A Successful Rebrand Starts from Within

Utter the word “rebrand” and the first reaction will undoubtedly be a cynical roll of the eyes. We’ve done that before. It won’t work. What’s the point? Without a solid foundation and authentic alignment with your core competencies, it probably won’t work. At Progress, we’re lucky—we have the sound footing from which to move our brand forward. For 35 years, we have unfailingly delivered world class, highly scalable, professional products—that work as intended—delighting developers and enterprises alike. With digital changes sweeping the marketplace, it was time to leverage our strengths and raise the strategic level of customer engagement. That required a thorough rebranding—internally and externally.

Time for a Pivot

The acquisition of Telerik in 2014 was the impetus for rebranding. Its suite of development tools complemented our already strong portfolio and positioned us for forays into new markets. Progress now has a remarkable set of solutions spanning content management, mobile, connectivity, application development, user experience and more. Together, they can address the most pressing need enterprises have today: being found digitally. If businesses aren’t quickly discovered during searches, customers are likely going to buy from someone else. We recognized that our portfolio was well positioned to help our clients better discover, engage and cultivate users throughout the customer journey. Seizing that opportunity would open the door to elevate strategic relationships that have tremendous potential for higher revenue and profitability. Renewing our brand was an essential first step to fulfilling our aspirations.

Don’t Cut Corners When Rebranding

We brought in people from every area of the company for some seriously painful exercises. These were designed to dig deep and discover the core attributes that make up who we are today and who we aspire to be moving forward. Collecting those descriptions was very difficult, akin to asking someone to describe the taste of wine. It’s not easy. It’s laborious, mundane and takes great facilitation to get it right.

In the end, we came together to align around our competencies and capabilities, ones that made our aspirations real, authentic and attainable. That connection enables us to confidently move forward with a brand and culture that accurately reflect who we are as a company. Past branding experience showed me that our brand and culture had to be unified. It’s like looking in the mirror: we may aspire to see George Clooney in our reflection, but that does not make it so. A fantasy will ring hollow. A brand must resonate with employees in an authentic way. If not, you’ll find it almost impossible to make it resonate with your prospects and customers.

Progress Today

Early indications are that we are getting it right. Today, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the best known companies in our industry as partners or competitors—Adobe, Google, IBM, Capgemini and Deloitte. Organizations that previously would not recognize Progress as having digital transformation expertise for the enterprise are now taking notice. As the enterprise continues to seek digital solutions to advance user experience and organizational excellence, Progress is winning. Those stars are aligning—brand, culture, solutions—presenting an incredible opportunity for us.

For those considering a brand transformation, remember it has to be based on a solid foundation of your core competencies. Don’t cut corners, and embrace the cynicism that you will inevitably encounter. Those skeptics have valuable insights that can fuel your rebranding success. Listen to them. Get them on board. Genuinely engage and make as many individuals as possible part of the process. Rebranding for the outside world may seem to be the ultimate goal, but it’s your cultural transformation from within that will cement your success.

Philip Pead, an industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience in the software industry has served as a member of the Progress Board of Directors since July 2011. He was elected non-executive Chairman in May 2012, appointed Executive Chairman in October 2012 and named interim CEO in November 2012.

Pead was formerly the Chairman of Allscripts and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Eclipsys Corporation, a leading provider of enterprise clinical and financial software for hospitals. Eclipsys merged with Allscripts in August of 2010. He previously held senior leadership roles in several publicly and privately held companies, including Per-Se Technologies, Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and Attachmate Corporation.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author at the time of publication and may not be updated. They do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc. The content does not attempt to examine all the facts and circumstances which may be relevant to any particular company, industry or security mentioned herein and nothing contained herein should be construed as legal advice.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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