GSE has a very entrepreneurial culture built on years of global mergers and acquisitions, which presents an unusual challenge: every business unit was operating as if it were a stand-alone entity. While the company has facilities all over the world, each region was filling orders independently without a clear picture of the resources available at other locations. This created missed opportunities as clients in different parts of the world had different ideas about the breadth and depth of GSE’s product and service offerings. It also created internal challenges, as there was no central platform to share best practices and systems.
Shift Focus to a Shared Future
Not only did each region have a fragmented view on how they were connected operationally to other GSE locations, the brand itself lacked cohesion and relied on legacy elements from earlier mergers. And, with new leadership, the company was set to embark upon a new strategy of “Good, Better, Best” products as well as the development of niche innovations targeted at specific needs like coal ash containment. The BrandExtract team was charged with developing a bold new brand system that all parties could embrace, and a unified voice they all could speak, albeit in several different languages.
Overcoming a Green Bias
Prior to our engagement, consultants and shareholders had advised GSE leadership that they should focus the brand on “green” positioning, based on specific trends they were seeing in different parts of the world. During our assessment process, the team learned from current and potential GSE clients that “green” was not a factor in the geosynthetic liner universe. In some cases, that perception could even be seen as a negative. If the products do their job, the environment is protected. The new brand position would need to highlight GSE’s ability to “keep the bad stuff separated from the good stuff,” without invoking negative associations.
To discover opportunities and uncover challenges, we conducted an in-depth brand assessment, which included surveys, interviews and market research in three languages. We corresponded with company stakeholders across multiple countries to shift the brand away from features and functions and bring the focus to the company’s ability to create durable, innovative solutions that protect the environment.
Build Unified Identity
It was important to unite the company so it could move forward as a true global player rather than several smaller national entities under the same umbrella. Based on our extensive research, we developed a brand that uniquely and authentically positioned GSE products. The distinctive look and feel we created was unique from any other company in the market.
Promote Worldwide Collaboration
During the assessment, we uncovered opportunities to improve service and communication across teams and for customers in different areas of the world. Some locations had developed advanced manufacturing processes, allowing them to create certain products for their customers, while other locations remained unaware of these capabilities. Based on our recommendations, GSE implemented an “Innovation Team” to facilitate the sharing of research and developments across the company.
Support Global Brand Reach
To meet the vision for a truly global brand that would be sustainable in the long-term, we worked closely with GSE’s internal team to deliver a solid brand platform. We researched the appropriate voice, sensitivities and primary concerns across each of their international markets to allow their team to adjust the message as needed for particular regions while staying within brand.