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CA seeks an image overhaul

Realigning reputation

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The CA campaign comes at a vital time for the company, said James Governor, an analyst and IT advisor with the research firm Illuminata Inc. CA has traditionally grown through acquisition and is still digesting its nearly $4 billion worth of acquisitions in Platinum Technology and Sterling Software Inc. Traditionally, CA has moved quickly to trim companies it has purchased and take the property forward in ways that have given it a reputation for being high-handed, Governor said.

"One of the main reasons they are rebranding is reputation," Governor said. "The most difficult thing they’ll have to overcome is the perception that they are a little bit too hard in terms and conditions of software licenses. They’ve always been aggressive to make sure they get as much money out of their customers, at times becoming litigious to collect."

But CA has a lot of promise, Governor said. Its flagship Unicenter software, which makes up 25% of the company’s sales, is doing well in the marketplace, he said. CA is solid in business intelligence, connecting legacy systems to the Web, portal software and Java development tools, Governor said. "If they can do a good job positioning themselves as partner rather than adversary and do a better job communicating to the channel, there is value in the portfolio."

CA’s marketing approach should be different than the messages of IBM, Microsoft and SAP AG, said Robert Grammatica, senior partner at Y&R. Instead of working up ads featuring customer success stories or product details, CA is seeking a simple b-to-b message that is "more human and approachable," he said.

The first TV ad, titled "Wake up," features leading-edge technology to position CA as an innovator, Grammatica said. Using various Manhattan cityscapes, the commercial features roosters ready to awaken the city. As dawn approaches, thousands of roosters crowing cause temblors on Wall Street. Y&R’s Media Edge leads media buying, while Y&R’s Landor Associates created the logo.

"A lot of commercials on the market are tongue-in-cheek and of low production value," Williams Bhagat said. "We don’t think that is representative of this company." Strategic Super Bowl XXXV buys of spot commercial time in San Francisco, Washington, New York and Austin will help propel the campaign without breaking the budget, she said.

CA’s new brand accompanies a shift in strategy, said Michael Dortch, research analyst with Robert Frances Group Inc. Instead of selling more than 800 software products on a license-by-license basis, CA has begun selling packages that address specific business problems, he said.

"CA has suffered from ‘quiet giant syndrome,’" Dortch said. "Successful in several areas, such as IT security and anti-virus, they’re not even always perceived as being a competitor by some IT executives and other observers."

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