Shameless plug

My publication pace has dropped in the past week, as I was fully busy working on my company rebranding, not a single day off in the past 11 days and 2 hours of sleep last night. Yet another interesting challenge in my corporate life. So far I've refrained from writing too much about my employer, especially because this is my personal site and not a corporate weblog, but today is a bit special and I'm going to do a shameless plug.

I joined Cap Gemini in 1998. In May 2000, we acquired the consulting practice of Ernst & Young and became Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Today, we become Capgemini.

Involved in both events, I learned a great deal about mergers, reorganizations, transformations and branding. Being a change agent in the soul helped me a lot and I will gladly let my memory discard the hard moments in favor of the fun and the positive side of things.

What's special about our present rebranding is that it's not yet another bullet-thinking consultantese sugarcoated with a fancy name (ah! Monday is already taken, what about Friday?). It's a (re)discovery of our brand, i.e. what our clients, former clients and prospects think about us. The amount and depth of work that we've conduced to find out how we are perceived in their eyes, our strengths and weaknesses confronted without complaisance to their expectations, is impressive and has led to us to a reformulation of our brand with the Collaborative Business Experience (here's the shameless plug along with some free PageRank ;-). Check our TV ad featuring Daren Cahill, André Agassi's coach, who presents himself as a simple guy who likes to do things well and helps the champion get even better. I can't help but think that this is a great counter example of a certain company picturing itself and its clients elliptically with an eagle diving to catch a fish -- I let you guess who's the client.

Here is what I learned from this project:

- collaboration is good but requires strong team players

- you definitely cannot work as easily and quickly on a PC than with a Mac when dealing with creative materials, notably digital video. I've done tons of small videos with a DVCAM, iMovie and iDVD in no time. Plus it took me literally five minutes to train other colleagues to do the same. And no need to tell me you can do the same on a PC, I can watch my colleagues fail miserably all day long and the looks of envy they give to my Mac

- the bigger the agency, the heavier the HTML code. Project managers are clueless on web standards. Best question: "what XHTML DOCTYPE do you want with this 99-vintage-nested-tables-transparent-gif design?" More on this in due time

- the DNS is your enemy, as are caches and people who keep phoning you that "the site does not work" but are incapable of sending an email with a URL

- if you're only having two hours of sleep, you're probably better staying up (especially if it means being woken up by the same morons starting their daily phone spamming)

- intranet weblogs will make a hit

- pick your suppliers carefully. In difficult times, the best ones will shine and you will be wondering how you could have done it without them

- if your logo hasn't been designed for the web, live with it and enjoy it on other media...


I work for the same organisation as you but, I'm afraid, your thoughts on the renaming don't resonate with me.

I'm still waiting to see changes that positively impact my daily workings, the office environment I'm a part of, the corporate identity that I see day to day. It should be something more than a new logo on the pen I use and a poster on the wall that attracts disinterested looks.

Clients won't be attracted to us because of a name. And if they are, they wont stay if they find our performance to be as superficial. Too much of the company seems neglected, cut off from any corporate vitality.

I'm sure that there are parts of the organisation that are highly trained, using the most modern of equipment and energised with the knowledge that they are part of a corporate community that rewards success and encourages creativity, knowledge and innovation.

This is not the company I work for though.

Until there is a determined effort to revitialise the organisation internally, these changes bear no sense of revolution or resurgence to me.

Wow, I'm being tackled from within The Firm, and by a member of the web community furthermore... I'd better watch my back ;-)

> Until there is a determined effort to revitialise the organisation internally, these changes bear no sense of revolution or resurgence to me.

I hear you, and it highlights that the brand is not just something coming from/meant to clients. It must not be something imposed upon anyone, members of the Group in particular. If it does not resonate with us, it won't stand. I still do think that what's happening now is a positive move, actually the best thing I've seen in the past two or three years. It's not just a "renaming" and its effects won't materialize overnight. Actually, its effects will materialize only if we believe that the brand is built on good foundations and that what we have to do is grow and get better on them.

> Clients won't be attracted to us because of a name.

Indeed, and they were frank about the fact that they don't care about the name. That's the main reason for keeping a familiar name rather than trying to be "smart" and find a fancy, meaningless name.

> This is not the company I work for though.

Within six years on the same payroll, I think this is at least the third incarnation of the company I've seen. Patience is definitely a virtue here :-P

This is very interesting François, don't be so afraid of blogging about your employer, as long as you keep it safe!

I work for a company that has undergone four name changes in the 3 and a half years I been employed there. This followed mergers, acquisitions and most recently disposal. Before I joined, the company had at least three other names above the door in the past decade. That's in a robust, old-school manufacturing co., not some hyper trendy nu-media outfit!

What this means is that everyone, customers, suppliers, the market, the employees, the printers, the post office is totally bewildered. I hear the guy at the desk oppostite me answer the 'phone with the line 'Erm, urm, New Name, yeah, Old Name that's us really'. Although it infuriates me, I understand his view.

As a Change Agent too, the key to any new initiative/name/project/improvement is a planned, prepared, well-presented and often expensive roll-out. Get the key members of the roll-out team onboard quickly, win their hearts, and then allow them to dedicate themselves to the task in hand without distraction. The roll-out must be organised but it must be quick. After all, it's no good handing out your new business cards today, if the quote you send out tomorrow still has the second to last company logo on it (I swear it happens, I saw someone do it!!)

Anyway, enjoyed your own thoughts on this subject. Thanks.

After spending some (!) time searching for to replace it with, I'm convinced now that our company name should be stored in a global variable somewhere. It would make the changes easier...

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