SAP: Branding in the Digital Age
By 2017, digital, social, and mobile technologies were rapidly changing the way many of SAP's traditional customers did business over the last decade. In response to this trend, SAP had acquired companies with capabilities in e-commerce, human capital, workforce management, travel and expense management, and other areas. No longer able to rely on a single contact point through customers' IT departments, SAP's salesforce now had to target a variety of buyers including line-of-business managers and end users, who had a growing role in software purchase decisions. The case focuses on the changing role of SAP's marketing function including its ability to (a) revamp SAP's brand for the digital age to materially help sales reps when they approached buyers in the short and long term, (b) help SAP earn mindshare of prospects and customers by articulating unique points of view that informed and educated buyers who were increasingly moving online for research, insights, and thought leadership at a time when brand messages were increasingly being defined by advocacy groups and influencer communities, and (c) realistically demonstrate that recasting SAP's branding as a leading-edge technology company would pay off.