From 300 marketers to 5 – a change of mindset in Group-IPS

In 2017, Group-IPS started making strategic changes. As part of this process, marketing was also examined from a new perspective. At that time, all 300 project managers of the company were in some way assisting with its marketing activities. Now, senseZOOM is an integral part of the company and contributes to its overall strategy. The result? Most importantly, a streamlined professional brand that reflects the new era of Group-IPS.

Client

Group-IPS is a traditional Belgian engineering company, with a staff of 300 project managers and engineers. Since it was founded in 1992, the company has built a network of branch offices in 15 countries, with a revenue of 25 million Euros. When business stagnated in 2017, the company’s founder made Juan Sanchez Chatar the new CEO. Juan was not a new manager – he had already joined Group-IPS in 2006 and knew the company well. As its CEO he started implementing strategic and cultural changes. Among these changes was creating a new marketing team, which until then had not existed in the company.

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“For the company to grow further, it was clear that a big change was needed, externally as well as from within.“

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When business changes, marketing has to change as well

Clients such as Novartis, AB Inbev, Shell or GSK appreciate the professional services of Group-IPS. The company’s expertise in project management in construction is indisputable and IPS has long held the belief that its best marketers are its engineers. Their style of writing was often too technical, however, and they frequently failed to speak about projects because they could not disclose the client. In addition, the company communicated rather sporadically on social networks and its English-language communication was not up to a professional standard. Moreover, each of the 15 branch offices did their own marketing. Soon, the new management put an end to that.

For the company to grow further, it was clear that a big change was needed, externally as well as from within. That meant that experts for marketing and internal communication were needed. The company required someone who would partner with the management in introducing those changes and coming up with a whole new and appropriate marketing strategy, depending on the company’s business concept, etc. At the same time, this new team would also be in charge of putting its ideas into reality.

But how do you choose such a team?

In-house marketing or outsourcing?

With 15 branch offices, that’s a tough question

The management of Group-IPS had to come up with a clever tactic to find a new marketing team. These were the options they could choose from:

1. Hire an in-house marketing team

With a company the size of Group-IPS, this would have meant that the marketing managers would be distributed over 20 offices in 15 countries. This makes the advantages of an in-house-solution less great, because the team has to communicate remotely.

2. Find a marketing-manager who will build a team of external agencies

A feasible possibility, but definitely not a cheap one. Moreover, it depends greatly on the capabilities of the manager, how well they manage the processes and the entire network of external agencies, their skills in managing workflow and so on. Such a person is a difficult one to hire – and what about finding their deputy? Another challenge.

3. Hire an external agency that oversees the marketing

In short: Organize everything in one team with one agency, which will take care of the strategy and implementation and if they don’t have their own experts, they hire them independently and carry the risk.

Yes, your guess is correct: The right answer is three and the chosen candidate was senseZOOM. Our main advantage was our project-driven approach and our experience in the area of industrial real estate. And thus we started working together in 2018 and have been teaming up ever since. Now, you would have a hard time distinguishing the employees of senseZoom and those of Group IPS. And that is exactly what this is about! We are not just service providers. We actively participate in finding new strategies, journeys and activities and then put all of that into action as well.

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”SenseZOOM is an integral part of our team. They even use our company's e-mail domain  and have access to our internal systems. At the same time, they provide us with the flexibility we need. We don’t have to worry about choosing other marketing agencies or organizing selection procedures to find staff for specific marketing activities. Our HR department does not have to constantly search for new creatives. senseZoom always delivers the team of experts that we need at the moment.”

Juan Sanchez Chatar, CEO Group IPS

How to communicate the rebirth of a company?

We at senseZoom believe that marketing is at the heart of a company’s activities and interconnects with the overall strategy of a business. We arrived at Group-IPS at a moment of great strategic and cultural change (we leave it to you to judge just how exciting that change is). From the original engineering company, IPS has changed into an innovative partner for their clients, one that helps them build the factories of the future. Factories that meet all the new standards that digitalization and the arrival of Industry 4.0 bring along. We prepared the company for this huge step by focusing on its internal and external communication. How did we approach the process?

1. Clear strategy

We consulted the client's business strategy, business activities and organizational changes. We examined the target group, finalized positioning as well as brand identity and looked into how Group-IPS wants to be perceived in the long run.

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2. Streamlining communication

For clients in all countries to perceive IPS in the same way, it is necessary to streamline communication. We centralized marketing, put together a core team and designed a unified plan of marketing activities.  

3. Unique content and a new team each month

We had a strategy. We had a plan. Now all we had to do was implement it. Today, we design unique content for Group-IPS, do our own reporting, record the podcast The Hub, and come up with the entirety of marketing materials and visuals... Depending on what is needed at the moment, we change the team in charge of the client. Sometimes we need more input from the graphic designers, sometimes the brand manager’s expertise is more important. Thus each month, the staff in charge of Group-IPS changes up a bit.

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Results of the work of Group-IPS with senseZOOM

In two years of working together, both sides have learned a lot. We had to learn to speak the engineering language, so we would be able to communicate with the target group, but our insights amount to so much more. We are very happy to be growing along with IPS and that we have met the following targets:

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Streamlining the brand and visual communication

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Unifying external communication in all 15 countries

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Designing a marketing strategy reflecting the business changes at IPS

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Creating original content, thereby setting the company apart from its competitors

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Recording the podcast The Hub

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Growing the number of LinkedIn-Fans to 12 000

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Strong brand awareness thanks to targeted PR

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Transparent internal communication

What now? Staying on track

The change that Group-IPS was facing is one that every business encounters from time to time – the company had to reflect on the new times and its growth, become aware of where it is going, of its goals and its clients' needs as well as what is necessary to meet them. This is definitely not an easy change. External and internal communication is of key importance here. We are pleased that IPS placed its trust in us and that we can continue to work on perfecting the current activities while coming up with new ones. It is also important to stay on track. We at senseZOOM will continue to help with that and are looking forward to all the challenges down the road.

Do you want to find out more about Group-IPS? Check out their website and listen to the podcast The Hub – and let us know how you liked it!

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”The excitement, entrepreneurship and initiative of senseZOOM are amazing. Thanks to their experience and approach we have realized how important marketing is for our strategy. We recommend senseZOOM to everyone who is in a similar situation as we were in 2017.”

Juan Sanchez Chatar, CEO Group IPS

 

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