Humanity is heavily reliant on semiconductors nowadays, yet the companies that produce them are close to anonymous. Sure, this is the case for most B2B brands but what if it doesn’t have to be this way?

In B2B, one has to act strongly and precisely to meet and deliver on their clients’ expectations at the best of their ability. And the past couple of years has made it difficult for fabricators to meet those expectations, with a lot of client migration happening below the everyday consumer’s radar.

In this context, one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world, GlobalFoundries (GF), decided that it’s time to put their brand to as much work as their plant, to gain some edge in a market that’s becoming increasingly crowded.

To find out more about this strategic move from GF and why the brand is becoming more and more important in the B2B space, Brandingmag sat down with their chief marketing officer, Michelle Leyden Li. Michelle has over 25 years of marketing, communications, and business development experience with semiconductor leaders including Qualcomm, Intel, and Zilog, leading brand development for some of the industry’s most iconic ingredient brands including Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform, Intel Centrino Mobile Technology, and Zilog Zatara Secure Processors.

Here’s what she has to say:

Brandingmag: What is a ‘foundry’ and who are the main clients of GlobalFoundries?

Michelle Leyden Li: In the case of GlobalFoundries, a foundry is a large manufacturing factory or fabricator (“fab”), where we make semiconductors chips with feature-rich, process technology solutions for integrated circuits on silicon wafers that provide leadership performance in pervasive, high-growth, end markets.

Our customers include some of the largest and well-known companies in the world such as Qualcomm, AMD, Bosch, PsiQuantum, Raytheon, MagnaChip, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Bm: How has the semiconductor industry evolved over the last 10 years in terms of demand and competition?

MLL: Demand for semiconductor chips has exploded. Chips are everywhere – inside everything from appliances to thermostats, smartphones, automobiles, industrial equipment, and medical devices. GlobalFoundries makes the “feature-rich” chips in these and other electronic devices that are vital to people’s everyday lives.

Bm: What is the importance of the brand of GF in this B2B environment that highly values quantifiables?

MLL: At GlobalFoundries, we know that our role as one of the world’s leading semiconductor chip manufacturers is vital to humanity. At a time when demand for our solutions is higher than ever, our bold new brand is helping us increase awareness of our company and helps tell our story.

Bm: Has the ongoing semiconductor shortage influenced GF’s reputation in any way?

MLL: GF acted quickly and decisively to increase output at its existing sites and has planned for additional capacity expansion. We closely collaborated with customers and governments to identify innovative solutions and strategies. We believe our bold, proactive leadership, solutions, and engagement is what our brand is all about.

Bm: What was the ‘need’ that sparked the call for a rebrand and how deep did the process go? What changed?

MLL: GF has shattered the old paradigm of semiconductor manufacturing innovation by making chips that are smarter, not just smaller. Our new brand reflects this strategy and signifies our global footprint and impact, our close collaboration with customers, and our portfolio of feature-rich process technology solutions for pervasive, high-growth, end markets.

Bm: What were the challenges of implementing the new GF brand throughout the organization?

MLL: GF was formed through the combination of several different companies with unique histories and expertise and what we do is incredibly complex. We needed to summarize that in a compelling, relatable narrative and visual identity that honored our legacy while reflecting who we are and the vital role we play.

Bm: In this exponentially growing industry, what do you see as the most important asset for a foundry in the near future – production capacity or brand?

MLL: It isn’t an either-or proposition. Production capacity is part of a semiconductor manufacturer’s brand. Today, part of GF’s story is the unique approach we are taking to capacity challenges. The GF brand represents a company that leads, creates public-private partnerships, and collaborates with customers to find solutions.

Bm: What is the most challenging aspect of managing a semiconductor brand? How about the most satisfying?

MLL: Before the pandemic, most people weren’t aware of the impact that semiconductors have on their everyday lives. We were somewhat anonymous. But that’s changing.

Now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tell our story. Knowing that the chips we manufacture make a difference in people’s lives is extremely satisfying.

Cover image source: Laura Ockel