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How D&B revitalized the business by investing in its brand

A look back at 1999 shows Dun & Bradstreet successfully extricating itself from a number of ill-fated acquisitions. Shortly thereafter, the Board hired a new CEO. His mandate was clear: turn the company around by refocusing on its core business. The firm was recognized as a leading global resource for essential business information. At the same time, however, new competitors were aggressively taking shares away.

The brand was mired in its paper-based, commodity-data past. The strength of the brand was further impacted by a complex and confusing family of product, service, discipline and business brands.

Refocusing the brand

The new CEO put brand revitalization at the center of the business strategy. He teamed up with Tenet Partners to accomplish the necessary transformation. Our team was tasked with one very important mission: develop and execute a new brand strategy in support of business goals.

Starting at the beginning, Tenet guided Dun & Bradstreet toward a name change that aligned with existing behavior. Customers were already using D&B as a shorthand when referring to the company. The transition from the full name to this abbreviated form was a natural next step. Onward to the next building block, Tenet proceeded to the development of a visual and verbal identity that would support the position of the company as a trusted and dependable partner. This led to the creation of a new “guide star” logo and brand promise – Decide with Confidence.

This was further supported by a visual system featuring a flexible and dynamic graphic system, giving D&B a distinctive voice in the market that would resonate with a new generation of business decision makers.

A view to the future with clarity of purpose

The upcoming launch of the new identity gave D&B the opportunity to clean house and simplify its brand architecture. Four customer-focused competencies with straightforward, descriptive names replaced a confusing array of offerings. This clear architecture fostered a better understanding in the marketplace for what D&B does and how it helps customers improve business performance.

D&B’s brand strategy has proven its flexibility to accommodate new offerings without leading to confusion. The brand umbrella was extended to include strategic cobranding and ingredient brand programs, as well as associations such as the D&B Worldwide Network, an alliance of regional market leaders who bring local expertise to D&B customers, worldwide.

The proof is in the results

In the end, D&B’s efforts to reinvigorate the business was met with outstanding success. Post-launch, the company’s stock value rose markedly, consistently and significantly outperforming the S&P 500 index.

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