RECASTING A PERCEIVED FOLLOWER AS A PIONEERING TECHNOLOGY LEADER
© 2020 by Fluence Inc.
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ABB sought to establish a new sub-brand to package the company’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform and offerings to compete head-to-head with GE Predix, Siemens MindSphere, Hitachi Lumada, and Schneider EcoStruxure. Unfortunately, although ABB had been adding software and connectivity to its devices and systems for more than 40 years and had amassed the most extensive installed base in the world, it was the last of the major industrial companies to go to market with a packaged and branded IIoT portfolio. ABB looked like a follower. Our goal was to launch ABB’s IIoT capability and offerings in a way that would create “buzz” and shift perceptions of ABB to that of a leader with the experience and track record to reliably make the IIoT work for customer’s businesses.
We repositioned ABB around the idea of “where wow meets how”: While others hype the dazzling promise of “Industry 4.0,” “the industrial internet,” and “the internet of things,” we are the company that has developed the know-how by applying digital technologies to industrial devices and power infrastructure for decades to produce transformative business outcomes with our customers. We then named ABB’s IIOT platform and offerings ABB Ability and defined its value proposition: ABB Ability combines deep domain expertise with unmatched connectivity experience to enable customers to know more, do more, do better, together.
ABB Ability was initially launched at ABB Customer World (ACW) events in Houston, Texas, and Hangzhou, China, in March and June 2017. The Houston event was attended by more than 10,000 customers, employees, media representatives, and another 5,000+ attendees in Hangzhou.
Given the digital nature of the IIoT, we recommended that ABB Ability communications needed to be primarily digital, including innovative kiosks that used sensors—similar to ABB’s IIoT-enabled industrial machinery—to read hand movements, which allows “touch-less” user interaction. We also created a dedicated section on ABB.com, a video for both the site and Youtube, and a primer, “Communicating ABB Ability,” a training tool for communicators that was also featured as an educational module on the employee intranet. We also created a one-page “cheat sheet” and FAQs for ABB sales people and worked with the CEO and CTO on their keynote presentations.