Building a Brand…Starts with Knowing Who You Are

When NextLevel Thinking began building a brand for OGsys, an oil and gas accounting software provider based in Ft. Worth, the first thing we noticed was that nobody knew exactly what to the call the company. The company’s official name at the time was Oil and Gas Information Systems, Inc. – a mouthful that was often shortened in a variety of ways.

During our investigation phase, we interviewed OGsys clients and employees alike and found that no one was sure of the right name because a solid brand had never been established. Even though OGsys had been a pioneer in the oil and gas accounting software industry for 30 years, they hadn’t been telling their story in a consistent way.

And, what a story they had to tell! Upon interviewing their founders, we learned they were the first company to develop an oil and gas accounting application for the personal computer. And, that they were one of the first in the industry to provide an automated alternative to manually processing data – saving their clients hours and hours of time.

“It’s hard to talk about yourself and sing your own praises,” said OGsys President, Chuck Blanton. “Until we started working with NextLevel, we didn’t truly realize some of the amazing accomplishments we should be sharing with our clients and potential clients.”

These little nuggets of information are what distinguish companies from their competitors, but no one knows it unless you tell them. Back then, OGsys spent the majority of their time talking about their products in a very technical way. We called this approach– “software centric” and found that most of the companies in the industry fell into that category. Everyone was touting their products, but no one was talking about how they benefited their clients. After all, it’s people who buy the products!

During the visualization phase, we determined that the key component missing from the OGsys strategy had been communication. They had innovative products, world-class service and support teams and a great story, but they weren’t communicating it in a strategic way.

In addition, OGsys had a database of clients who used their products and services on a daily basis who were hungry for information about how they could better utilize their software. Many clients didn’t realize there were product upgrades available that would make their jobs easier. They didn’t know there were upgraded support options or services that could benefit them. All OGsys needed were the vehicles to easily communicate all of this information.

NextLevel Thinking developed a new communication model for OGsys that allowed them to establish an ongoing dialogue with their clients using monthly email blasts, a monthly e-newsletter, an interactive on-line client forum, online survey functionality to easily solicit client feedback and a redesigned, interactive website that is more search engine friendly. In addition to the design and communication elements, we also identified key areas to target for growth that would funnel new business into the pipeline and upgrade existing client contracts.

The toughest part for our clients is determining how they are going to execute these complex new strategies. Like many companies who have remained successful in this difficult economic climate, OGsys has a lean operation that doesn’t include an in-house marketing staff. As a result, they don’t have the manpower to devote to executing their new strategy. To bridge the gap, they are taking advantage of NextLevel Thinking’s Marketing Leadership offering – which in essence means we have become the virtual marketing department for OGsys.

We work with their staff on a daily basis to execute all facets of their communication strategy, including email blasts, web content management, newsroom articles and advertising campaigns. If they’re thinking about developing a new product or application, we survey their clients for feedback. If they want to invite clients to a user group meeting, we coordinate the communications and develop the presentations. When it’s time for a trade show, we develop the booth display. All of this frees up OGsys to concentrate on day-to-day operations with the confidence that NextLevel is handling their marketing and communications.

“Since we’ve teamed up with NextLevel Thinking, we have a revitalized energy and a new vision for how we’re going to grow our company,” said Barbara Schweitzer, Chief Operations Officer at OGsys. “They push us to move forward and stay focused.”

Today, there’s been a shift in culture at OGsys. Their clients are more informed, more interactive and more likely to talk about OGsys with other industry professionals. Internally, the OGsys staff is more engaged and more empowered to share ideas.

In short, the word is out and OGsys is a name to remember!