MarTech Interview with Rachel Klein, VP, Global Brand and Marketing at TransUnion

We explore Rachel Klein's leadership journey, her insights on the evolving landscape of global brand and marketing, and her outlook on the industry's future!

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, establishing and maintaining a strong brand is crucial for any organization. Companies strive to differentiate themselves, build trust among consumers, and effectively communicate their value proposition. As the Vice President of Global Brand and Marketing at TransUnion, Rachel Klein has been instrumental in navigating these challenges and ensuring that TransUnion’s brand stands out in the highly competitive industry.

In this written interview, we delve into Rachel Klein’s journey as the Vice President of Global Brand and Marketing at TransUnion. We explore her insights on the importance of brand management, her strategies for effectively communicating TransUnion’s value proposition, and her vision for the future of the company’s brand.
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Rachel, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the marketing field?
I’ve been in marketing my whole career. I studied marketing communications and advertising as an undergrad and immediately began a dual internship before graduation: I served as a part-time account service intern with a Chicago-based advertising agency, while simultaneously interning with a large company in their corporate marketing department.

My career followed a similarly split trajectory: I spent a handful of years in the corporate world at the beginning of my career, and then a few decades on the agency side, even owning my own brand consultancy for 12 years, before joining full-time as head of brand strategy and marketing with TransUnion.

Having spent time on both sides of the marketing desk (as both agency and client), I’ve learned a lot and gleaned insights that wouldn’t have been possible had I stayed on one side or the other. Understanding what’s really necessary to implement a strong campaign or program in a large corporation (regardless of how great the idea or strategy is) helped me better enable my clients with ideas that work and plans that can be implemented easily. Similarly, understanding how to best equip an agency to do great work by doing the proper research and asking the right questions ahead of time made me a better client who can get far more value from my agency partners.

Can you explain TransUnion’s brand strategy and how it has evolved over time?
In addition to developing a new logo, look, and feel in 2014, (the year before going public) we launched TransUnion’s brand purpose of Information for Good. This statement helped encapsulate the mission of the company and served as a great way to re-energize our employees as brand ambassadors by reminding them of the important work they do every day. We were on the leading edge of what eventually became a trend for for-profit companies – developing a purpose-driven brand strategy.

We didn’t follow this strategy because it was set to become a trend. We chose this approach because we understood that TransUnion played a significant role in the economy, and its employees and leaders were truly proud of their ability to “help people around the world access the opportunities that lead to a higher quality of life” by helping businesses make better decisions and helping consumers monitor, access and manage their credit. In addition, our buyers were becoming far more interested in ensuring our values aligned with their own.

In 2018, we took the brand a step further and articulated a strong promise statement so that we could be clear about what we do (in addition to why we do it). This year, we rebranded all of our business products and organized each of them into one of seven global solution lines to make it easy to understand how our products helped deliver on our promise, while also making it easier for buyers to find what they need.

To summarize all of that work:

TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in global commerce by ensuring each person is reliably represented in the marketplace.

We do this with a Tru™ picture of each person: an actionable and robust view of each consumer, which we steward with care.

Our Tru portfolio of business solutions leverages this picture to help organizations act with confidence and earn consumer trust.

  • TruAudience for marketing
  • TruValidate for fraud prevention
  • TruVision™ for risk management
  • TruIQ™ for advanced analytics
  • TruEmpower™ for consumer engagement
  • TruLookup™ for investigations
  • TruContact™ for communications

As a result, consumers and organizations in over 30 countries can transact with confidence and achieve great things, like economic opportunity, great experiences, and personal empowerment for millions of people around the world. We call this Information for Good.

Can you discuss any major challenges or obstacles you have faced in your role and how you overcame them?
The brand strategy I outlined above was well received and people were excited about it, but the trick was in implementation (including the practical renaming of thousands of products) in internal billing, operational and reporting systems, a new website, thousands of sales enablement materials…the list goes on.

As I mentioned above, I spent a few decades on the agency and brand consultancy side, where my focus was on big strategic ideas and campaigns. While I knew how hard it was to implement these big ideas, it had been a while since I was elbows deep in a brand conversion. And while I knew that this big, bold brand approach could change the way we go to market, the biggest obstacles were in implementation – working in a complex matrixed environment where each function has multiple priorities clamoring for their attention. To implement our brand strategy in all of the systems and assets mentioned, I needed all of these functions on board, committed, and working toward implementation. It wasn’t enough to inspire them – they needed to figure out how to give it the time required to implement in the face of other priorities and minimal capacity.

To overcome this, we turned up an experienced Project Management Office (PMO) that came alongside each function and taught them how to build intentional workstream sub-teams and implementation plans. The PMO kept those workstream leads and teams on track and accountable with strong governance processes and touchpoints that kept everyone rowing in the same direction.

How does TransUnion approach international marketing and its global brand expansion?
Our end goal is that all regions are showing up with the same go-to-market brand strategy everywhere around the world. We are working with each international region to develop and implement plans for achieving this goal.

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Rachel Klein, Vice President, Global Brand and Marketing at TransUnion

Rachel Klein is Vice President, Global Brand, and Marketing at TransUnion, where she built the company’s brand strategy foundation and established the first brand governance and enterprise marketing team. Throughout her career as a marketing leader, agency owner, and brand strategist Rachel has specialized in helping complex B2B tech and information companies tell their stories, amplify and protect their brands and move stakeholders to action. She is experienced working with C-level executives to drive initiatives and build alignment and loves helping rising talent hone their skills and fuel their passion. LinkedIn.
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