Unknown Contender Wins the Big One

Company: Large IT Company


The IT company was invited by a third-party advisor to bid on a $1 billion contract for its client, an entertainment services company. The entertainment company had no brand recognition of the IT company. The advisor insinuated that the IT company, the smallest among its competitor peers bidding, had likely only been invited to create a competitive price.  Once the bids were submitted and entertainment services’ employees found out they would transition to the IT company, they created an internal campaign against the IT company in an attempt to “kill the deal.”


The IT company had to decide whether to choose to bid what was going to be its most expensive pursuit to date. With no brand awareness and positioned as only a stalking horse, the IT company decided this was an opportunity to create a strong competitive position, should it win.

The sales/marketing leadership created a strong value proposition, developed creative concepts to tie the value of the two company’s mission statements, designed unique fonts just for this opportunity, created and illustrated a story with custom graphics and thematic elements predicated on the entertainment company’s founder and values, and produced an “executive summary of the executive summary” that spelled out the IT company’s differentiators.

To address the PR issue that arose among the entertainment company’s employees, the IT company crafted messaging to address concerns, including a training institute for transitioning employees’ career development, produced testimonials from previously transitioned employees regarding their career opportunities since their transition, scripted and recorded a welcome video of the CEO with a message to the potential client’s employees, and developed and deployed a PR campaign for onboarding employees.


The IT company overcame their unknown brand issue from all the creativity and thought processes that went into the value proposition. All of the creative elements that were developed intrigued the entertainment services company, forcing them to take a closer look at this “stalking horse.” With the differentiator piece, the client got a closer view into the IT company’s unique proposition and benefits to engaging with this smaller competitor. Ultimately, all branding issues were overcome, including the PR issue with the transitioning employees, and the contract was split between two vendors, with the unknown IT company being awarded $610 million in total contract value of the $1 billion, which ultimately put them on the map.