How a 150-year-old tech brand reinvented itself for a new era
Unisys has won the Rebrand or Relaunch category at The Drum Awards for B2B. Here is the award-winning case study.
Check the award-winning campaign here.
Unisys, a global IT solutions company, has spent 150 years reinventing itself and delivering innovation, but in the early 2020s, the Unisys brand was stuck in “legacy” mode. Let us set the stage—the Unisys brand was introduced in 1986, and our heritage companies date back 150 years to the first mechanical typewriter. The last celebrity spokesperson the company had, Kirk Douglas, was in the mid-80s, and by 2022, we hadn’t done film ads in over a decade—if you asked people who we were, the answers were very murky. In short, the brand had almost gone dormant and had lost its luster in a crowded field.
The brand no longer reflected the company’s ambition, as Unisys had become known as “a solid workhorse” rather than an industry-leading innovation partner. Just prior to our brand transformation journey, we introduced a new business strategy that was fresh, modern, relevant, and called for a new brand that would power its ambition. A logo change or shift of the traditional vision and mission statements was not going to cut it. We had to answer existential questions about our company and redefine our distinguishing beliefs, values, and crystalize our Winning Culture platform. We needed a purpose-driven, strategic brand that would tell the world that we’re the company that can help them unlock the possible and force consideration in the market.
Strategy: Our strategy was heavily inspired by the exceptional experiences Unisys creates for clients every day, as evidenced by high NPS scores and decades-long relationships. The new brand platform is grounded in insights gleaned from extensive research, including 46 external interviews across clients, prospects, and industry and financial analysts; 45 internal stakeholder interviews across Unisys leadership; 15 competitors analyzed in a landscape audit; and nine global associate listening sessions. Unisys is recognized repeatedly as a reliable partner. But pushing beyond that, the rebrand would serve as a springboard into a fresh direction that meets the changing needs of the market.
We had robust engagement from our senior leadership team, and when our Chief Marketing Officer brought forward the three final concepts that reflected a wild-to-mild approach, we were delighted to see that more than 50% of the team immediately picked the most ambitious concept—the one you see us bringing to life today—and it laid out a very aspirational path. They were totally unafraid to make a promise to our clients that we were the company that could help them create breakthroughs, and they weren’t backing down from setting that kind of bold expectation in the market.
In November 2022, Unisys pivoted from the traditional mission-vision-values brand model to an intrepid purpose-driven paradigm rooted in “Experience Breakthroughs” and underpinned with our core beliefs. Through this work, we’ve answered the question of why we exist. We understand the behaviors necessary to propel the brand forward and challenge the status quo. We have amplified the brand with a truly differentiating visual identity system and voice. Our new VisID features a distinctive logo designed for the digital age; a compelling color palette; an expressive yet functional typeface; data visualization, illustration, photography, and iconography stylizations that enable Unisys to amplify its innovative solutions compellingly. The visual system also embraces the power of sonic, motion graphics and CGI animations, adding multidimensionality to the brand.
This transformation has only been in the market for a few months and is already enhancing our standing with clients, prospects, associates, and recruits. The effort has generated immediate awareness results at the top of the funnel. In just the first few months of the brand launch, we’ve seen four times more clients and prospects visit our site than before the brand launch, and those particular visitors are staying 61% longer.
Results: Unisys now has a dynamic new brand that looks, speaks, and acts like the real us – an ambitious company built for the future with the experience to support it.
Unisys brought the Big Idea to life externally in three principal ways: advertising, organic and inorganic social media, and capitalizing on client journey touchpoints. Bold new brand-centric ad creative and copy debuted our new ad line “Keep Breaking Through,” which underscores our commitment to the Big Idea of Experiencing Breakthroughs. Globally, ads appeared in high-priority airports and on street installations in priority cities; as sponsorship spots on popular podcasts like This American Life; in tier-one media publications; and via paid search and social.
An associate base of 16,000 took to social, creating the highest engagement our social channels have ever experienced. Since launch, our employee amplification program has resulted in a 61% increase in social engagement, and our associate posts have increased by 68% using Unisys curated content.
Clients and prospects received highly targeted digital advertising driving to the new website, rich with updated collateral, overhauled storytelling and eye-catching visuals. This three-pronged approach expanded in August 2022, with video advertising and even more and varied placements.
Internally, the brand refresh jumpstarted a
culture transformation, kicked off by two global town hall events, brand adoption contests, video segments, comprehensive internal communications, and a staggering number of rebranded sites, collateral, and experiences. In June 2023, we had our highest number of visitors to Unisys.com in recent company history – breaking the previous record for the second time since the brand relaunch. Today, the website has 4x more clients and prospects visiting. Total pages visited are up 40% YoY, asset downloads are up 7%, and we see that there’s a 10% increase in the amount of time all visitors stay on site. After launch, Google searches for “Unisys” increased 55%; we saw a 25% increase in new users, and our LinkedIn audience has grown 26% YoY.
How does this translate to our business strategy? Marketing-influenced opportunities in 2023 have created a quality pipeline in the 10-figure range – comprising 34% of the total Unisys qualified pipeline. And we’re seeing results not just in new business but in client loyalty – this year, we’re tracking a 93% client renewal rate.
This brand relaunch and activation of our cultural transformation have led to a renewed sense of joy and imagination across our company that continues to inspire us to do better for our current and future clients, ourselves, and our recruits.