TeraThink Corporation (TeraThink) provides technological solutions that help government agencies enhance business processes and increase operational efficiencies. TeraThink has been recognized by Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in the country—for six consecutive years—and was recently named one of the 2016 Best Places to Work list in Virginia. Paul V. Lombardi, TeraThink’s President and CEO, shares insights about why his company undertook a rebranding initiative 14 years after its incorporation.
WashingtonExec: What prompted your decision for a TeraThink brand refresh?
Paul V. Lombardi: Since our inception almost 14 years ago, TeraThink has grown significantly and today is operating on a different platform at a larger scale. As we continue on this exciting path, we’ve taken the opportunity to look at what we’ve become, what we stand for, and how we can better articulate and emphasize the most important aspects of our culture and success.
Having graduated from the small business programs, TeraThink is now competing head-on with the larger household names in our industry. To differentiate our company in the marketplace, we recognized how critical it was to tell our story in a compelling way. That’s how our brand refresh and messaging initiative began.
WashingtonExec: What did you learn about the branding process that you did not know before? What were some of the surprises?
Paul V. Lombardi: The process wasn’t focused on defining a list of services or capabilities we offer. It was a much more introspective look into our values, culture, and approach to solving complex problems for our customers.
I was thrilled that throughout this process the ideas and characteristics that were important to us when TeraThink first opened its doors were, in fact, aligned to how we are defined today, as authentic, customer-focused, answer-oriented, flexible, experienced, inventive, and resourceful.
This effort helped to validate where we wanted take our brand and helped us develop a strategic roadmap to get us there.
WashingtonExec: What does the new tagline mean or embody?
Paul V. Lombardi: Our new tagline, “Answers that multiply,” conveys that we are much more than warm bodies performing mundane tasks. We are a true consultancy, engaging customers, providing answers, and creating solutions that help our clients become far more efficient and effective. We serve as a force multiplier that assists each one of our clients overcome their specific challenges and achieve their desired outcomes.
We’re constantly looking for ways to improve how the government does business. By helping our clients’ move past the obstacles that get in the way of progress, we’re also helping them do more with taxpayer dollars, reduce deficits, and provide critical services to more citizens.
For example, when we are able to help our clients get their enterprise systems up and running three times faster at ten times less cost, we are helping to improve the way our nation operates and serves citizens. Which, in turn, is a positive for all of us.
WashingtonExec: What have your employees and customers been saying about the relaunch? Did they have input with the rebranding of the company?
Paul V. Lombardi: We had an internal launch earlier this month at our All Hands meeting and honestly, I was on pins and needles when we unveiled the new logo. Fortunately, it was very well received and there were several oohs and aahs from the audience. Our customers have also been very receptive.
It was very important to me and the rest of the leadership team to engage our employees throughout the brand refresh process. TeraThink was founded on trillions of ideas. And the approach we took for our new look and feel was the same. We worked collaboratively over the course of three months to find something that would resonate internally and with the industry at large.
The new TeraThink logo is a symbol designed to represent the attributes of the company and reflect our brand message. It consists of an organized and active series of dots. They work together visually to create a feeling of expansion and, at the same time, a stable focus. The new color palate was specifically chosen to embody trust, honesty, reliability, and inspiration. Combined with our tagline, our logo illustrates TeraThink’s core principles.
WashingtonExec: Why did you initially chose the name TeraThink?
Paul V. Lombardi: “Tera” is the prefix for trillion and combined with “Think” implies trillions of thoughts. The genesis of the name was aligned with our original focus to help our clients solve complex problems through innovative, methodical, progress-focused thought leadership. Our new tagline, “Answers that multiply,” is the next evolution of this focus.
WashingtonExec: Some leaders have a hard time relating marketing initiatives directly to ROI. How did you go about it and how do you tie marking initiatives into business development/new business?
Paul V. Lombardi: There’s an intrinsic value in defining your brand and effectively communicating it internally and externally. An important aspect of deployment is empowering all employees with a brand messaging platform that helps frame our purpose, promise, principles, and value proposition.
We’re a geographically dispersed organization serving a wide variety of government agencies. We need to reinforce what it is about us that transcends location or project, and adds consistent, recognizable value to everything we do.
We didn’t calculate or project an ROI. Rather, we believed that equipping our employees with a more structured messaging platform that aligns our core values to our delivery ethic and expertise would achieve broad and effective reach to industry and government.