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IDC: Strategic Product Integration

As one of the world’s leading analyst firms, IDC has significant brand equity with Wall Street and the IT Supplier community. Unfortunately, the rapid growth of the firm, combined with their breadth of product offerings, had left their product line in disarray. In order to compete in their current market and expand into other markets, IDC needed to strengthen its brand identity and improve the presentation and usability of its research content. They turned to us.

Our team identified 50 different types of communications documents produced by seven groups within the organization. Each type had a variety of sub-types and each corporate group had a distinctive style. This caused a branding disconnect when a customer used products from more than one group.

Once we had developed a new brand look and feel, the ordinary stationary documents were easy to unify (letterhead, business card, thank you cards, mailing labels). The real challenge came in unifying the look and feel of all of the various divisions “information containers,” the research products that were purchased by customers. What was the minimal set of documents IDC needed to produce? How did customers use them? How should they be organized for consistency while remaining flexible?

Our analysis revealed that customers turned to research out of four motivations:

Observe – What is it? What’s going on?

Predict – Where will it go? What does it mean?

Act – What are my options? What should I do?

Support – How do you know?

To these four functions we added one more, necessary for every document:

Identify – What is contained in this document?

With these functions in mind, we reduced the dozens and dozens of document types produced by the company to only nine (14 including sub-types) which would contain all of the company’s prolific output.

Each of the document types followed a consistent outline, and shared a common graphical look and feel. Standards for color palettes, fonts, photographic imagery and chart types were developed and implemented.

Creating a consistent identity for all of IDC’s content containers strengthened the IDC brand by providing a unified image that could be used as a primary client communication foundation across all groups and offices. This new branding  supported IDC’s diverse capabilities, worked with its organizational structure and supported both existing and future product groups and markets.

So, what’s it all look like when it’s done? Here are a couple examples of the new identity system, together with some sample pages from one of the report types. (We could have picked any one because they all go together.)


In addition to helping IDC look and feel consistent across all of its products, this work produced cost savings by consolidating the number of products offered, reduced customer confusion by making it easy to decide which products to select, and improved the focus of the products because each was now driven towards fulfilling a particular set of customer motivations. Oh, and it’s beautiful.

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About Rick

Rick Scherle is a founder and Senior Managing Partner at Zoe Street.