On November 30, Swiss industrial group ABB has received the 2017 European Excellence Award in the category “Communications Team of the Year” for its successful brand transformation, outranking several renowned competitors. With its “Next Level Strategy”, the technology company is driving forward an ambitious strategic transformation.
As a technology group whose customers are challenged by a revolution in the energy industry as well as rapid automation and digitalization, ABB does not just want to keep up with developments for the excellence award. As an agile technology leader it rather wants to accelerate its organic growth momentum and enhance capital efficiency. The guiding principle is “unlock value in a changing world.” In order to support the ambitious realignment, a brand transformation was needed that supported this change and completely repositioned ABB. The management consultancy globeone has supported ABB in this strategic transformation and communicative realignment out of its Zurich office.
The formerly hardware-oriented “nuts and bolts business” was to be transformed into a fully integrated, customer-focused technology company permeated by digitization. For a global company it normally takes years to transform on this scale. ABB only had six months from its launch on April 4, 2016 until the new brand was announced at its Capital Markets Day in October 2016.
Prior to the beginning of the transformation, ABB was regarded as a product-centered company and had the reputation of being a follower. For the power grids, industrial automation, robotics and motion and electrification products business, the brand had to be designed more dynamically, flexibly and digitally throughout – a quantum leap forward. The company set up a task force led by a small international team which was supported by more than 70 experts. A complex, multidisciplinary process began. In globeone’s Zurich office, the strengthening of the brand and the repositioning were discussed and designed.
The new, agile brand will rest on three pillars: a customer-focused orientation, a “digital first” strategy and a people-driven company with a truly global approach. A new visual identity, with the logo showing people, was designed to clarify the claim. The motto “together, we drive progress” is used to express a clear brand purpose. The transformation enjoys the strong support of the top management. Interdisciplinary collaboration helped overcome the old silo mentality and made the rapid transformation possible.
One year after the announcement of the transformation in autumn 2017, ABB has significantly improved the public image of its brand, it has increased brand equity by 21 percent. The company is regarded as the employer of choice in engineering and, after only a short period of time, has climbed two positions in the ranking of the best Swiss brands.