How does a company known for low-tech network adapters reposition itself as an innovator pushing the boundaries of connected-computing capabilities? That was the question facing Communications Systems, Inc (CSI). Since 1969, they manufactured and sold networking commodities through distributors. As a publicly held company, CSI operated on a low-margin/high-volume model. With the stock price stagnant and growth potential limited, they began acquiring forward-leaning companies focused on edge computing and “Never Down” networks. Their goal was to redeploy as a hardware as a service (HaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) provider positioned at the forefront of networking technology.
Initially, Olive & Company was asked to create an innovative brand. CSI also wanted guidance on moving away from existing branding and shifting their offering without alienating customers. As the project progressed, Olive identified a need for a revised brand architecture that would de-silo current sub-brands and align them with recent acquisitions. The brand architecture had to remain flexible as companies were purchased or spun off frequently while CSI recreated itself. All of these efforts, as the client put it, were akin to “building an airplane while it’s in flight.” Things were changing daily, yet everything had to stay fully functional and profitable.
After rigorous stakeholder interviews and group conversations, Olive developed audience personas that encapsulated the current and aspirational audiences. These personas informed who CSI would be selling to and actively shaped how CSI structured its new business model to meet each persona’s needs, demands, and challenges. Olive also strategized a comprehensive brand architecture that transitioned CSI from a holding company into TNX Technologies, a single brand delivering innovative networking products and service lines. The architecture and name were supported by a new visual identity and NASDAQ ticker symbol. TNX Technologies now had the alignment, look, offering, and message of a digital network innovator.