Positioning Russell Reynolds’ CEO Succession service to attract the leaders of tomorrow.

When an executive search and leadership advisory firm asked us to help them transcend their executive search roots.

The client

Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) is so much more than an executive recruitment business. Over 50 years, the company has been lazer-focused on the goal of improving the way the world is led. That means being discerning about the way society is evolving and playing a crucial role in influencing how fast that evolution happens.

The crux

You don’t find a new CEO in a day. Which is why RRA’s CEO Succession planning service is such an exciting part of the company’s offering. The trouble was, they didn’t have the powerful story they needed to bring that service into the spotlight – and distinguish it from competitors in the market. So they came to us with a very Velocity-shaped brief: reposition the CEO Succession service and create a compelling campaign around it that would target some of the world’s most inaccessible market groups – and grow RRA’s brand awareness amongst them.

A new positioning

All good things start with a positioning (right?) and this campaign was no different. So the Velociraptors started by working out how to showcase RRA’s CEO Succession offering to their clients in a way that would both evangelize the concept and invite the right people into the conversation.

Now, often the best positionings are two things: simple and memorable. So it’s about using things that people already know or understand instantly (that’s the simple) and connecting them in a way that’s new (yup, that’s the memorable).

In this case, we pulled the challenge and the opportunity to the forefront: CEO Succession is the Mount Everest of leadership planning. It’s hard work. It’s complex. But the rewards are immense – and also incredibly impactful – when done right.

A campaign that evolved the brand identity

RRA didn’t just want any old campaign. They wanted something that would evolve their brand identity at the same time. The tricky part was finding the right line between helping RRA stand out from the crowd, while also still appealing and speaking to the right board-level audience.

Humanizing the brand was a key part of this. We wanted to expose the real human stories and people behind the brand, revealing the beating heart beneath the business processes – and both design and copy had to be speaking to that theme in perfect harmony.

  • A fresh take on their brand look
    On the design end, we explored a range of concepts — playing with light and shapes, along with engaging, people-focused photography. It was a tough brief, restricted to the existing brand template, but we found a way to add a bit of pizazz.
  • Evocative, made-ya-think content
    With input from RRA’s experienced leadership consultants, we devised a range of content to support the awareness campaign.
  • A sleek hubpage
    We needed a ‘base of operations’ for the campaign: somewhere we could send people to, and where we could evangelize our vision and compile our content.
  • Executive articles & ebooks
    We created a range of poignant, exploratory blog articles and eBooks to humanize and build on the concept of CEO succession and the new model of leadership.
  • Internal launch materials
    To help get everyone on board (pun very much intended), we created an internal roll-out plan for the client, including a written guide and a ‘talking heads’ video.
  • Hard-hitting performance marketing
    Content by itself was not enough, though – we needed to get it in front of the right people. So, we set up and ran a targeted advertising campaign over LinkedIn, search and email.
  • An always-on awareness campaign
    The campaign was designed to increase awareness of Russell Reynolds, specifically regarding the CEO succession offering.
  • Conversion and lead gen
    Following the knee-knocking success of the awareness campaign, we followed up with a dedicated lead generation campaign to bring more prospects into our client’s funnel.
  • An ambitious ABM campaign
    We devised a clever ABM outreach campaign, designed to target the most difficult-to-corner, time-poor audience on the planet.

2 30,000

dollar deal delivered by the campaign

8 %

higher CTR than forecasted (and 4% more impressions) for the programmatic ads campaign

2 ,912

conversions from the paid search campaign