The FIS acquisition of SunGard positioned the financial services technology leader to expand its portfolio and deliver holistic solutions to new markets, including education and the public sector. For decades, FIS had grown steadily through acquisitions, but at $9.1 billion, the SunGard acquisition was three times larger than anything in company history.
FIS knew it was bound to shake up the entire financial industry, not least because the move meant shifting from a product-centric organization to one that’s solutions sales-focused. In moving toward a new business model, the company knew clients and employees would likely be wondering, Has FIS outgrown me?
In anticipation of these inevitable concerns, FIS spearheaded a plan to redefine its brand. The top priority was to inform clients, potential clients, and every single one of its tens of thousands of employees of the benefits of the acquisition. Communicating the benefits in a clear, humanized and meaningful way would be the key to opening new doors.
Setting the evolution in motion wasn’t about rebuilding the FIS brand from the ground up. Rather, it was about building on the existing brand foundation in a way that would connect thousands of employees and clients all over the world, inspired by a unifying idea: empowering the financial world.
The work entailed re-architecting the brand strategy to recognize the company’s shift away from product and towards solutions. This included everything from identifying solution bundles to enable FIS to execute on this shift, all the way down to defining a nomenclature strategy to help the company consistently name all of its solutions, products and functionalities. To ensure FIS employees would be able to deliver the new messaging, Monigle developed a series of sales enablement modules that allowed them to customize their story depending on whether they were talking to an executive audience or an industry-specific client.
Another key tool to delivering the new messaging was the development of a strategic messaging platform, which reinforced both the fact that FIS was now able to deliver end-to-end capabilities as well as its role as a client champion. In the platform we also elevated the tagline “Empowering the financial world,” referring to it as a strategic north star that speaks directly to both external and internal audiences. The resulting brand voice is one that conveys strength, support and foresight.
FIS drew on the notion of connectivity as a way to turn the brand platform into something concrete and operational. The external positioning became an expression and reflection of the internal audience. In turn, an empowered employee champions clients, and championed clients empower the financial world.
So FIS set out to connect this idea to its clients, including the small community banks that were most wary of the SunGard acquisition. It produced client-facing communications immediately before and after the acquisition was completed, championing the client and signaling we’re in this together.
Through its messaging, combined with the mediums—senior leaders embarked on a two-month-long client roadshow—FIS allayed potential client fears that the company had grown too big to cater to their needs. Instead, clients can see and feel the ways FIS makes it possible for them to move the financial world forward—no matter how big or small their steps may be.
“At FIS, we are driving innovative solutions and delivering high-quality client experiences that move our clients’ business forward each and every day.”Gary NorcrossPresident and CEO, FIS
Come launch, every piece of material had to work together to create this same reassuring, deeply human and empowering feeling in anyone who became aware of the acquisition and experienced the new FIS. With only three months until the acquisition was finalized, this meant creating targeted awareness programs across hundreds of offices and thousands of clients around the world in a short amount of time. The launch and activation plans armed every FIS office with the templates and tools they needed to kick-start and propel the brand in a way that was consistent and creative, and felt authentic not only to each individual location but to each individual employee.
Internally, the message “You empower” turned the tagline inward and elevated each individual on the FIS team, reminding them that no matter what’s on their to-do list, everything they do plays a critical role in moving the financial world forward. The empowerment wall constructed at announcement locations highlighted key employee statistics and provided every employee an opportunity to associate themselves with the new brand. Building culture and engaging employees post-acquisition is never easy, and the internal campaign broke ground on bridging the gap.
Externally, FIS made waves on announcement day through ads on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times; it created a ripple effect through continued advertising on on WSJ.com and Bloomberg, New York subway ads, and banners outside the Museum of American Finance. The external campaign, developed in conjunction with FIS’ advertising partner, held relevance beyond announcement day. It related to the broader brand strategy by conveying the company’s ability to connect on a global level—not just geographically, but also in terms of service offerings, industries, client size and breadth of workforce.
The campaign and ideologies behind it continue to inform how FIS tells its story today. As a result, employees and clients can feel assured that, even as the company continues to grow, FIS is dedicated to empowering them.
The amount of money FIS moves each year exceeds the economies of Japan and Germany combined.
FIS employees work in 210 locations around the globe, from Bucharest to Bangalore, Seoul to São Paulo.
The cash flow from FIS operating activities totals $1.9 billion.
FIS serves customers in 130 countries.