RedHat takes a consumer-inspired approach to B2B marketing

Open-source Linux-based software isn't the most accessible concept, so OneMethod took a different path to make it understandable for clients.

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When OneMethod won a new assignment as North American agency of record for Red Hat in 2020, it did so promising a fresh look for the company’s products.

Red Hat, which was acquired by IBM in 2019 for $34 billion, develops open-source software based in Linux for businesses. OneMethod, the only Canadian shop invited to a competitive global pitch process for the role, took a unique approach to the B2B vendor, producing messaging for its products that borrowed more from a B2C playbook.

“Our insight was that people who are buying in the B2B space are still consumers, so why not treat them like consumers?” explains Amin Todai, president and CCO at OneMethod. “We took that lens and freshened up what we saw as a stale industry from a work standpoint.”

The goal was to speak in plain language to the people making the decisions for Red Hat’s clients, many of which are Fortune 500 companies, and help its products stand out in a clearer way against the competition, which was still adhering to more traditional messaging.

For Red Hat, that meant adjusting its marketing tone and applying a new design lens “to feel a little bit more engaging and eye-grabbing,” Todai says.

As part of that new design lens, OneMethod took an editorial approach to the presentation of Red Hat e-books, he notes, presenting them more like a magazine than a traditional word document. In addition, OneMethod worked on “friendlier” social media posts and “taking complicated concepts and boiling them down to a key nugget or writing some nice messaging that sells a complicated product in a very human way.”

Red Hat_Digital Transformation e-book_digital kit_LinkedIn_In Situ“The tech guys who work at Red Hat are very ingrained in their own world and products and like with any big client, they start talking in their own jargon,” adds Todai. “Not everyone knows what their products do. We, being new to their business, raised those questions and could help explain their products to their end customers.”

The goal was not only to create a more approachable sales pitch for Red Hat, but also to provide more consistency for its messaging across the board, he says.

“When you’re acquired by a company like IBM, that company is expecting you to be a growth engine for them,” says Todai. “They had some big aspirations and wanted their brand to be set up for that going forward.”

So far, Red Hat appears to be liking the work it has been seeing from OneMethod, which Todai attributes to the agency’s “startup approach,” as well as positive responses from Red Hat’s clientele. As a result, the scope of the agency’s assignment has been widening.

“We’re working primarily as their AOR for North America, but a lot of our work goes global,” says Todai. “It’s being used as the benchmark for other markets.”