As co-founder and CEO, it’s largely my job to develop our business strategy and ensure that our long-term course remains in concert with our vision and our core values. To my mind, a crucial part of a CEO’s job is to look out and look forward. This means that we need to constantly examine how we are perceived in the marketplace. I know we have always been seen as a highly technical group … but I think we’ve had—at least some—challenge ensuring we are also perceived as a team who is equally business-focused when it comes to IT decision making. Good (read: simple) business-minded messaging takes a lot of work … and it goes a long way.
Don’t get me wrong, being the best technical partner for our clients is a badge we wear proudly. But, if we didn’t widen our lenses to the broader business climate in which we operate … including the nature of our messaging and branding … we may only be known as ‘the best Citrix guys in Canada’ … and our business would never have grown in the way that it has. Sure, this kind of singular recognition is great to have, but it doesn’t do justice to the award winning excellence we’ve achieved in virtualization, data storage, core infrastructure design and management, enterprise networking, voice, business continuity etc…
It is precisely because we’ve kept an eye to the wider landscape of business processes, devices, and people, that we’ve expanded our service offerings in the way we have, with the technologies we’ve chosen … and enjoyed success. Because for our customers, and for us, these things make the best business sense. It’s one thing to be great at something … But in our competitive industry, what good is that excellence if nobody knows about it and you can’t differentiate yourself?
We do a lot of stuff really well; we get great references, we have cool case studies and glowing testimonials … But I’ve learned we still need to regularly ensure that our messaging (online, verbal, visual) is current, and that it captures what we do well and why. Thanks to one of my mentors Warren Spitz, Jay and I have become big believers in the work of Jim Collins (author of Good to Great). Collins likes to say that, “When in doubt, go to your customers.”
We have several clients that I love getting together with, to pick their brains and get feedback. It’s free consulting for me and it’s a nice way to ensure ITW stays tightly aligned with their businesses. Armed with their insight, we spent time brainstorming in the months leading up to our 10th Anniversary … thinking of a way to polish and refine our messaging and branding; to capture what defines us and what we do.
The result (see below) is a fresh take on the quality and depth of our solutions and services …they are Weapons Grade.
I think this aligns nicely with our core and—I hope— it helps clients describe their experience with us to their own teams and peers. The graphical representation we developed has now become a centerpiece at our Goreway office; a 25′ x 15′ mural outside our boardroom. This feature wall now helps our team walk clients or prospects through the range of our offerings and value adds. Come by and check it out sometime.
Here’s a few things to remember:
1) Stay true to your core values and vision
2) Constantly re-evaluate your messaging in accordance with your core
3) When in doubt, go to your clients
4) Partner with IT Weapons for your IT Infrastructure Architecture and Management. 🙂