A rebrand, website redesign and PR program increase contact form fills by 532% while differentiating edtech provider in crowded space
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In our ongoing feature to profile some of the nation’s top marketers. We turn to Dotti Gallagher, Vice President of Marketing for CLP Resources, Inc. Dotti balances a full load of brands in her role which makes every day an interesting one. Over the past year she’s launched several new websites for her brands and gone through an entire rebrand for one of these. I chatted with her to see how she got into such an interesting position and how she balances the ever arising challenges of the position.
Give us the company boilerplate. What does your company do?
I work for TrueBlue, a blue-collar staffing company that operates in three general lines of business: general labor, light industrial and skilled trades. We have a number of branded companies under this organization. I run an in-house, full-service agency for brands in the skilled trades group: CLP Resources Inc., PlaneTechs and Centerline. These companies provide temporary skilled tradespeople, aviation mechanics and engine technicians, and truck drivers respectively.
Give us your story. How did you get to where you are now?
I got into marketing through sales. I was selling life insurance and investment products and developed a client who was an executive with a big national bank. He convinced me to come to work for him in a sales role. I quickly moved into a regional sales management role, then shifted to PR and spent quite a few years in that role with several big banks. My last banking position was eliminated so I next spent a few years with a small ad agency, but realized I was better suited to a corporate environment. I landed this job with CLP as the marketing communications manager and moved up over the last six years to my current role as VP of Marketing.
What is your day like?
My typical day includes lots of meetings (mainly by phone) and loads of emails. I generally spend time working closely with my very talented staff on their marketing projects, and complete a fair amount of administrative work. I also work on my own projects, which run the gamut from strategic planning and pitching new marketing campaigns, to launching new brands and products. I manage to jam a workout into my day nearly every day, and almost always have lunch at my desk.
What book(s) should every marketer should read?
What's a marketing activity/campaign that you have been a part of that makes you proud?
I am really proud of a current project I’m leading to rename and rebrand one of our companies, an organization that’s been around for more than 30 years. The main part of this project just completed on January 4, 2010, and will take this brand from a small regional player to a national leader in its space, one that’s poised for expansion and…dare I say it…market dominance.
What are some of the challenges you've faced in this process?
The first wave of challenges was strategic. What does this brand stand for and how do we go to market with it? How can we establish this brand and separate it from the herd? After you establish that platform you have to bring the brand to life. Coming up with the new name, tagline and logo were among some of our biggest challenges.
After that, most of the heavy lifting was done, but you still have to consider tactically how to roll this new brand out and communicate it to the target audiences. One challenge we came across was making sure we had captured every one of the uses of the old name and logo so they could be updated. With more than 30 years of history, there were many items to change.
How are you communicating this change both internally and externally?
It’s important to reach both audiences. People often focus just on reaching their external audiences, but you can’t forget about the people within the business. Those are the people who need to live the brand so they need to be educated throughout the process.
To reach out externally we did a number of things - content on the existing website, email blasts, one-to-one communication with clients and employees, postal mail, collateral, and media outreach. If there was an avenue to communicate with clients and prospects we tried to use it to prepare them for the brand launch. We really took advantage of our website, switching out our main flash banner several times in the run up to the site flip to get people prepared.
While all this was occurring we kept our internal team members up to speed with webinars, newsletter articles, and finally distribution of new collateral and promotional materials. Excitement grew for the launch of the brand and people are very excited about everything. That was our goal as we set forth on this path.
What would you recommend to other marketers about to go through this process?
Three things: 1) Start with a very clear understanding of the new brand strategy; 2) Make sure you have a foolproof system for project managing the multitude of details involved with a rebrand; 3) Engage all your stakeholders early on and keep them fully informed all along the way.
You’ve launched quite a few new websites in 2009.
It’s by necessity. We’ve launched two new brands in 2009; you can’t brand without a strong web presence. And, the lifespan of a website is very short; its not just the content that needs to stay current. The features and functionality need to continuously evolve.
From your viewpoint, what are the critical reasons to undergo a web refresh?
For us, one of critical reason was to make us smarter. What I mean by that is that we migrated and refreshed our websites to tie them into a very strong SEO strategy. We have an analytics program in place that allows us to track the results of the SEO effort. We had a good web strategy in place before, but it wasn’t to the extent we do now. Now we have visibility into what’s driving traffic and what we can do to increase our results.
How do you think of your sites? Are they lead generators or do you use them more to enhance the brand?
Our websites fill a variety of roles: lead generators and brand messaging are just two. One of the best ways we’re using our sites is to replace printed collateral that we used to hand deliver or mail to prospects. With more of our sales efforts beginning via email or phone outreach, we can quickly engage prospects in our brand by delivering content to them from our website.
What traits do you consider most important to success in the profession?
I believe that any good marketer has flexibility, humility, and curiosity
What's some advice you would give to someone just starting in the field?
Read everything you can get your hands on, hone your skill as a writer, and be a good listener.
Who's someone in the field that you admire, or a company that you think is really firing on all cylinders?
I am tremendously proud of my company, TrueBlue. I have great admiration for the man who hired me here, Ed Nubel, who is the Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, for our sister company Labor Ready. He’s been a great mentor and advisor to me for many years.
Why were you drawn to the field?
I am a very creative person and have always had a love of words and wordplay. Those traits have made a marketing career rewarding and fun for me, pretty much every day.
What else do you have to say?
My personal mantra is, “Find a way.” That thought has served me well at work, in relationships, in sports, and in balancing my life.