Companies are hungrier for analytics than ever as they transform for a digital world.
Global software giant SAS Institute is out with its largest branding campaign in 20 years to reposition itself as a leader in a category that’s getting increasingly crowded.
The campaign, called “Curiosity Forever,” was developed by McCann New York, which SAS brought on last year as its first external creative agency. It aims to drive awareness for the brand, which had been focused on demand generation and other B2B tactics in recent years, said Jennifer Chase, SVP and head of marketing at SAS.
“For the past few years we've let the power of our analytics solutions speak for themselves,” she said. “But the analytics market is more crowded and confusing than ever, so we need to own our story and tell it in a much bolder way.”
In order to connect with consumers, SAS had to tap into the emotional part of marketing that’s typically the territory of B2C brands. The company landed on curiosity as an easy to understand shared value that could change brand perception.
“We recognized that, as a B2B company, we probably spoke in jargon,” Chase said.
The campaign, which will run in 20 global markets, includes a master 60-second film and 15- and 30-second cuts that focus on how data can transform industries including government, banking, healthcare, retail and manufacturing, as well as the SAS Viya platform.
It will run on digital and social, and includes a partnership with The New York Times that covers paid media, custom content and podcast sponsorships. It also includes a landing page that highlights how SAS uses data to solve major problems in the world, such as climate change.
For Chase, who has been with SAS for more than 20 years and was promoted to lead marketing in January, bringing on McCann was a big bet. The company handled marketing in-house for years, focused mostly on B2B customer acquisition tactics.
“I wanted to bring in somebody with an outside perspective who can see us for who we are, recognize where we can compete and help us tell that story,” Chase said.
The relationship, which is moving into its second year, includes updating SAS’s entire corporate identity and developing thought leadership, content and experiences that bring the new brand to life. Currently, for example, SAS is hosting a global hackathon allowing over 1,000 participants to use its analytics tools to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Behind the scenes, the campaign drove an internal transformation in SAS’ marketing organization. Chase brought in an organizational design expert to help restructure teams and establish core skill sets the discipline needed to be successful.
As SAS re-establishes its brand, it faces competition from the tech giants, major cloud providers and analytics startups. But it’s banking on a 45-year heritage in the analytics space and trusted customer relationships to maintain its leading position.
“Our strength is the history we have and how we team with our customers, governments and communities,” Chase said.