Written by: Claire Masikewich, Director, Marketing and Communications
In the early days, we went back and forth and through multiple revisions to develop our brand story. Now, you’d think a brand story would be a fairly easy task as you just tell it how it is, right? Wrong. There’s so much more that goes into it. It’s the essence of who you are as a company and what you aim to provide and where your value proposition comes from. It’s not as simple as coming up with a catchy tagline (although that’s part of it – more on that later).
As a leadership team, we all agreed we didn’t just want to talk the talk, but we needed to walk the walk and deliver on our promises. Therefore, the brand story wasn’t completed in a day. In fact, it took a few weeks.
Let’s go back almost a year ago, March 16, 2020, when COVID officially took over our way of doing work and our way of living. We were forced to work from home, unsure of what was to come or how to navigate these “unprecedented times” (who else is over that term?). At the time, we were still operating under WSP and Altus Group, getting ready to combine our geomatics divisions for what would soon become “GeoVerra.” There was a lot of uncertainty and challenges that other companies were struggling with. For us, we weren’t just dealing with operating during a global pandemic (something none of us had experienced before), but we were also trying to figure out how to launch a new business amid the chaos. Not to sound cliché, but when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade and we did just that.
We used the challenging economic environment to shape our brand story. I’d like to say we were taking a glass-half-full approach – we were in a perfect position, working with a blank slate. It was a great opportunity to come up with a solid position of who we were and our place in the market. We weren’t the only ones looking for support and guidance from our industry partners and clients. Our clients were looking to us to help THEM get through these challenging times. Enter the partnership promise. After several rounds and edits to our brand story with Evans Hunt, we came up with a few key things we knew we could give our clients, despite the challenges we were also facing:
-Responsiveness and efficiency
This all supported by the backbone of any partnership – trust. The confidence our clients have in us stems from our actions, values and ethics put into practice. We’re truthful, open and honest, and with that comes trusted partnerships.
If you look up the definition of a partner, it can take on many forms. But the definition of a promise is quite simple – it is a declaration or assurance that one will do something specified or a reason to expect something.
The partnership promise is just that. It’s the expectation set by our clients and us that we will deliver on what we say we’re going to do. Remember the catchy tagline I mentioned earlier? Here’s where that comes in: “We’re GeoVerra. A partner you can trust in an ever-changing world.” It’s relevant to the times but also enduring.
At the end of the day, the partnership promise is a version of our value proposition. Any marketer knows that a good value proposition states why someone should choose you to solve their problem.
Simply put, “We help x by doing y.” In a nutshell, this is what we offer at GeoVerra:
We help clients by keeping their projects on-budget and on-schedule, by providing trusted, responsive, reliable solutions.
AKA our partnership promise.
As we moved forward with this statement, we realized the partnership promise didn’t start and stop with our clients, rather it extends to our team members. We’re just over eight months old and have a lot of growing to do, but we aim to provide an environment that supports our internal teams with the same commitment as we do for our clients. Have you ever considered employee engagement when it comes to the health of your business? What happens on the inside impacts the clients you attract externally, and the external impacts the internal, and so forth.
Internally, the partnership promise shows up in the form of work ethic, teamwork, safety, and general support for our GeoVerra family. At GeoVerra, every career is filled with passion and challenge and where every team member is integral to our success.
Notice a theme? We say team a lot, right? Ok, so calling “our people” team members rather than employees or staff is not revolutionary. We know a lot of companies are doing it. But if something works, you run with it. We are one team, with one goal: winning for our clients.
Where does this come from? Before I started in my role as director, marketing and communications, I had the pleasure of attending The Gathering; a top-rated business summit and a master class for brand and business leaders looking to reap the benefits of a cult-like adoration. They had several large consumer brands and sports teams creating and engaging fanatics. It’s no surprise that sports teams have the biggest cult-like following (and I refer to cult in a positive manner). I know I’m not working for the NHL, NFL, CFL, MBA or any other sports organization, but as marketers, we can get inspiration from anywhere regardless of the industry we’re in. Click here for the full white paper written by the Cult Collective in Calgary.
Another place we’ve made a conscious effort around the language we use is when it comes to organizations we work with. A client is a person who uses the services or advice of a professional person or organization. A customer engages in a transaction with the company. That means it is probably a one-off purchase. What other term denotes a long-term relationship? You’ve got it – PARTNER.
We use deliberate language at GeoVerra to reinforce our culture and goals. At GeoVerra, we have:
– Clients and partners, not customers
-Team members, not employees
After all this talk around brand purpose, team, and client promises, we are all human. We’re not perfect, but that’s not what we are aiming for. Perfection denotes an endpoint, a place where you’ve achieved greatness and there’s nowhere to go. That doesn’t serve us, and it doesn’t serve our partners (both internal and external). We’re striving for more, winning for our team, and ultimately winning for our clients – that’s our partnership promise.
Find your purpose. Take the time you need to go through as many revisions as required to solidify who you are and what you stand for. And remember it may change over time as you evolve as an organization.
Use deliberate language throughout your organization. A consistent message and tone internally helps solidify the story you’re telling externally.
Treat your employees as good as you would your best client. Without them, you’d have no clients. Your team will thank you.