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The Three Pillars of Marketing at Sykes, a Global Brand

There are great marketing lessons to learn from a global brand like Sykes! Listen to hear how they market internally, in the marketplace, and for recruiting

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The Unique DNA Of This Global Brand

Sykes is a leading provider of customer engagement services with a rich, 40-year history serving global and emerging brands. One demonstration of how Sykes is uniquely different than many long-lived brands is the story of how Ian Barkin came to be part of the company. Ian was previously co-founder and CSO of Symphony Ventures, a professional services firm focused on designing, delivering, and managing modern business processes. The company was so successful that it got the attention of Sykes’ leadership and was acquired by the company. When that happened, Ian was offered a spot in the C-suite as Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer and he says now that he couldn’t be more delighted with this role.

Ian says the exposure he had to the culture at Sykes while acquisition talks were underway impressed him very much. Particularly, he appreciated that Sykes leadership often referred to team members as “family,” a practice he and his co-founders at Symphony Ventures had intentionally used as they developed their 200-person team. When he was offered a role on the Sykes executive team after the acquisition was complete, Ian felt it was a great opportunity and an amazing fit from a cultural perspective.

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Pillar 1: Internal Marketing That Fuels The Global Brand

When we speak of “internal marketing” we’re talking about the communication of the company values and mission to those already employed with the company. Ian doesn’t feel the Sykes approach of using the #OneSykes messaging was necessarily novel, but the way they implemented it was quite unique. The strategy, as he says is “to teach us about ourselves, to get us all aligned.” This means enabling everyone on the team to know about the rich set of services the company offers, to cultivate a very real sense of unity among team members, and to encourage a sense of integration and collaboration between services. In the end, Ian wants everyone within the Sykes employee family to feel a sense of pride about being a part of the team and about delivering amazing solutions to their customers.

To market these values and distinctives internally, Ian has been traveling to company offices around the globe, meeting with managers and teams and amplifying the “We Are One Sykes” message. He’s had rich experiences as he’s connected with teams around the globe and witnessed their enthusiasm and determination regarding the company’s approach to serving its customers.

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Pillar 2: Branding In The Marketplace For Education And Reputation Building

The interesting part of what the Sykes team is doing in this regard centers around the company’s traditional set of services — which primarily provided call center services. Many in the industries they serve view them as “the call center people,” which is now only a subset of Sykes’ overall portfolio of solutions offered to the global marketplace.

With a desire to expand awareness among customers and prospective customers about the company’s robust solution portfolio, the Sykes team devised a somewhat tongue-in-cheek campaign they refer to as #NotJustAllTalk — a play on words that communicates how the company offers much more than call center support services while at the same time proving that they deliver on what they promise. This marketing approach is contributing to an expansion of opportunity within their customer base and elevation of the brand’s reputation in the marketplace.

One such example of creative communication is the Sykes OneTAKE video podcast, hosted by Ian. The purpose of this show is to feature a business leader on each episode on a topic that spans leadership, innovation, sustainability, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, customer service and more. Bernie was recently featured on OneTAKE where he spoke with Ian about the evolving role of modern selling to engage effectively with the modern buyer.

In fact, this podcast episode was recorded on-site at the Sykes OneTAKE studio. The video recording is available here:

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Pillar 3: Branding for Talent Recruiting

As a global brand, Sykes is always recruiting new members for its team. Ian says that part of his role is to deliver marketing messaging that fuels the perpetual recruitment engine. Ian says that Sykes is “an HR machine.” A huge challenge associated with this is that Sykes is recruiting for positions around the globe. The potential for cultural and social differences in different regions can impact the strategy when communicating recruitment messages.

For example, Sykes could be developing messages to recruit for a position and that same exact role may be carried out in various places around the globe. That means how the message is said and knowledge of which social media channels are prevalent in each geographic region are vital to recruiting effectiveness. Ian says that he works closely with local HR and recruitment teams to ensure that the approach is on target. The team members on the ground in the area where recruitment is done have the best perspective from which to approach the communication.

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By Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges is Co-founder and former Chief Customer Officer of Vengreso, the leader in virtual selling skills training and technology for today's modern sales rep. He was also the host of the award-winning Modern Marketing Engine podcast. His book Marketing 2.0, was an early playbook in social media strategy. Bernie is also a speaker and voice over talent. He has a passion for aligning marketing, sales, and customer success for great customer outcomes and sustained revenue results. Bernie is a fitness buff and enjoys kayaking with his family in Tampa Bay.

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