Micralyne is an internationally recognized, award winning, Edmonton-based Micro-Electrical-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) foundry. As pioneers of the 21st century, Micralyne helps make our world a smaller place by developing and manufacturing some of the smallest mechanical structures in existence for the communications, life sciences, energy, and transportation sectors.
Some of its clientele include Kodak, General Electric, Hyundai among other innovative Fortune 100 companies and high-tech start-ups.
This case story focuses on the reputation-building work that Urban Jungle developed for an organization with an international market, a diverse audience, and a complex relationship of internal and external stakeholders.
Micralyne had seen significant increases in company size and revenue since its inception as a University of Alberta owned not-for-profit entity in the 1980’s. In the early 2000’s its reputation was extremely strong, but through growing pains, “corporate arrogance,” being saddled with a declining revenue stream, staff cutbacks, and a world-wide economic crisis, its reputation was suffering.
Micralyne and its stakeholders wanted to regain the reputation they once enjoyed and reposition the company in order to save the business it currently held. Micralyne required a more effective way to market its capabilities and services, and required assistance in developing its brand, strategy, culture, and overall business development. After discussing the possibilities with Urban Jungle, Micralyne realized that Urban Jungle could offer the complete marketing package—from leading qualitative and quantitative research through in-depth interviews and questionnaires to brand development, business development, marketing planning, and consultation to full internal and external campaign execution.
- Create consistent brand platform & core messaging strategies
- Align sales & marketing communications processes to drive sales
- Introduce metrics to track marketing communications’s effectiveness
- Strengthen brand awareness in Asian & Western European markets
- Improve relationships with customers & key industry associations
- Build perception as market-leader & innovator in key markets
Primary Marketing Challenges
Despite having 200+ brilliant staff members armed with good intentions, Micralyne was unable to dedicate sufficient time, energy, and in-house expertise to execute planned marketing activities.
Its board of directors, comprised of various Alberta-based technology stakeholders—including representatives from government, public and private sectors, had difficulty establishing a vision and direction among the executive management, which made it difficult to make important decisions. This had a ripple effect felt throughout the company as silos of communication developed not only between departments but within departments as well. Branding was fragmented and inconsistent across the company’s various departments.
Internally, things were challenging. Morale was quite low having eliminated nearly 1/3 of its staff, implemented extensive pay cuts, and longer hours with little recognition. Meetings lacked structure, action and accountability. Marketing materials were produced by different departments and creative companies and as a result did not communicate a common theme or message. Corporate culture was dismal.
Externally, revenue targets weren’t being achieved in the midst of a global recession and its international presence was limited. Customers were unhappy with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 63%. There was an increase in competition for MEMS fabrication services, which meant increased difficulty to stand out, decreased margins, and decreased price-value relationship.
The perfect storm was brewing and the company was in a precarious position.
After partnering with Urban Jungle in 2009, our work began with an exhaustive examination of the situation. Urban Jungle identified five key areas, which would be the foundation of our strategy: brand development, internal adoption, customer experience, web dominance, and relationship development.
Micralyne was doing some amazing things but nobody was noticing. In 2010 Micralyne assisted NASA in finding water on the moon and developed an implantable glucose sensor for diabetics. MEMS foundry and semiconductor marketing is notorious for being boring, so our solution was to launch a campaign aimed at key stakeholders, consisting of elegant and refined creative executions that broke out of the dull, ordinary advertising efforts that dominate this industry. Our goal was to make MEMS sexy and in March of 2010 “Pioneers in making the world a smaller place.” was born.
Communication Tools and Tactics
Micralyne’s brand platform development included elements such as Vision, Mission, Values, Key Messaging, Positioning, Elevator Pitch, Colour Scheme, Typeface, Visual Identity, Graphic Standards Package, and Advertisements.
To facilitate information sharing and transparency, all marketing communications documents were categorized in a shared directory. These documents included: Collateral Material, External and Internal E-newsletters, Case Stories, Website, PowerPoint Presentations, Trade Show Booths, Award Programs, Photo Bank, Events, Media Relations Strategy, Processes and Procedures, News Releases, Advisories, Announcements, Social Media, Internal Communications Strategy, Dialogues and Meetings, and Intranet Wikis.
Urban Jungle’s work resulted in clear, consistent, and engaging communications, numerous awards and recognition, stabilized revenue, and increased web traffic and leads.
The balanced marketing approach targeted communication to key markets in a more direct and personal manner. Customer, partner, industry, and media relationships improved, sales and marketing processes improved, metrics to track marketing communication effectiveness improved, and Micralyne increased its customer satisfaction rating from 63% up to 91%.
In addition, Micralyne enjoyed a capital injection by the Federal Government and received a highly publicized on-site visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In 2010 Urban Jungle helped Micralyne expand its market within Western Europe and Asia and elevate its appeal to international high-end device developers. We boldly put Micralyne in a class of its own, defining the company by a reputation for quality, longevity, and dignified edge.
Unfortunately this case study does not end on a happy note. After a turn-over of 3 CEOs in two years, developing the brand was next to impossible as the company failed to create and implement a vision and mission. In March 2012, two years after our contract was terminated along with the entire executive staff, Micralyne filed for creditor protection.
The case study of Micralyne proves that despite having a balanced marketing approach and pretty design system, without a solid brand platform and a strong leader to drive the company to achieve its mission and vision, everything else is fluff.