By Pat Hinds
In 2007, the energy sector was at the height of the economic boom. Prior to the boom, energy service companies in Alberta were often geographic-based with products that reflected the geographic nature of oil & gas exploration and production. As an example: in Edson, Alberta, you would have regional companies that offered drilling services for gas exploration at 1000 feet or less; and another company that offered completions for that type of well. The brand of these companies was built around their ability to service a geographic location, specific products, and the people that operated the company.
The energy service sector started to change as the boom companies built business plans around consolidation of geographic-based companies. The concept was that the increased geographic coverage and addition of new services would allow for increased market share; this would result in profitable revenue growth allowing companies to meet the obligations of shareholders in the new public structure.
Move the clock forward to 2009 and you see many of these companies that went public (based on a business plan of consolidation) having share prices at 10% to 20% of their highs in 2008. The share prices are a reflection of the current economic realities of less exploration, but if you move beyond the obvious you will find these companies underestimated what it takes to change brand identity.
To be successful in strategic vertical and account selling, companies need to be aware of their brand perception within accounts. The addition of new products and services does not guarantee successful revenue growth for your company if your brand is not perceived as a viable solution. Companies need to put a process in place to measure its brand perception within a vertical or strategic account; at the same time, they need to identify the perception gaps and put a plan in place to eliminate these gaps. Over the next few weeks, I will be focusing my sales blog on brand alignment using the energy service sector as an example. The goal is to show companies how to identify brand perception, tactics to improve perception, and the necessary means to measure the success of these tactics.