Businesses evolve. You launch to meet a need in the market, you learn your niche, and then your relationships with your clients and your industry grow as you build expertise. Time passes as your business thrives and your capacities expand and develop. Suddenly you find that your brand and your perception in your market are telling the story of the business you began, instead of the business that you have become.
This is an issue we hear often and one we recently worked with our clients Couranto (formally cSubs) to rectify.
Couranto launched in the 1980s as Corporate Subscription Services, a subscriptions agent, helping clients handle magazines, newspapers, professional journals, and books by consolidating and managing subscriptions and negotiating with publishers on their clients’ behalf. As content moved online and the types of subscriptions their clients handled expanded to include digital services, software licences, and other new sources of information, Couranto’s solutions and expertise expanded to match this new information ecosystem.
The reality was that Couranto could help their clients well beyond hard copy publications, but its brand was limiting its reach by telling an outdated story of a traditional subscriptions agent.
As we guided this rebrand and website project, the following imperatives helped us define and communicate Couranto’s expanded value.
Define the language that engages your audiences.
With an expanded offering comes an expanded audience. Historically, Couranto mainly dealt with corporate librarians, the custodians of information and access within organizations of all sizes and structures. While the librarian has remained an essential audience of Couranto’s solutions and brand, the company now needs to reach procurement, finance, HR, facilities, and more. As with all brand initiatives, it was vital that we understood these diverse audiences in order to communicate Couranto’s value clearly to each of them.
This starts with understanding what key words and ideas mean for these various audiences. For many of us, as with many of Couranto’s newer audiences, the word “subscription” has come to mean anything from your weekly New Yorker to your monthly cat food delivery to your many streaming services. But for corporate librarians and information managers, “subscriptions” almost exclusively means hard copy.
This meant that, despite the general shift in thinking about subscriptions, to communicate its value to this important audience Couranto needed to change the way it spoke about its offering. While it continues to provide robust subscription management to many of its clients, Couranto needed to introduce language that communicated the breadth of its offering to include physical, digital, and licenced materials.
It is central to its role to make information easy to use, up to date, and compliant with licensing agreements. Access to this information means that employees of all types can derive value from these assets, in turn delivering value to their organizations. It is the quality, availability, and impact of information that Couranto’s clients value above all. So, while subscriptions management is an accurate description of what they do, information management more clearly communicates their full value.
Information management not only communicates what Couranto does but also signals a broader impact it can have on innovation and communication by making information more available and useful across a client’s organization.
Future-proof your name
Once it was established that the word “subscriptions” needed to be used more strategically within messaging, it became clear that the name cSubs presented some challenges. As we partnered with the leadership team at what would become Couranto, we worked through our options. The name could be descriptive of the services it provides, like their founding name Corporate Subscription Services, or evocative of those services, like cSubs. Or it could be something more abstract, intended to evoke the company’s unique perspective and the benefit it provides to clients.
A major priority for the Couranto leadership team was to set the brand up for the future. This meant both that the brand needed to communicate a business ready to tackle its clients’ evolving needs for years to come, but also a brand that could grow with the company as it evolved. This strategic business priority led us to a name that was less about what the company does and more connected to their brand. The chosen name, Couranto, was inspired by the French ‘au courant’, evoking modernity without being trendy. Developing the brand strategy first enabled us to create a name more likely to stay relevant to customers as their needs change.
Use your solutions architecture to communicate your value.
It is common in rebranding initiatives for the research process to unearth insights about a business beyond the initial goals of a project. For Couranto, the solutions architecture was a prime example of this type of unexpected opportunity.
The seemingly subtle language shift from subscriptions management to information management meant that the name of at least one of the solutions, Couranto’s flagship Subscription Management offering, would need to be updated. During digital discovery, as our team explored both the existing website and Couranto’s digital products, it became clear that the existing framework for their offerings was holding the company back from telling a story that captured its full value. To understand the full implication of changes to the solutions architecture, we assessed the company’s existing framework, had extensive conversations with its sales team, and took a deep dive into its product roadmap for the immediate future. With this assessment in hand, we aligned around a set of offerings that reframed existing services and introduced Couranto’s newest innovations to customers as a unified strategy.
Reframing Couranto’s flagship solution meant combining two of its current solutions to capture how the technology and consultative services it offers combine to deliver superior value. This shift in focus onto hybrid physical/digital services meant that some of the pure-play hard-copy solutions needed to be deprioritized and eventually eliminated from the brand and the business.
This updated framework needed to be implemented on Couranto’s new website navigation and infused throughout the content, making it easy to navigate, understand, and access.
About the author Seth is a Senior Strategy Director who has spearheaded branding efforts for financial services, professional services and technology companies, as well as for not-for-profit organizations.
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