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21(116) 2015
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Articles

How to build brand visibility in new R&D locations – case study: REC Global

by dr Natalia Szozda, marketing manager, Katarzyna Filipowska, marketing specialist and Krzysztof Kufel, HR specialist at REC Global
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REC Global was established in 2007 in Poland. Today, this Polish champion in IT operates on two continents, has eight R&D centres and 12 sales and support offices worldwide.

REC Global is a software engineering company providing R&D services to clients across the globe. Within eight years from its opening, REC Global has grown from four to more than 450 employees. The company’s first premises were in Wrocław, today the city is REC Global’s headquarters, as well as the company’s largest R&D centre. The choice of location was well-judged – Wrocław was and still is a leader in educating the best specialists in the field of software engineering. The University of Technology in Wrocław (Politechnika Wrocławska), together with the University of Wrocław (Uniwersytet Wrocławski), train promising IT specialists at the world-class level. This  has allowed REC Global to gain qualified and well-educated employees, keen to work for world’s biggest brands – manufacturers of luxury cars, phones and household appliances.  REC Global, having already succeeded on the Western sales market with the quality of its services, noticed the potential of other cities in the EU and decided to implement a multisite delivery strategy, ie building a number of specialised development centres near top technical universities in Europe.

In 2008 REC Global established an R&D centre in Koszalin, as well as setting up three foreign companies – in Germany, the UK and Slovakia. In 2009, REC Global opened another two R&D centres outside Poland – in Slovakia (Žilina) and in Croatia (Zagreb). The economic crisis caused a short development slowdown, however, the enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism of REC Global managers did not allow for a long pause. In 2011, the company again started to intensively accelerate. REC Global earned the title of Polish Champion and opened another R&D centre in Zielona Góra. In 2012, after the success of engineering centre in Žilina, REC Global opened a second R&D centre in Slovakia – in Banská Bystrica, as well as a new sales and support office in the US. 2013 was the year when the company’s primary focus was on developing new sales markets, such as semiconductors, the Internet of Things (IoT) and maritime. Last year, REC Global opened its fourth software development centre in Poland, in Szczecin, which today employs more 45 specialists in the areas of embedded systems, Linux, Android and C/C++.

Opening a new R&D location is not an easy task. It is not only a matter of finding a suitable office and buying necessary equipment. The biggest challenge is to build brand visibility and to employ experienced engineers that will develop this new location. It is a complex due diligence process that requires the analysis of numerous indicators plus experience earned over the years. The source of such experience in REC Global is its CEO, Krzysztof Kuliński, who successfully opened and managed several R&D centres in Europe and the US, among them Siemens Development Centre (SDC) in Wrocław – which Siemens rated as its best. Nevertheless, experience itself is still not enough to successfully open a new location. Also essential is a broadly defined local initiative encompassing cooperation with universities, city authorities, as well as different types of outside organisations.

A good example of a successful brand-building initiative in a local market can be illustrated by the activities taken up by REC Global’s youngest R&D centre – Szczecin. The branch was opened in June 2014. Early in July, the centre was already hiring several IT specialists and, by the end of the year, it reached its initial target of 45 employees. How could this be achieved? Only few days from opening its new location, REC Global introduced itself during one of Szczecin’s “Inspiring IT meetings,” known as Netcamp. During the event, Daniel Sokołowski, managing director at REC Global, presented on the latest trends in the automotive industry. Netcamp meetings continue to this day. In March 2015, Michał Wiśniewski, REC Global software engineer, shared his knowledge about the secrets of the IoT with Szczecin’s IT enthusiasts at the meeting. However, Netcamp is not the only initiative supported by REC Global in the West Pomerania region. In October 2014, the company took part in two important events in Szczecin – co-organised Rails Girls meeting to help young and talented female IT fans to enter the world of programming, as well as participated in Java Users Group gathering to share experience with other Java programmers. All these activities, together with a fruitful cooperation with a number of organisations, such as the Western Pomeranian ICT Cluster and Wyższa Szkoła Techniczno-Ekonomiczna (WSTE) school, allowed REC Global to shortly become a recognisable and desirable employer in Szczecin.
The activities engaged in after the opening a new R&D location have to be persistent and regular. The company and its brand must be visible and recognisable, especially in case of such a demanding and competitive field as software engineering. The key to success is professionalism and knowledge sharing, as well as continuous local presence and support.

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