Connie Weaver, Exec VP-CMO, BearingPoint Inc.

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When Connie Weaver joined BearingPoint as VP-CMO in June 2005, it was 2 and a half years after the consulting firm changed its name from KPMG Consulting.

Still, Weaver promptly discovered a problem when she did some brand research: Customer satisfaction ratings from existing clients were high, but a lot of potential customers didn't know what BearingPoint did.

"We used to say if you know us, you love us," Weaver said. "This was a company that went public and changed its name, but when it did that it never branded the company. It was an interesting combination of a little bit of the past and a little bit of the future, but it didn't have a strong identity."

That was a change for Weaver, who previously worked as exec VP-public relations, marketing and brand at AT&T. So she started the process of crafting BearingPoint's image.

Print ads, with bold colors yet simple text, reinforce BearingPoint's client relationships with top government agencies and companies in several industries. An inherited sponsorship agreement signed in 2000 with golfer Phil Mickelson, who wore a BearingPoint visor as he won the 2006 Masters and the 2005 PGA Championship, was leveraged with some targeted print advertising. And the company's advertising tagline was changed from "Business and systems aligned. Business empowered" to "Management and technology consultants."

"When your awareness is that low, a cute descriptor doesn't do anything for you," Weaver said.

Her strategy is to step up the marketing that best hits the consultancy's target markets and exit from more generalized efforts. It's the rationale behind the launch of a series of podcasts, journals and white papers that address specific subjects of interest to BearingPoint's distinct client bases.

The marketing shift is also the reason why Weaver shed a quarterly general business trends magazine that was launched with Forbes in 2004 and sent to the firm's clients. As it tweaks its marketing relationship with Forbes, BearingPoint is planning advertorial products in the magazine this fall that will be tied to specific conferences.

The past year has been busy, but Weaver said she has only laid the groundwork for where she plans to take BearingPoint in 2007. She is readying a major revamp of the company's Web site by year's end and has beefed up the ranks of the public relations staff to do a better job of telling BearingPoint's story. The company plans to run less general advertising and do more podcasts. Weaver also promises, but won't specify, something "totally different" from a branding standpoint.

"Year one was the foundation; next year we'll pivot," Weaver said. "You will definitely notice the difference."

—Mary Ellen Podmolik

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