With headquarters in the UK, Conversis - a globalization, internationalization, localization, and translation (GILT) service provider that presents multinational clients with a strategic approach to managing multilingual content - wanted to increase brand awareness globally, particularly in the US.
Owner Gary Muddyman hired Michael A. Burns & Associates (MBA) to help launch Conversis' first US-based marketing and PR program.
"The hardest challenge was to take Conversis out of its own internal media to reach others," says Michael Burns. "The key has been identifying who would be interested in Conversis."
Because MBA has an operation in Europe and Burns has a vast understanding of linguistics, the firm was a shoo-in to brand and market Conversis on a global scale.
"We recognized that there was a significant opportunity in the US," says Muddyman, adding that as long as the need for people to communicate in different languages and through different cultures continues to grow, so, too, will Conversis.
"We understand the role of language in branding. Most people look at a language as a commodity," says Burns, whose team had the challenge of trying to explain to the media in simple terms Conversis' role in the IT, pharmaceutical, and financial- services sectors of business.
"This has probably been the hardest sell I've had," says MBA's Jennifer Green. She adds that once she was able to tell Conversis' story, she was able to build some good relationships. Once MBA educated reporters on Conversis' services, there was genuine interest.
MBA was put in charge of redesigning the 3-year-old company's website to make it easy to navigate and understand. The team also focused on creating press releases highlighting the services Conversis provided. The goal was to send out two releases per month to such trade publications as ClientSide News and MultiLingual Computing.
The team also pre-pitched story ideas to magazines and wrote their own articles. Over the past year, MBA has published eight to 10 bylined pieces in business, tech, and marketing magazines, as well as in vertical publications.
The agency also set out on a media tour on both the East and West coasts this past summer to introduce Muddyman to magazines, journalists, analysts, and marketing people as an industry expert. MBA partnered Conversis with LingoPort, a company whose software offers technologies and expertise for global e-business. Because of the nature of the technology, the two companies made a proverbial one-two punch to help generate interest and build relationships.
MBA focused much of 2005's third quarter on a direct mail campaign in both the US and the UK. It targeted people who had the authority to buy GILT software and offered a discount to test Conversis' services by year's end. Green boasts that Conversis has gotten in front of some big clients because of the campaign.
Conversis' willingness to put a huge chunk of its budget into marketing has paid off.
Muddyman projects that sales will have increased by more than 100% by the end of the year. More than 50% of that growth has come from the US.
As Conversis is a relatively new business looking to grow, both Muddyman and the team at MBA are very pleased with the results.
"It's not out of the question to get another 100% growth next year," says Muddyman.
Conversis also has received significant media coverage outside of the GILT trade press. Muddyman has been quoted in business, technology, and marketing media nationwide.
Though Conversis is currently more of a boutique supplier, more global expansion is just around the corner. The company recently opened a small office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and is looking to MBA to help reach target audiences in South America.
In addition, Muddyman has his eye on possible expansion into Asia, specifically China.
PR team: Conversis (England) and Michael A. Burns & Associates (Dallas)
Campaign: Translating Success: A 2005 Marketing Communications Program for Conversis
Time frame: January 2005 - ongoing