In 2011, Blue Solutions held a general reputation with the technology channel community [resellers, value-add resellers, etc.] as a specialist software distributor, mainly for Microsoft and Trend Micro products. Unlike many other distributors in the industry, Blue Solutions maintains a deeply knowledgeable team of product experts, loyal staff, and a genuine commitment that its team must support customers with good advice and consultancy [not just a sales drive attitude every time].
However, following a Stakeholder Perception Audit by Mantis, in which we interviewed 14 staff, partners and customers, it was clear that Blue Solutions strongest attributes were not always ‘getting through’ to the channel community. Some in the channel community also saw its lack of direct distribution contracts with vendors as a ‘negative’.
The management team at Blue tasked us with re-engineering its reputation by: firstly, promoting its strongest attributes across media and social media channels. Second, by ensuring that the channel community understood Blue Solutions broader expertise – in providing consultancy, advice and software in areas such as backup, archive, disaster recovery and in cloud-based software that enables resellers to become Managed Service Providers.
We developed new detailed messaging for Blue Solutions and, working with the Blue Solutions’ sales team, collated proof-points and other evidence to support each of five new messages. We shared the new messages with all staff and produced a messaging guide, which could be printed out and kept at each workstation.
- We used our existing media relationships to secure meetings with key editors to introduce Blue Solutions and the management team. Over the period, co founder Mark Charleton met with
- Ed Holden, editor, IT Reseller
- Christine Horton, editor, ChannelPro
- Doug Woodburn, reporter, CRN
- Tamlin McGee, reporter, ChannelBizUK
- Paul Kunert, senior journalist, ChannelRegister
- These meetings were also the first step to longer-term relationships, which generated positive, accurate press coverage. The meeting with Tamlin McGee, for example, was a pre-cursor to him writing about Blue Solutions’ new vendor agreement with LabTech. The meeting with Christine Horton at ChannelPro ultimately led to her writing about Blue’s new vendor agreements with LabTech, Conseal, Attix5 and Reflexion
- We focussed on generating approved news and thought-leadership to help communicate Blue Solution’s skills, knowledge, experience and USPs. During the period, on behalf of Blue, we wrote, approved and pitched six press announcements relating to new vendor wins for Blue Solutions; the media published all announcements
- We drafted and submitted comment for four editorial features on topics such as SMB cloud computing, Bring Your Own Device and Disaster Recovery. All comments were published
- In total, Mantis secured 32 dedicated press articles in channel media – with around 42 per cent in tier one and 31 per cent in tier two media. The new company descriptor and messaging was present in around 60 per cent of published articles
- Following the withdrawal of Doyenz, a key vendor for Blue Solutions, from the UK market we also managed the media and social media reaction. We produced a statement for use with the media explaining the crisis, and how Blue Solutions could support the channel community moving forward. The statement was used in three press articles. We wrote a blog post for channel blog, CompareTheCloud, which again explained how Blue Solutions was helping in the channel. We shared, responded and interacted with all Tweets on the topic
- As part of the campaign, we instigated a meeting with William Linard, the UK representative of industry trade association, CompTIA. The Blue Solutions management team held a call with William and agreed a way of working together. Blue Solutions joined CompTIA as a member shortly afterwards
Social media outputs
Using social media formed a significant part of the campaign for Blue Solutions. Initially we provided advice and consultancy on the best social media tools to use in order to engage with influencers, stakeholders and prospects directly. We then took responsibility for delivery of Blue Solutions’ social media efforts.
- Softwarebloggers.co.uk blog was launched working in partnership with Blue Solutions in-house web-developer. We made recommendations for blog name, blogging platform [Wordpress] and plugins in order to create a professional blog. We wrote and managed content creation, and shared all content via Twitter. All posts on the blog were regularly receiving social media shares by site visitors. The blog provides a great platform for the Blue Solutions team to demonstrate its knowledge and thought-leadership
- @BlueSolDisti Twitter account was established and managed by us. The account grew to nearly 200 followers in the first 12 months, interaction and engagement from followers was frequent
- Software for UK MSPs LinkedIN Group was launched towards the end of the campaign to encourage more direct interaction with Managed Service Provider prospects. We managed the launch of the Group, inviting of Blue Solutions staff, monitor of the media for regular debate topics, and formulation of appropriate debate questions