “Mike, I understand from your comments at the visioning offsite that you are not comfortable with this course of action. What would you recommend? ” “Well,” began Clugston, “I agree that there are benefits that can be realized by integrating our brand names with others in the company.
I understand your position, but if we introduce new brand names, we really are abandoning some very strong equity, and in effect neutralizing all of the marketing investments we have made over the years. I spent this morning looking through the Brand Audits that Richardson and her team at Galileo conducted, and confirmed that CPTI and MTE both have very strong brand equities. Great awareness levels. Strong associations. It would be a shame to lose these assets that we have worked so hard to build. We lose those names and we lose volume, repeat business, maybe both. “I agree,” added Con Kittos, the General Manager of MTE. “My recommendation would be to capitalize on this equity and name the Corporate Training Brand ‘MTE’, and the Individual training Brand ‘CPTI’. Why run the risk of a short-term loss of sales while some new identity is being established? ” “Oh boy, I am having a deja vu,” noted Clugston. “We have been down this road before. Remember the transition from Control Data Institute to CPTI? We didn’t hesitate to change the name of that company after we acquired it, and it took us years to recover.
We lost a lot of ground with the folks that had been working with that firm over the years. ” “Good point,” noted James. “The risk is great. ” “Not to make this more complicated,” noted Richard Malouney, the General Manager of Imageword, “but what about the Interim corporate name? We have talked a great deal about developing a strong corporate brand architecture so that IT professionals would want to become part of Interim Technology as a centralized education and services provider. I am not hearing that mentioned at all. ” “We could use both names, I guess,” offered Kittos. So the brands could become ‘Interim Technology MTE’ and ‘Interim Technology CPTI,’ or Interim MTE and Interim CPTI. ” He paused. “Kind of like ‘IBM ThinkPad’ and ‘IBM WorkPad,’ or ‘Microsoft Word’ and Microsoft PowerPoint’. ” “So what would we have on our business cards? ” asked Clugston. 2 Renaming Computer Power Group 500-061 “Any formal communication would have both, but in conversation we would probably just say ‘MTE’,” answered Kittos. “That’s basically what happens in IBM examples I provided, or with software products by Microsoft.
People know the corporate ownership, but use the sub-brand shorthand all the time. ” He looked over at James, who was furrowing his brow as he listened intently. “Or,” offered Clugston, “we could refer to the brands as ‘MTE by Interim Technology’ and ‘CPTI by Interim Technology’, just like DeWalt by Black & Decker. I read a Harvard Business School case study on that branding decision. Seems like a nice compromise solution. You get the positive halo of the corporate brand association, but let the individual brand identity thrive. “I’ll have to put my foot down on that one,” said James. “Either we go for a corporate association or we don’t. This is not the time for waffling and making compromises. ” The others agreed. David Rossiter, the General Manager of CPAS finally spoke up. “For what it is worth, I have to disagree with what I am hearing. I think we should wipe the slate clean and change all of the brand names to Interim with a sub-brand that clearly defines the product-target segment– something like ‘Interim Corporate Training’ and ‘Interim Individual Training’.
Then we should do the same for the Services business unit. Interim Consulting Services. Interim Personnel Placement Services. We’ve just been acquired; we have a new mission and purpose, a new brand vision. Let’s not be saddled with our pasts. Let’s work toward the future to claim our true potential. Besides, isn’t the ‘Institute’ modifier out-dated now? It sounds so 1960s to me. Same thing with the ‘Computer” label. Don’t we want to make a more explicit connection with the broader IT term? ” Richardson intervened. Well, I think we have effectively outlined the branding choices here. My suggestion is that we conduct some naming research to find out what Interim’s customers and consumers think. We could start with the individual training brand, arguably the most visible education brand in the company’s portfolio. That brand has received a disproportionate advertising budget over the years, and has benefited from broad exposure in the consumer media. I think it would serve as a logical first step. ” The team readily agreed that consumer research should guide the naming decision.
A meeting was set for the following day, in which the team would generate a list of options for the individual education brand. In addition to the current runner CPTI, the team settled on four contenders that they felt served as accurate descriptors of the unit’s services and goals: ‘Interim Technology Institute’, ‘Interim Technology Training Institute’, ‘Interim Computer Training Institute’, and ‘Interim Technology Training’. Questions concerning the effectiveness of the ‘Institute’ identification, and the use of ‘computer’ versus ‘IT’ identifiers remained, suggesting additional areas to probe in the upcoming research. But if ‘MTE’ and ‘CPTI’ win, do we call them ‘Interim MTE’ and ‘Interim CPTI’ ‘MTE by Interim’ and ‘CPTI by Interim’ or just “MTE’ and ‘CPTI’? ” asked Clugston. “I think that is something that we will have to determine strategically. We can’t rely on Interim’s consumers and customers to tell us that,” Richardson answered. “Now, we just have to agree on a set of parameters against which we will rate these potential names. ” The team spent the next hour generating attributes they wanted the brand name to communicate, and associations from which they wanted the brand to steer clear.
