Brand Strategy + Storytelling & Engagement + Strategy Implementation

Post-merger brand integration for a leading international industrial company.

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Consolidation: setting one brand on a clear path.

At the beginning of every change, there are questions. How do you manage the rebranding of a global organisation with thousands of touchpoints? How do you do this within a short timeframe due to competition regulations and a narrow scope of action? How do you communicate to all internal and external stakeholders that this is a new presentation of a globally leading company? How do you use the unique motion of rebranding to win over employees, partners and customers for the new, common path?

Since 3 June 2014 it is official: Oerlikon Balzers and Sulzer Metco, now Oerlikon Metco, are merging to become the global technology leader for surface solutions, with 6,000 employees, CHF 1.2 billion in sales, a leading range of products and services, and over 110 coating centres worldwide.

Hotz Brand Consultants accompanied the complex process of the post-merger brand integration in an interdisciplinary team together with our sister companies in the Brand Leadership Circle. The entire spectrum of brand-relevant measures was considered. From the storyline of positioning the new company to the internal and external communication measures to the system-based empowerment of the client organisation in the efficient transfer of all Oerlikon brand touchpoints worldwide.

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Joining forces to reach a common goal.

Hotz Brand Consultants identified key methodologies that would secure a successful brand integration:

  • One team: close-knit, open-minded, and trusting cooperation between the client project team and the project teams on the consulting side was recognised as a strength that Oerlikon needed to harness.

  • Central management of all content-related, design-related and systemic detailed projects from a single source.

  • A systematic approach was decided upon based on a clearly structured process in which all measures are planned in detail. This would help to centralise the complex interdisciplinary team and work within the tight time frame.

  • A ‘lead and empower’ principle was adopted for the best possible division of labour between the global and local client teams and the project teams on the advisory side.

  • Clear, competence-oriented assignment of tasks and de facto handover of responsibilities to the respective technical experts would ensure high standards of quality and consistency were maintained.

  • Entrepreneurial, self-responsible thinking and acting at all levels was essential, from the project manager with overall responsibility to the polygrapher.

Efficient transfer of the electronic Metco templates of over 600 brochures, documents, datasheets, and flyers with thousands of pages into the corporate design of Oerlikon was achieved within just three months. This was decisively supported by the online publishing system Censhare of our sister company gateB, with the help of which all specialists involved worldwide could be integrated into an efficient workflow. At the same time, coaching of those responsible for the rebranding worldwide on detailed questions or particularly complex tasks was carried out to support smooth workflows.

Distribution of all relevant electronic Oerlikon templates for documents and communication media to the global Metco organisation was completed with the help of the web-based marketing software BrandMaker by our sister company gateB.

Information and support for employees in a vast range of different formats further served to strengthen the integration of the new brand. This included a CEO newsletter in 18 languages, a welcome film with direct employee address by the CEO, how-to-guides, Q&A's for the five different divisions, a special edition employee magazine for all Oerlikon employees, anchoring tools for employees (including desktop wallpaper, screensavers, and giveaways), posters and displays for global distribution at all locations, a global welcome event for the entire ‘Surface Solutions’ family. The rollout was completed by time zone from East to West and the event was accompanied by interactive activities on the web, courtesy of our sister company Screen Concept).

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Multimedia integration of all relevant stakeholder groups

Successful communication of brand integration to all stakeholders was achieved on a massive scale, streamlining the new brand positioning. This was particularly effective through a strong, central storyline, adapted to each specific target group. Other initiatives that supported the integration across different demographics targeted internal teams, partners, and stakeholders; as well as customers with a rich selection of media to vitalise engagement.

Brand contact points worldwide were successfully transferred into Oerlikon's corporate design. Concrete, action-guiding design guidelines for all contact points and communication tools were transferred or redesigned (publications—both online and print, products and packaging, trade fairs, and events) as a basis for efficient, decentralised rebranding at Metco locations worldwide.

In the hot phase, at times up to 30 employees worked around the clock to manage the multiple tasks of the post-merger brand integration of Oerlikon Metco within a very tight timeframe. The great success confirms our approach of integrated working: the truly complex challenges are best met by a strong team of complementary specialists.

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