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In October 2020, IBM announced it would spin off the Managed Infrastructure Services unit of its Global Technology Services division as a new public company, eventually named “Kyndryl.”
A new ITSMA case study shows how, in just a matter of months, the Kyndryl marketing team went from a fledgling idea to a fully-formed organization that partners with a complex and large business to be a catalyst for growth. Kyndryl Marketing started by taking a methodical approach to finding a unique name, developing a brand identity, defining the brand voice, and reinforcing the brand purpose.
The experienced team realized that while every new company needs a name and a logo, building a new brand that resonates in the marketplace requires much more, including a tone of voice and a purpose. Kyndryl rooted its brand in being the “heart of progress,” putting the customer at the center of everything the company does. Here are the steps Kyndryl took to separate itself from its parent company:
Find the name
Like many spinoffs, Kyndryl operated under the label “Newco” as it sought to find its name. But it couldn’t be just any name. To go to market as a new, unique company and build awareness and recognition independent from IBM, Newco needed a memorable, aspirational name that would represent the kind of company it wanted to be.
The process was extensive: Newco’s marketing team reviewed more than 2,000 names and consulted with linguistics experts to identify a name that translated in every country and could be properly pronounced in different dialects. The team partnered with legal experts around the globe to ensure any name considered was not already in use or owned. Then, in perhaps the hardest test of all, the name had to be something the leadership team liked.
Given these constraints, the team followed in the footsteps of well-known brands like Verizon and Accenture and created its own name: Kyndryl. The root of the name comes from two words: Kyn comes from kinship, meaning relationship, which is fitting because Kyndryl is a services company with people at the core. Dryl comes from tendril and refers to the growth the company wants to cultivate with customers, partners, and employees.
Create the identity
Along with announcing Kyndryl as the company name in April 2021, marketing also began to introduce elements of the visual identity. The logo is simple, streamlined, and focused. The letters in the logo use a geometric font in lowercase to convey the approachability of Kyndryl’s people and the company. (Compare this to the all-capital, block lettering of parent company IBM’s logo.)
The color palette strives to be vibrant, energetic, and warm, and the imagery is intended to demonstrate both the human element and nature, which grow, change, and—ideally—thrive.
Identify a brand voice
To complement the name and visual identity, the marketing team developed a tone, called “the coach’s voice.” Just as a coach sees potential and possibility in their players and team, Kyndryl wants to evoke those possibilities in the ways it communicates.
Key tenets for Kyndryl’s tone or voice are:
– Ready to jump in and get things done
– Collaborative—good teammates and partners!
Define Kyndryl’s purpose
In addition to a name, a visual identity, and a voice, a brand must articulate the company’s purpose: who the company is and why the company exists. In an intense yet collaborative way, Kyndryl determined that what matters most are its people and the outcomes it delivers for customers every day.
Kyndryl has a key belief that the customer is at the center of everything Kyndryl does and the brand is rooted in being the “heart of progress,” advancing systems that power human progress.
The heart of progress plays throughout Kyndryl’s advertising and messaging
Kyndryl also seeks to cultivate a people-first environment, composed of team members who are devoted, committed to shared success, focused on improvement, empathetic, responsive, and forward-looking. It is focused on building a culture separate from IBM while also retaining the best of the parent company. Within the marketing organization, leadership is focusing on having “a leader in every chair,” empowering marketers to challenge the status quo and enabling them to work with efficiency and speed.
By creating a brand, a culture, and an organization that is positioned to reignite growth, Kyndryl’s marketing organization is ready to position the company for long-term success.
Find out more, including details on cultivating a new culture and creating an environment for agile marketing, by downloading this case study about Kyndryl’s marketing organization.
The Kyndryl marketing team went from idea to a fully-formed organization that partners with a complex business to be a catalyst for growth.