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Global Alignment Across Juniper Networks’ Communication Channels
Juniper Networks was on the march from $2 billion to $3 billion in revenues, with new offices springing up almost daily around the globe. Widely acknowledged as a serious competitive threat to Cisco (though roughly one-tenth of Cisco’s size), Juniper wanted to ensure that all of its communications were on target around the world, taking into account geographic differences and sensitivities, yet not recreating the wheel.
Juniper turned to Sterling to architect and drive a process that would open up the lines of communications around the world across the key functional areas of public relations, analyst relations, investor relations, and employee communications.
Sterling facilitated the summit sessions, getting at the heart of what was working, and (more importantly) what wasn’t.
Despite being a multi-billion dollar company, Juniper continued to operate like a Silicon Valley start-up. Smart people with initiative tried new things, begged for forgiveness instead of asking permission, and lamented the fact that others in the company simply didn’t “get” their situation. (This was especially true for APAC, EMEA and CALA communications team members.)
Moreover, because Juniper had grown both by acquisition (NetScreen, Unisphere, Peribit, Redline, etc.) as well as organically, communication styles across the different corporate cultures varied widely and there remained a residual “us/them” mentality that needed to be overcome.
Sterling invited functional leaders in each major geography to participate in a global communications summit at corporate headquarters. The stated purpose of the gathering was to openly discuss — as a single team — ways to increase Juniper’s brand equity by enhancing corporate alignment.
Sterling facilitated the summit sessions, getting at the heart of what was working, and (more importantly) what wasn’t. Once key issues were identified and prioritized by the larger team, smaller cross-region, cross-functional working groups tackled individual issues. Working group members were asked to present their recommendations to the full group for further discussion and refinement.
Sterling also led a “Success Metrics” session to collectively determine what success looked like, both near term and longer term. (This step is vital to ensure that everyone is on the same page relative to goals and objectives.)
At the end of the Summit, Sterling asked for volunteers to create Juniper’s first-ever integrated communications plan and global calendar. A team was also fielded to populate and maintain a corporate-wide repository of relevant communications content.
Once the integrated communications plan was in good shape, the team presented it to the C-suite to get their buy-in and support.
As a result of the enhanced teamwork that resulted from the Communications Summit, Juniper’s communications efforts made significant strides across the Success Metrics. Here are some key metrics:
- Employee satisfaction survey results showed healthy year-over-year increases in eight of the nine categories measured.
- Involuntary employee turnover dropped 5.6% in the following 12-month period.
- Positive financial media coverage increased a minimum of 23% across APAC, EMEA and CALA. This was largely because PR and IR worked with legal counsel to break out certain country-specific revenue figures during quarterly results calls.
- Executive Briefing Center presentation effectiveness showed marked improvement. Specifically, Juniper received higher marks from visitors (4.4 vs. 3.9 on a 5-point scale) in aggregate, in large part because all presenters could readily access the central repository for current messaging and slide decks, and because cross-functional teams identified and trained presenters who would benefit from presentation coaching.
- Global marketing campaigns ROI increased due to better global planning and cross-functional collaboration, enhanced message consistency, optimized launch timing, proper sequencing of communications to employees, channel partners, customers, strategic partners, investors, analysts and the media. Additionally, Juniper conducted (with Sterling’s help) scheduled campaign assessments that included multi-disciplinary team members.