Interview with Rommin Adl, originally published by Huffington Post here.
When global strategy implementation consulting firm BTS first launched in Stockholm, Sweden over 30 years ago, the company’s main focus was helping clients implement strategy and build the business acumen of their leaders through customized business simulations, with marketing playing only a small role. Today, BTS, with some 500 professionals in 33 offices on six continents, has recognized the importance of marketing and has expanded its offerings to support its clients’ end-to-end strategy execution and talent development needs.
Twenty-five year marketing veteran, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Marketing Rommin Adl comments, “About 10 years ago, we recognized an opportunity to start investing in marketing by improving our website, and quickly found that we were able to impact our efforts dramatically. This was enough to convince us to invest even more and build out a formal marketing function.”
BTS’s current marketing function accurately reflects the entrepreneurial culture of the organization, and the expansion of this area has made a significant impact on building brand awareness and driving top line growth.
Longtime clients consisting of 60 of the nation’s Fortune 100 have known BTS for being a leader in one area, however to develop similar reputation as the strategy execution partner of choice and an end-to-end talent partner with a broad range of service offerings has proved to be a challenge.
To overcome this challenge, BTS strived to build its domain eminence in each of the areas it serves. Adl comments, “Our CEO at one point commented that we were moving from being a ‘one trick pony’ to a ‘zoo.’”
Adl explains, “This is no small feat, as each our main competitors focuses solely on just one or two of the areas we serve – the majority of their time, energy and marketing resources are dedicated to building their brand and presence in that one area, while we are positioning ourselves as a broader partner of choice.”
Adl suggests that technology has dramatically enabled BTS’ overall marketing strategy with a major focus on site optimization and social media campaigns designed to increase the company’s visibility, thus making for easy interaction with prospective and current clients. BTS has also begun to leverage its marketing automation software to reach their client base in a smarter, more effective and personalized manner.
One principle extremely important to Adl from a marketing standpoint is to be an ambassador of the brand, both internally and externally, thereby engaging people throughout the organization on a regular basis and involving them personally in brand building activities. Adl believes the most effective way to grow a brand is through purpose.
He explains, “We know that companies that are purpose-driven and have clarity around their brand connect much better with their clients and as a result grow significantly faster than companies that do not. For us, our purpose is about making strategy personal for leaders and employees in major corporations, ultimately inspiring and equipping people to do their best work, creating better businesses and a better planet.”
Adl’s advice to young companies wishing to position themselves as true players in their respective industries is to start with a very clear purpose and vision of what they bring to the world and how they can make a difference.
After this is accomplished, experimentation should be put into play to unveil what core activities are needed to drive the brand and attract leads that will convert to new business. Adl also advises to try new tactics, evaluating throughout what works well in order to achieve overall goals and vision.
Recently BTS, too, underwent a major rebranding, spending nine months on the upfront analysis and three months on the implementation. Adl advises that it is wise to get through the first phase of marketing research and focus groups as quickly as possible.
He comments, “Don’t let yourself get bogged down during phase one. After this, try to launch the creative and implementation stage with an understanding that you will modify as needed. Don’t be too wedded to one iteration of something, because things will likely change and adapt as you try them out in real time.”