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GT&A Strategic Marketing Inc.
Fast Ramp-Up Branding & Positioning of
New Companies, Products, Technologies
Services for the growing firm in:
-Developing and Building Lasting Brands
-Positioning with Investors/Analysts/Media/Influentials
With a special focus on:
-Software & Services
Today, technology or Web-based companies (whether startup, emerging, or established firms) face a serious challenge. Their success is highly dependent on gaining attention in the marketplace of the New Economy and making a meaningful, lasting impact--whether at company launch or upon introducing a new technology or offering. Thankfully, there are certain practices and techniques we know to work. GT&A Strategic Marketing has achieved success for many technology and Web-based firms--whether working alone or with key partners--and we would be happy to discuss how we may do the same for you.
What follows is a sampling of what we've accomplished in the areas of branding and company launches, as well as in helping companies develop positioning for the investment community, media, analysts, and other influentials.
Developing and Building Lasting Brands
Graeme Thickins, Principal - GT&A Strategic Marketing Inc.
Graeme in his usual pose (left), and pausing between poses (right).
Graeme Thickins founded his consultancy more than 16 years ago to focus on the needs of emerging technology and services firms. He did so after a successful career that combined working with such leading Fortune 500 firms as Medtronic, 3M, and Control Data, along with several highly entrepreneurial technology companies, and with both large and small advertising agencies. That combination of experience has proven invaluable in his consulting work. His entire career has been devoted to technology.
To date, his firm has helped more than 60 client companies launch, reposition, develop branding, formulate strategy, introduce new products, build equity, grow and prosper. GT&A focuses on the big picture and the long term. It helps clients succeed by developing and nurturing corporate and brand equity, a major source of competitive advantage; and by helping clients execute quality, high-impact company launches and integrated product introductions that create market presence, boost awareness and preference, and build market dominance.
We help growing firms with:
-Naming & Brand Development
-Brand Strategy, Superbranding, Naming Systems
-Name & Brand Audience Testing
-Brand Shaping/Definition (Brand Essence)
-Brand/Identity Enhancement or Upgrade
-Legacy-to-Digital Brand Transformation
-Traditional & Online Branding Campaigns
-Technology & Brand Evangelizing
Examples of GT&A's successes for its clients include the following.
Working with the founders from the concept stage about three years ago, we named the company and developed the branding for this innovative smart card personalization software firm. Devised print and web branding strategy, developed positioning, and managed editorial/content development for the firm's web presence, which we have continued to expand. Also manage message development and PR/media strategy on an ongoing basis. The web site is a major lead-generation and communications vehicle the company, in their very much global marketplace. And it has received acclaim from industry associations and customers alike as one of the best information resources about smart cards on the web. The company, which is partnering closely with major industry players and card issuers, continues to expand rapidly and is already profitable.
Began working with this firm at its founding by two semiconductor-industry entrepreneurs more than 14 years ago, continuing through two ownership changes and significant growth, today reaching $150 million in revenues and some 650 employees. Taken independent in a management buyout from Control Data in 1990 and now private and highly profitable, VTC evolved and grew to become the world's largest producer of preamp ICs to the data storage industry. We developed the firm's initial branding and identity (the name had already been chosen), which continues to serve them well today, and helped position the company in the industry early-on through high-impact product introductions and communications programs. At the spinout, we helped the firm reposition as a more focused IC supplier, and we continue to serve as the firm's outside marketing and communications partner. We introduced the firm to the opportunities of the web in 1995 and developed their web presence, which we have helped them enhance several times and trained them to manage. We have also launched online advertising programs for them, with an emphasis on recruiting, and most recently have launched a significant new branding effort based on the firm's expansion to Colorado and California.
Connect and Norstan Inc.
Connect, an IS consulting & networking integration firm with some $20 million in revenues and 400 employees, was being acquired by Norstan, a $500-million public firm in the telecom systems integration business. Working closely with the founder/CEO, we devised a new positioning for Connect that formed the basis for a new marketing initiative, as the firm was expanding to other parts of the U.S. and moving toward a phased integration with its new parent. This marketing program, which also included a transition from the name Connect to Norstan Consulting, was very well received by the marketplace, the parent firm, and by employees (an important audience). Later, we managed content development for a major upgrade of the Norstan web site, as part of a significant reorganization initiative led by the CEO of Norstan to integrate all its consulting and integration offerings into a new "global services" organization. Upon the web site going live (inside of three weeks from project inception), the CEO called us personally to express his delight and thanks.
Other naming/branding & consulting clients:
We were retained to help this recent startup do a re-naming. Founded in 1997 as ThemeMedia Inc. by Minneapolis investors that included consultant Gary Smaby and former Cray Research CEO John Rollwagen, the firm was commercializing a government-funded technology for content mapping and navigation. The firm, which has now completed two rounds of venture financing, adopted the name Cartia Inc. in mid-1998, appointed a new CEO (a former senior executive of Broadvision), and is based in Redmond, WA.
Developed this e-commerce payments firm's initial branding and identity, under their previous name, InTrek, in early 1998. Also developed and launched the company's initial web presence, including extensive content and message development. GT&A recommended and was later engaged to help re-name the firm, working closely with senior management to assess their options, create several name alternatives, and conduct name searches and focus groups of Internet/e-commerce industry influentials to test and evaluate various candidate names. The new name Eliance was chosen by the company in late 1998, and the firm is now embarking on a significant marketing effort.
