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February 9, 2018
(pictured above: Hitman’s Steve Brazell on stage at Bridgepointe Technologies’ “Your Signal in the Noise” event in San Francisco, Feb. 8)
**Editor’s Note: Click here for our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.**
SAN FRANCISCO — Bridgepointe Technologies dove headfirst into a rebrand Thursday.
The San Mateo, California-based master agency rolled out a new logo and partner sales rewards that reflect the challenges of modern IT. Bridgepointe’s new slogan is “your signal in the noise,” referring to the uncertainty and confusion that business customers face.
Hitman’s Steve Brazell
Multiple trends are changing the experience for partners and their customers. Cloud-based technologies are shifting partners to a new revenue model, and their customers see an increasing amount of vendor options and very few brand-neutral experts that they can trust.
“The biggest problem in the market: overwhelming choice. Everyone is saying their product will solve your needs, but how can you be sure? So many vendors in the market are saying the exact same thing. Everyone’s raising their hand and saying, ‘I’ve got the solution that you need.’ Companies are confused,” said Steve Brazell of branding firm Hitman, who orchestrated the rebranding.
Brazell outlined the changes at a San Francisco event that Bridgepointe partners and suppliers attended. Co-founders Scott Evars and Brian Miller said it made sense to entrust their company’s rebrand to an outside party. Brazell introduced the company’s new slogans and branding in a presentation that channeled the 1999 film “The Matrix.”
Bridgepointe is trying to label itself as a company that can keep its clients informed with unbiased expertise on technologies and services. The mantra for this is “the trusted IT strategist.”
“We feel like ‘trusted adviser’ feels a little bit like a financial-services company,” Brazell said. “We’re shifting and moving more toward, ‘We are your trusted IT strategist.'”
Bridgepointe will emphasize its home in Silicon Valley to defend that claim. Brazell says customers already tend to infer that companies located in that region bring a reputation of technological expertise.
“In short, we’re able to tell our clients, ‘Look, we know what’s hot. We know what’s next, and we know what you should pay for it.’ We can give them that strategic advice,” Brazell said.
Here’s what the new brand looks like. The company wants partners to think of themselves as “Trusted IT Strategists.” pic.twitter.com/wiaPZbmS2C
— James Anderson (@JamesAndersonCP) February 8, 2018
Bridgepointe is launching a new thought-leadership initiative. Brazell says company leaders will be more present on advisory panels, and you’ll see the master agent featured in more news releases and online conversations going forward. Bridgepointe also is launching the Everest Club, which will reward sales achievement. All agents will start each year in the first of three tiers. High-performing companies will advance to receive cash bonuses, special education and prominence with Bridgepointe. They’ll also have the chance to win exclusive trips.
Quick hits from Bridgepointe’s rebrand thus far. The company wants to:
-Present to customers as brand-and-supplier-agnostic.
-Increase thought leadership with a greater presence on the internet andadvisory boards.
-Enhance partner incentives with Everest sales achievement club.
— James Anderson (@JamesAndersonCP) February 8, 2018
AT&T Channel Chief Zee Hussain spoke to partners to kick off the afternoon keynote. His company has worked with Bridgepointe since 2002 when the master agent was just beginning.
Hussain said that AT&T is a fundamentally different company from 15 years ago. Direct sales are …
… no longer the corporation’s go-to strategy.
“It’s probably not going to be a surprise to anybody in this room when I say that AT&T historically has always been a direct-first organization,” Hussain said. “Anytime we had gaps in the market from a coverage standpoint, we went ahead and staffed direct people. Anytime we were … trying to solve distribution challenges, we always went and staffed direct people. Anytime we launched an emerging product portfolio, we went ahead and staffed direct people.”
AT&T Business CEO Thaddeus Arroyo has been instrumental in reorienting the company’s go-to-market approach, which gives credence to Hussain’s declaration that AT&T is “doubling down on the channel.”
One of the changes most representative of the investment is ACC Business, the company’s alternative brand. Hussain told Channel Partners in December that ACC would increase its channel sales force by 50 percent. He reported Thursday that the program has officially finished filling those positions.
“You told me, ‘We love ACC. We love the leadership team. There’s a lot of trust in the marketplace. We can do more in this channel if you invest,'” Hussain told partners, regarding when he took over AT&T Partner Solutions in October of last year.
AT&T Partner Solutions also has unveiled multiple changes to its newer Partner Exchange program, but Hussain pointed to AT&T’s Alliance Channel making a particularly big pivot.
“Whereas I will characterize the other two programs and what we’re doing there as evolution, what we’re doing in Alliance is clearly a revolution,” he said.
The Kevin Leonard-led Alliance Channel ran a pilot in 2017 to survey how it could improve. According to Hussain, partners’ initial scores initially were negative, but increased by 60 points in six months. That’s a dramatic change. Information from the pilot helped the Alliance Channel roll out multiple enhancements, most notably adding the option for partners to earn residual commission income.
“We knew we were on to something,” Hussain said. “We quickly implemented all of those findings and launched the program with all of the enhancements.”
The “Your Signal in the Noise” event continues Friday with panels on UCaaS, hyperscale clouds and SD-WAN.
Read more about:Agents
Senior News Editor, Channel Futures
James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.
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