Itâs been a year of more and less for Kenneth Fitzpatrick, general manager-global marketing for Computer Associates Inc. This year, he undertook a $100 million brand advertising campaign, the largest the company has ever taken on. At the same time, heâs
restructured 1,244 different software applications into six clear categories and three new brands.
The strategy has enabled Islandia, N.Y.-based CA to beat Wall Street analyst estimates for the first three quarters of 2001 and maintain about 60% of its share price over the last six months. Thatâs no mean feat when you consider how many high-tech companies have seen their stocks plummet amid the global recession. To make it even more impressive, Fitzpatrickâs marketing has had to overcome bitter and so far unsuccessful shareholder proxy battles and lawsuits to seize control of the company.
Called the "3by6 strategy" internally, CAâs marketing thrust has been to simplify the companyâs products for business buyers, Fitzpatrick said. A main criticism of CA has been that itâs difficult for customers to understand its wide range of products. Many of these products were acquired through several corporate acquisitions, including the $4 billion the company spent in 2000 to buy both Platinum Technology and Sterling Software Inc.
CAâs three new brandsâwhich are Advantage in data management, AllFusion in application lifecycle management, and CleverPath in portals and business managementârespond to core technologies identified by customers and business partners, Fitzpatrick said.
"In 2001, we wanted to make sure every CA employee and business partner understood our strategy," said Fitzpatrick, who was an executive in marketing, sales and business development at IBM Corp. before joining CA. "We are the United Nations of software," he said. Weâre sitting on a volcano of technology. And weâve been pretty successful articulating that message this year."
On Jan. 1, the company began the first brand identity campaign in its 25-year history. It began by shortening its full name down to initials, with the new CA trademark chosen to better suggest an affinity for e-commerce. Following the rebranding, CA has seen impressive growth in such areas as corporate computer security and e-commerce storefront software sales in the last year, Fitzpatrick said.
The Sept. 11 attacks had an impact on CA, located outside New York City. One of its key TV spots, "Wake up," used various Manhattan cityscapes, and featured thousands of crowing roosters causing an earthquake on Wall Street. CA had to retire the highly successful commercial, created by Young & Rubicam Inc., New York, but did not rush to replace it. Instead, it moved its messages to other media as a way to continue brand momentum.