By referring to the Brand Values statement and other brand strategy documents that were determined at the Project Horizon offsite, they came up with the following list: 3 500-061 Renaming Computer Power Group ATTRIBUTES Security and peace of mind Flexible Expensive High quality Professional Good value for the money Reputable Reliable Have crash courses Lets you learn at your own pace Offers fast track courses Is American Well-known company Will place you in a job Credible Out-of-date Applies poor standards Not recognized by those in the IT industry
The Naming Research In December 1998, a local research company conducted 232 telephone interviews in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory to test the alternate brand names. All respondents were personal computer users. Fifty percent of the sample had previously completed a computer training course, and 30% had not yet completed a course but intended to do so sometime in the future. The remaining 20% of the sample had not completed a computer-training course and had no immediate intentions along those lines.
Participants rated the five individual education brand names (CPTI, Interim Technology Institute, Interim Technology Training Institute, Interim Computer Training Institute, and Interim Technology Training) against the eighteen attributes, and then provided an overall judgment of the “best” name in the list. Additionally, as mentioned, general associations and meanings of ‘computer’, ‘IT’, and ‘institute’ were gathered through open-ended questioning. It was early in the new year, and James was anxious to have a decision regarding the brand names as soon as possible – ideally for the presentation he was preparing for his U.
S. stakeholders at Interim Services Inc. He called Richardson at Galileo and explained the urgency of his needs. Richardson pulled together some top-line tables from the research and faxed them to James (see Exhibits 3, 4, 5, & 6). She called James later that day. “Well,” she asked, “What name are you going to select? ” 4 Renaming Computer Power Group 500-061 Exhibit 1 Project Horizon Offsite Brand Visioning Results ROLE: PURPOSE: Interim Technology is the bridge – helping the world work more efficiently by transforming the way people work with technology.
POSITIONING: Interim technology is your lifelong partner in technology-driven workplace transformation BRAND VALUES: LEARNING: Dedicated to lifelong learning in technology-driven domains INNOVATION: committed to state-of-the-art knowledge and teaching techniques PERFORMANCE: results, excellence, efficiency, responsiveness INTEGRITY: security, dependability, trust, loyalty, stability TEAMWORK: collaboration & commitment to relationships This was summed up in the mnemonic “Don’t pay LIP service to our IT values. BRANDING OBJECTIVES: Quickly build a well known and desirable brand that is able to make a powerful impact in the IT education and services industry through its: BrandVision (Purpose/Role/Values/Identity) Branding Architecture People Products & Services Communications Relationships with clients, individuals, and other stakeholders BRANDING ARCHITECTURE: Reduce from multiple brands to one unifying corporate brand with descriptive business unit subbrand names to give: Powerful impact in the market. Ability to cross-sell services across databases of client organizations and IT professionals. Cohesion inside the company.
MARKETING OBJECTIVES: Create a single inspiring and dominant education & services IT brand which encourages the best quality IT professionals to join and want to be part of Interim Technology. Transform the organization from transaction driven to relationship focussed enabling cross selling of all our products and services. Develop and provide services and products that confirm Interim Technology as your lifelong partner in technology driven workplace transformation. Shift from multi-brand product centered group to a brand-centric organization focussed on delivering continuous technology driven workplace transformation.