The Smaby Group Inc.
Have been retained to assist with several client assignments for this technology business development and consulting organization, including projects related to business plan development and studies of technology trends. Also assisted in communicating the announcement of the firm's newly formed seed-capital fund, Square One Ventures, in November 1998.
Additional marketing/positioning or identity clients have included:
Secure Computing Corp.
Renamed this firm, working with the CEO soon after the company's founding as an independent entity (spun out of Honeywell). We recommended the name "Secure Computing" as a brand that would essentially identify the firm with the naming of a whole new industry. And the branding/ identity program we created for the company proved enormously successful. The company's IPO in late 1995 soared 202% in one day (more than Netscape's), setting a stock market record for the largest opening-day percentage increase, a figure that wasn't surpassed for 2 1/2 years. In addition, we served on the proposal team that secured a $23 million contract with the federal government, and also developed the company's initial marketing materials and managed PR initiatives during the company's critical early years.
Transition Networks Inc.
Hired to implement a complete image/identity makeover for this networking products firm, concurrent with a name change (from Transition Engineering). Developed a new identity system, an entirely new 'look and feel' for the firm's branding, an all-new, first-class literature system, and managed a major, new product introduction--including complete creative, literature, and advertising development, as well as coordination of PR initiatives. We also conceived and designed the firm's initial web presence, which was a key component of the branding/identity system we created, serving as the 'central nervous sytem' of the integrated marketing program we launched. The program was highly successful in repositioning the firm and driving new sales, culminating in the firm's recent acquisition by a much larger, well respected public firm, Communication Systems Inc.
Creative Internet Solutions
Began work with this web development/programming shop soon after its formation in 1994, and later helped them launch their first marketing program, which included further development of their brand, creation of a look and feel for their marketing literature, and crafting a message that presented them as a firm well out in front as an Internet partner and web developer. We helped the firm launch a seminar program, strategized target prospects, and acquired lists, attracting more than twice the expected audience, at a higher management level. The firm has continued to be our web hosting and programming partner to this day, also hosting some of our client sites. We were delighted at their recent success in being acquired by Control Data Systems, a major global integration firm, to play the lead role in that firm's worldwide expansion of their web development practice.
MRNet (formerly MN Regional Network)
How do you position a rapidly growing regional telecom firm and the area's largest ISP, which the former recently acquired? What is the best branding strategy to pursue as the two firms, each having a rich history and culture, now seek to integrate their businesses to better serve a fast expanding customer base? GT&A was retained by the parent firm, MEANS Telecom, to spearhead a new branding initiative shortly after their acquisition of MRNet, which was the original and is still the largest Internet service provider/web hosting firm in the Upper Midwest (as the last of the six independent U.S. "regional networks"). Our effort involved working with senior management of both firms, doing an audit and assessment of the current positioning and culture, then providing a recommendation for the combined branding for both firms. The effort culminated in our presentation of a creative concept and visual treatment for the first image campaign by either firm. This campaign, which was very well received, conveyed a powerful, new brand identity that successfully captured and positioned both the parent and the acquired firm as successfully integrated entities, with common visions and goals, employing a progressive, up-to-date visual treatment, yet retaining the unique identity and history of each firm.
This unit of Apogee Enterprises, a $1 billion public firm, has been a client since 1993, when we were called on to develop branding and manage the introduction of a strategic new product and service offering aimed at the casualty insurance industry. This highly successful program involved naming, identity/logo design, plan & budget development, and advertising & collateral execution, working with the VP/business development. The CEO lauded the program as "the best product introduction we've ever done." We were subsequently called on to handle other product naming and identity assignments, collateral & literature systems, and a complete branding/identity upgrade for the firm's two largest divisions, which account for some $400 million of the firm's revenues. The firm has recently completed implementing these new identities throughout its entire U.S. retail and wholesale distribution network.
Web interface design and site planning & design clients:
Our lead web designer and longtime graphic design associate, Randy Geise, has also played significant roles in other major web site design initiatives. These projects have included much work in user interface design, look and feel, and navigation architecture. They have included such name sites as:
Cyberhomes.com (the original and one of the leading web sites for MLS real-estate listings)
US Bank (formerly First Bank--one of the largest bank holding
companies in the U.S., headquartered in Minneapolis)
Graeme Thickins, principal of GT&A Strategic Marketing, has been quoted widely in articles on naming, branding, e-commerce, and the marketing issues faced by startups and dot-coms. He also began establishing a web content/community site in 1995, which has grown considerably since then. It has an impressive following, including CEOs, venure capitalists, analysts, editors, marketing professionals, and entrepreneurs and founding teams from a variety of backgrounds:
GT&A's Web Site - "Branding & Marketing to Win in the Knowledge Economy"
Further information about Graeme and his firm may be found on his firm's web site, including:
Strong branding, properly positioned in the marketplace, is a powerful force in building value for the new technology or Web venture. We invite you to put our talent, experience, and Rolodex to work in laying the groundwork that will reap rewards for you and your stakeholders, as you build your business in the rapidly expanding Internet Economy.
-Pricing: Affordable, based on high productivity and low overhead, and tailored to your needs.
-Timing: Projects in as little as 30 days, to full programs of 6-12 months or more.
Contact: Graeme Thickins
GT&A Strategic Marketing Inc.
612/944-1672, Fax 612/944-1673
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