Launched nearly 25 years ago primarily as a jail pay-phone company, the past decade has seen GTL grow – largely by acquisition – into the country’s largest and most innovative provider of integrated technology solutions for the correctional industry, with dominant national market share and offerings that span the entire spectrum from telephony and payment processing to inmate and facility management.
However, GTL’s rapid rate of growth and acquisition resulted in a number of significant business challenges, both external and internal. Many clients – having done business with the same provider for years – still referred to the names and brands of the acquired companies. This brand diffusion was further complicated by the need to help customers and prospects understand a complex and ever-expanding set of interconnected solutions.
Internally, the challenge of blending disparate corporate cultures across numerous U.S. office locations had left GTL without a unified corporate culture of its own. Absent a consistent set of authentic GTL-branded messages, materials and other tools, employees too often defaulted to referring to their companies of origin, making GTL feel like a “collection of companies” and further clouding perceptions of its brand.
GTL engaged Brandstone to provide the foundational brand architecture, strategyand programs necessary to both revitalize the company’s internal culture and elevate its outward brand image to a level befitting the true corrections technology industry leader.
But there was a catch: the bulk of the initial rebranding push – discovery, messaging, logo/visual system, website and a host of print and electric collateral – had to be completed on an extremely compressed schedule for launch at the industry’s largest annual event, the American Corrections Association (ACA) Conference.
We snapped into action, quickly conducting a half-day internal brand workshop with a representative cross-section of GTL staffers: the first step of our methodology for uncovering and articulating an organization’s most authentic and resonant differentiators. This was followed by a survey of GTL’s entire workforce and a brand audit of the firm’s primary competitors. Finally, we tested what we learned from those activities in a series of brand-focused interviews with customers from correctional facilities of varying sizes and profiles.
Based on our discovery input, we built the refreshed GTL brand on a platform of three powerful concepts: Vision (essence), Value and Trust (supporting attributes). Not only are these concepts authentic to the people, products and processes internal to GTL, they were validated by customers, whose own words helped us build a library of compelling on-brand messages. The new platform also informed the design of an all new visual look for the company, as well as the tagline “The Corrections Innovation Leader.”
The new brand was rolled out to rave reviews from employees, who were eager to embrace a common rallying point and quickly began to display new levels of engagement and communication. The big external launch at the ACA Conference was a huge success, wowing customers, prospects and competitors while serving notice to the entire industry that the sleeping giant has awakened and is ready to reclaim its rightful place at the top of the hill!
Post-launch, Brandstone continues to work with GTL, serving as brand stewards and delivering programs to infuse and leverage its principles across the entire enterprise.