Kelly Gratz helps g2o celebrate its wins and find a cohesive voice

 

When Kelly Gratz walked into g2o — still called Information Control Co. at the time — nearly two years ago, she had a lot to learn.

“I was at a prior organization for 20 years, so I knew where all the goods were,” she says. “What was going to fly, what wasn’t going to fly, how to engage the organization, how to engage my leadership, all that. You know the ropes.”

At her previous job, Gratz rose through the ranks, taking on various roles, through mergers and name changes. Blue Diesel, a digital marketing arm of inChord Communications, became inVentiv Health and later Syneos Health.

When Blane Walter, who had hired her at Blue Diesel in 2000 but later evolved out of the organization, called about ICC, she was intrigued. He had invested in ICC and wanted her help determining the next iteration of the IT staffing company, which employs more than 500 people. It also was a chance to return to her roots in technology and cut down on her travel, since Columbus is home.

In a new organization, there’s a learning curve, Gratz says, because you don’t know everybody’s personalities or where the sacred cows are.

She spent the first 12 months listening and learning. As president, she tried to engage people in different thinking without forcing it upon them. Over time, she grew to have a stronger voice and transitioned into the CEO role when former CEO and co-founder Steven Glaser retired to become board vice chairman.

She also helped lead an 18-month branding effort, which resulted in the name change to g2o. The new brand is all about partnering with clients and driving the right business outcome, both internally and externally, emphasizing value and acting as an essential technology and digital experience partner to clients. g2o focuses on clients’ goals to outcomes or driving greater outcomes.

“It’s been very busy the last two years,” Gratz says. “We rebranded and started this transition from what originally started as a staffing organization into a business consulting organization.”

The next iteration

The company used to have two brands. Along with ICC, it had a subbrand, Clutch, that focused on the user experience. Now, under a single brand, g2o, which launched in August 2019, there are three integrated business lines — experience, technology and data.

“When we started the exercise, it wasn’t about the name change,” Gratz says. “It was really about, who are we, as an organization, and what do we actually stand for and how do our customers think about us?”

When Gratz was still fairly new to the organization, 40 people spent two days trying to determine that. As an outsider, she found it fascinating that the hard stuff — delivering and managing technology solutions on time and on budget — was taken for granted internally. That level of commitment was part of the fabric of the organization.

The two-day exercise led to a brand commitment, collaboration to greatness and a suggestion from the branding person that ICC didn’t necessarily fit that. However, the name change and brand commitment were only part of the rebranding. The organization needed to be able to live it internally.

“We worked over the course of six to nine months on defining our unified process, meaning if I’m a client and I’m working with your experience group and your technology group, will they be speaking the same language?” Gratz says. “Will they be working off the same systems? Will they be managing the project the same way? I won’t have two organizations that I’m working with, just one.”