Symantec Launches Rebranding Effort Amid CEO Search
Computer-security company Symantec is set to embark on its first major rebranding effort in years in the shadow of its search for a new CEO and reports of a potential breakup or sale.
Symantec fired its CEO Steve Bennett just a few weeks ago amid sagging revenue and a slumping share price. This marked the second time it removed a CEO in as many years. (Mr. Bennett had been CEO since July 2012, when he replaced Enrique Salem; board member Michael Brown has taken over as interim CEO.) Reuters reported this week that the turmoil has attracted the interest of activist investors and private equity firms, which could lead to a breakup or sale.
The company declined to comment on the situation beyond stating it "made a public announcement about the transition on March 20. A CEO search is ongoing but we have nothing more to add at this time."
As for the new campaign, it's predominantly digital with print, outdoor and social-media components. Through the effort, Symantec is attempting to communicate to IT managers that they can look to the company for more than just data security and "Do It All" through the products and services it offers.
Symantec built a small empire of enterprise offerings through multiple mergers and acquisitions over the years. Alix Hart, Symantec's VP of Marketing, said those deals gave it the ability to serve businesses in many ways, but left its brand message incomplete.
"We weren't creating a broad story of our brand in the world and there's no better time than now, given the threat landscape we are in, to start telling the bigger message and bring our breadth of solutions to top of mind [for IT decision makers]," said Ms. Hart. "The landscape for IT leaders is changing. As they migrate to multiple cloud solutions, their data is in pockets and there are more points of risk. Also with [bring your own device], their job is that much more difficult. With this campaign we are saying to IT managers, 'we have your back, you can do it all.'"
Ms. Hart joined Symantec in early 2013 from the consumer-marketing world, most recently serving in senior marketing roles at Best Buy.
She declined to to say how much money was earmarked for this particular campaign other than, "We are spending enough to break through to our audiences." She also noted the effort will run at least through this year, with plans to go global.
The U.S. launch will run through mid-May and include print ads in The Wall Street Journal, as well as digital ads on WSJ.com, IDG, TechTarget and UBM websites. There will also be outdoor components in the San Francisco Bay area, in addition to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on May 1, in time for the Symantec Vision conference the following week.
The campaign will launch in key international markets, including the UK, France, Germany, China, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Mexico starting mid-June.
There is also a "social listening" component that involves Godfrey Q social-media staffers designing hashtags and content to deliver across "the top social-media properties."
Ms. Hart said the company expects to "change the conversation around Symantec, our association with information management and the breadth of solutions around security intelligence, enabling cloud and the modern data center."
Godfrey Q has worked with Symantec since 2003, right around the time of the agency's formation. Its president, Patrick Godfrey, is aware of the brand's challenges and began the concept for this latest rebranding effort shortly after Ms. Hart joined the company, "solidifying it" sometime after the RFP late last year.
"The perceptions of Symantec are narrower than their capability and when they got 'famous' it was around antivirus and security and nothing really replaced that," said Mr. Godfrey. "It's a good perception given the environment we're in, but the challenge we were presented with was to unify their security credentials and what could be described as their storage credentials."