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SDL - Corporate Reputation / Professional Services Campaign

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Company: SDL, Waltham, MA USA
Company Description: SDL is the global innovator in language translation technology, services and content management. Over the past 25 years we've delivered transformative business results by enabling powerfully nuanced digital experiences with customers around the world, delivering services to 19 of Forbes’ 20 most valuable brands, 78 of Interpublic’s top 100 global brands, and 8 of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies.
Nomination Category: Marketing Campaign Categories - Industry
Nomination Sub Category: Marketing Campaign of the Year - Corporate Reputation / Professional Services

Nomination Title: SDL’s Journey to the Age of Understanding

Tell the story of this nominated marketing campaign for the judges (up to 650 words). Describe the genesis, planning, execution, and results to date of your campaign.

In early 2016, SDL announced a significant pivot in strategy, which entailed shifting the company’s primary focus away from a broad marketing suite approach and going back to its roots: helping brands manage, translate and deliver global content. This required a company-wide rebrand, including a new corporate strategy, messaging and positioning, solution offerings, go-to-market strategies to support growth objectives, and sales alignment to put the focus on SDL’s language solutions and content management offerings.

As part of SDL’s new corporate positioning and brand strategy message, the company created a new narrative, coined under the concept, “The Age of Understanding.” Today, the amount of available content is exploding and, as such, the potential of content is endless, but only if it can be freed from the limitations of linguistic, geographic and cultural barriers to create understanding. Otherwise, it just adds to the noise of an overwhelming sea of messages. In developing this story, SDL created a platform to show off its core strengths within a holistic, integrated story that highlights the company’s key differentiators in the context of the real-world problems SDL technology and services address.

To share the company’s new strategy with employees, customers, partners and analysts, SDL’s marketing team focused on external communications efforts aimed at seeding the “Age of Understanding” message through owned content. This message was reiterated through consistent communication via editorial content, SDL’s blog, the company’s website, internal communications with employees, and on social media. To further draw attention to SDL’s new brand and messaging, the company launched a new website alongside a new logo.

In addition to shifting its core messaging, SDL expanded and upgraded its product portfolio to include a wide variety of offerings focused on helping companies meet the Age of Understanding. Throughout the year, SDL announced upgrades to its WorldServer, TMS and Trados Studio products. The company also announced the launch of its Global Digital Experience Solution, Global Knowledge Delivery Solution, Marketing Solution, Secure Translation Solution, and Localization Process Consulting offering. These offerings bring together best-in-class content management, translation management, and localization technologies, emphasizing SDL’s core strengths and giving sales teams a touchpoint to use with customers to reinforce SDL’s new focus. Throughout the year, SDL also worked to divest its non-core businesses to refocus on these new offerings, completing the sale of its Campaign businesses and initiating the sale of its Fredhopper and Social Intelligence units. SDL announced many of these updates at the company’s first SDL Connect event, a user conference that attracted over 280 attendees from 10 different countries. The event, held from November 16-18, 2016, served as SDL’s official external launch of its new brand and strategy.

This strategy shift proved highly successful for SDL, helping lead the company to an 8.6 percent increase in overall revenue from 2015 to 2016 and 24 percent increase in its Language Technologies business. SDL’s Translation Productivity group secured over 580 new corporate customers and expanded its presence in 680 existing corporate accounts. Throughout this campaign, SDL was featured in numerous marketing trade publications highlighting the strategy change, including CMSWire, MarTech Advisor, and Customer Think. Closing out the year, SDL outlined the campaign’s results and its strategy for continued growth to investors and analysts at a Capital Markets Day in December. Following the event, Investec, Numis Securities and Panmure Gordon moved SDL from a “hold” to a “buy” rating, and nine stock market research analyst and investment firms had a positive change in their consensus ratings and price targets for SDL. Analysts from Broker N+1 Singer commented: “We believe new management can exploit the potential of this global niche tech leader and effect a re-rating by transforming the business.”

Through transformative changes at the corporate strategy, process and product innovation levels, this marketing campaign helped make 2016 a benchmark year for SDL’s growth, resulting in customer wins and success as well as revenue gains.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of the nominated campaign (up to 150 words).

-Strengthened leadership team with key executive appointments, including CEO Adolfo Hernandez, CMO Peggy Chen, Chief Transformation Officer Azad Ootam, and Senior VP of Business Development Thomas Labarthe.
-Reiterated “Age of Understanding” messaging through consistent internal and external communication.
-Launched a new brand platform, including a new website and logo
-Drove product innovation through upgrades to SDL WorldServer, SDL TMS and SDL Trados Studio products and launch of SDL Global Digital Experience Solution, SDL Global Knowledge Delivery Solution, SDL Marketing Solutions and SDL Secure Translation Solution, and Localization Process Consulting offering.
-Divested non-core businesses, completing the sale of Campaigns business and initiating the sale of Fredhopper and Social Intelligence units.
-Implemented cultural and strategy changes across its 55 offices in 38 countries.
-Held first SDL Connect event, attracting over 280 attendees from 10 different countries.
-Experienced 8.6 percent increase in overall revenue.
-Experienced 24 percent increase in Language Technologies business.