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From blue to red

Basel: Swiss Design?
Munich: Lesson in Identity.
Montreal: Joie de Vivre
Chicago:The Company that was.
Cleveland: The Technology Revolution.
New York: The Master's Voice.
Greensboro: What's a Triad?
Seattle: Rains but Shines

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The identity system as a business tool.

From blue to red
When the new TRW identity system was introduced in 1982, some people at the company's defense divisions disliked the change of the logo color from blue to red, because in their business red symbolized the "enemy." Other operations managers argued that adding the TRW name would cause confusion in their markets.

Sell, teach and learn
Such objections needed to be overcome before the new identity would take hold across the company. What helped immensely was by my prior experience at McGraw-Edison, my knowledge of European business practises and subtleties of foreign communications. I "sold" the new identity with different arguments to different audiences. The sales tools included
  • over 30 one-day seminars, held across three continents,
  • group meetings with operations requiring special attention,
  • a temporary company-wide publication called "Communication by Design," and
  • individual consultations with hundreds of communications professionals, purchasing, marketing, and operations managers throughout the company.
Being the teacher and coach taught me:
  • more than most corporate employees about the company's products and markets
  • the different marketing communications across the company
  • the relationship of communication professionals to business managers, and
  • how an identity system can facilitate the generation of revenue through the licensing of the corporate brand.

With the new identity in place, I was able to devote additional time to corporate communications such as the annual report. My reputation as an easily accessible problem solver led to communication assignments at the operating level. Being asked by division marketing personnel to participate in a project is the best compliment a corporate employee can get.

TRW continues to manage change well and grow.

Despite significant divestitures, including the credit reporting business, the company has more than doubled in size since 1985 with1998 sales of $11.9 billion. Today, TRW describes itself as "a world leader in automotive, space, defense and information technology."

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