Global Mountain Solutions (GMS) is a leader in mountain safety services. Founded in 2008 by Ben Firth and Sean Easton, the company serves clients around the world that operate in challenging and difficult to reach locations. The company specializes in mountain safety, difficult terrain rescue, and terrain management, including avalanche mitigation.
GMS’ expertise is essential when industry ventures into hazardous and potentially costly terrain, such as mountains, rock faces, deserts, glaciers, penstocks, towers and dam faces. From its offices in North America, GMS has executed projects for multinational companies around the world, including Western Canada, The United States, China, Newfoundland, Oman, North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Kyrgyzstan. Its highly trained and certified workforce operate confidently in the world’s most rugged locations and help protect clients’ personnel and commercial interests from a variety of environmental hazards and risks.
GMS was already excelling when they won the RPM contest, but the company felt that, even though there was broad awareness of the company in the industries it serves, there was a lack of knowledge around its specific services and the value they offer. GMS wanted its target audiences to understand the many benefits of partnering with GMS for projects that are executed in challenging environments.
At William Joseph, we begin each relationship or major project with a moderated questionnaire to guide discussion. Marketing cannot just create pretty pictures, it must achieve ambitious business objectives, so we took the time to really understand GMS’ business and its current challenges. To offer an effective solution, we had to really understand GMS’ business model, sales process, culture, and future plans and goals, as that is the only way to ensure that our marketing solutions would produce results.
We discovered that GMS’ goals for the project were to increase leads, improve lead-to-sale conversions, and develop a complete-self-sufficient marketing plan that gets results. The plan needed to complement their sales team, because as with most B2B companies, direct sales are always key.
We were impressed with GMS’ consistently impressive growth and strong foundation, but saw an opportunity to help GMS better express the value of its services and better identify and reach its niche target audience of industry decision makers in the petroleum, mining, and hydroelectric industries. GMS agreed. We ultimately determined that the best use of its RPM winnings would be a complete Strategic Marketing and Communications Plan, which would provide an in depth understanding of their industry, a written and visual brand, along with recommendations for how to get their brand into market with the ultimate goal of increasing leads and sales.
Marketing Solution Presentation
When we presented the plan to GMS in early 2016, we walked into the boardroom excited by the direction we were taking them and hopeful they would share our excitement. We were confident because our team had followed WJ’s four phased approach to developing a Strategic Marketing Communications Strategy (Insights, Branding, Tactics, and Implementation). During this multi-week process, we analyzed all facets of GMS’ business, including industry trends, major competitors, target audiences, and GMS’ current marketing activities. That initial research formed foundation of the plan and ensured that the final recommendations would accomplish GMS’ objectives.
The brand we ultimately presented was not a complete departure, but a refinement. WJ took existing elements, such as colours and imagery, and crafted a brand that did not make GMS seem risky or adventurous. We wanted to present GMS as a sure solution. Though some may have been tempted to present GMS as adventurers because they are mountaineers, we knew that was the wrong approach. The branding and associated messaging we crafted adequately balanced marketing the risk and the danger of not going with GMS without making the brand seem dangerous.
The tactics we presented were more of a departure, but were designed to complement the companies existing marketing activities. WJ found that that there is a need for GMS’ services in several industries, but that reaching them all would challenging on a reasonable budget because GMS needs to reach key decision makers in multiple industries, each with unique needs. Our strategy focused on reaching those audiences, drawing them to GMS’ website, figuring out which of them is interested in GMS’ services, and maintaining engagement with those individuals even if they do not identify an immediate need. To accomplish this, we would use a variety of digital marketing tactics.
After the meeting, GMS was thrilled by the direction we’d taken the company’s marketing. They said,
“I wanted to thank you for this, for awarding this to us. It’s been great working with your team, you provide a great product!”