PEOPLE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES: Align people across the entire organization and prepare them to be “Brand Ambassadors” through an internal communications program Focus on existing (and add new) products and services which powerfully deliver on the Interim Technology BrandVision and promise of technology driven workplace transformation. COMMUNICATION OBJECTIVES: Awareness – Launch Interim Technology and its purpose & values in information technology. Understanding – Generate understanding for how Interim Technology delivers Lifelong career transformation in information technology. 5 500-061
Renaming Computer Power Group Action – Get specific target audiences to understand and act on the range of products & services offered by Interim Technology. 6 Renaming Computer Power Group 500-061 Exhibit 2 Interim Technology Brand Architecture Services Education Personnel Brand Consulting Brand Corporate Training Brand Individual Training Brand Equus Parity Computer People CP Pty Ltd Imageword MTE CPAS CPTI 7 500-061 Renaming Computer Power Group Exhibit 3 Research Results – New Brand Names- Name Association NAME ASSOCIATION Interim Interim Technology Technology Training Institute Institute
Interim Computer Training Institute Interim Technology Training Don’t know/none Security Flexible Expensive Quality Professional Value for money Reputable Out-of-date Reliable Have crash courses Credible Will Place you in a job Let you learn at your own pace Have poor standards Fast track courses NOT recognised by IT industry Is American 26* 22 39 32 37 17 33 22 29 24 32 17 22 17 22 24 33 26 29 38 34 31 25 34 15 31 28 38 29 29 14 27 15 30 Asked of all respondents N = 232 Total Sample (%) 25 28 38 37 38 34 34 25 34 35 38 34 25 13 38 17 31 23 25 33 26 25 25 21 24 21 29 23 23 27 20 24 25 31 7 22 16 16 13 25 20 29 22 18 19 26 22 44 14 39 30 “I am going to read out 4 names that may be used for a new training company. They are, Interim Technology Institute, Interim Technology Training Institute, Interim Computer Training Institute, Interim Technology Training. I’m going to read out a number * Read as follows: “26% of the respondents believed that the name Interim Technology Institute was associated with the word security. ” NOTE: Differences between brand names or attributes exceeding 8 are considered significant at a 95% confidence level. 8
Renaming Computer Power Group 500-061 Exhibit 4 Research Results – New Brand Names- Best & Worst Names BEST & WORST NAMES Best name Worst name Interim Interim Technology Technology Training Institute Institute 19* 25* 24 15 Interim Computer Training Institute N=232 (%) 36 21 Interim Technology Don’t know / Training none 15 32 6 6 “I’d like you to think about a computer training company which works with their customers to develop careers in the computer industry through leadership and education. Could you please tell me which of these names is the best? ” Read as follows: “19% of the respondents believed that the name Interim Technology Institute was the best name for a computer training company that works with their customers to develop careers in the computer industry through leadership and education. 25% thought it was the worst. ” NOTE: Differences between brand names or attributes exceeding 8 are considered significant at a 95% confidence level. 9 500-061 Renaming Computer Power Group Exhibit 5 Research Results – Association With CPTI ASSOCIATION WITH CPTI Computer Technology Training Inst (CPTI) Total Aware of CPTI Not aware of CPTI N=232 N=99 N=133
Security Flexible Expensive Quality Professional Value for money Reputable Out-of-date Reliable Have crash courses Credible Will Place you in a job Let you learn at your own pace Have poor standards Fast track courses NOT recognised by IT industry Is American Is a well-known company None (%) 48* 53 66 69 75 47 64 26 64 63 68 55 53 16 71 22 46 55 2 (%) 49* 58 68 69 75 46 71 28 65 62 68 59 58 14 69 22 37 81 1 (%) 48* 57 64 68 75 47 59 25 64 63 68 53 49 17 72 22 52 35 3 “I would now like to concentrate on one company name thar you may have already heard of before, Computer Power Training Institute.
As I read out the list of words and phrases again can you tell me which, if any, you associate with the name Computer Power Training Institute? ” * Read as follows: “48% of the total respondents believed that the name CPTI was associated with the word security. 49% of the 99 respondents who were aware of CPTI believed that CPTI was associated with security. 48% of the 133 respondents who were not aware of CPTI believed that CPTI was associated with security. ” NOTE: Differences between samples or attributes exceeding 13 are considered significant at a 95% confidence level. 10 Renaming Computer Power Group 00-061 Exhibit 6 Research Results – Word Associations ‘Institute,’ ‘Computer’, and ‘IT’ WORD ASSOCIATIONS (Open-ended, N=232) Institute Computer Standards / Maintenance For 40+ year olds (older) Intimidating More specialised Place of learning Main-frames / Hardware etc Big place / Out of city Part of IT (only part) Locked-up culture Easily recognisable Private Education For juniors Adult Learning User friendly Mortar Board feeling Naive perspective Tangible – a place IBM University – Up-market Big Credible “Outsiders” A ‘home’ Motor Mechanic (How it works) Academy is better?
High learning Benchmark Serious about qualifications (accreditation) Might be over-used, so de-valued Profession (like medical industry or architects) Information Technology Younger Broader than just computers Solutions / Content Insiders view Industry name Flashy / Cliched Current Credible More general Covers the”convergence” industries “What do you think of when I say the word Institute ? ” “What do you think of when I say the word Computer ? ” “What do you think of when I say the words Information Technology ? ” 11