Introducing Bound: How We Rebranded, A Marketing Team’s Tale
Ahhh, branding. Branding continues to be one of the single most important factors when it comes to winning over our prospects’ brains, hearts, and of course wallets. While many aspects of marketing have gone to the dark side of metrics, science and predictability, branding continues to push the elusive art vs. science part of our brains. We think that a few tips and tricks can go a long way in your next branding project, so sit back and enjoy hearing about our takeaways from our recent rebrand.
Tim Kopp from Hyde Park Venture Partners compiled an excellent chart and blog post that describes how the marketing emphasis of startups should change between demand gen to branding as the lifespan of the company evolves.
Get Smart Content fit right in the middle of Tim’s chart at 5 years old. The company was originally named to help prospects “get smart content” based on a keen understanding of a marketers audience. While this name served us well, it faced a few challenges:
- It struggled to explain what we did clearly. Specifically the word “content” became a bit misleading given our focus on web audiences and personalization. Also, the topic of “content’ evolved into a broad area of marketing beyond our use of the word.
- The name did not highlight our underlying differentiator of binding together fragmented data to help marketers better understand their audience.
- It did not illustrate the fact that our product is typically adopted by forward-thinkers in the B2B industry.
- It had a color scheme that did not reflect our unique style and failed to stand out amongst thousands of marketing technology providers.
- Plus, Bound just sounds cooler.
At the start of the year, we decided to take on the daunting and exciting challenge of rebranding the company. The scope of the rebrand was significant:
- New company name and logo
- Completely new URL and website – design and content
- New brand tagline
- New branding architecture (definition, purpose, promise, mission, core values, and vision)
- New corporate positioning and messaging
- Updated tone and personality
- Updated content assets
- And of course, new customer and partner swag
We leaned on a few partners to help guide us through the rebranding process while continuing to grow the business: The Weinheimer Group helped us think through who we wanted to become and how to create a name that fit our unique company. Louder than Digital helped us bring the brand to life digitally. Both were incredible partners and if you’re considering a rebrand, I’d be happy to speak to you about our positive experience with them. We were also fortunate to lean on a Teem, a fellow VC portfolio company who recently went through a rebrand. The core concepts for the rebrand came from a series of interviews with prospects, customers, partners, employees, and analysts.
Along the way, we learned a few things about going through a complete corporate rebrand:
Alignment – Our executive team is generally very well aligned and agrees on the growth direction for the company, yet when it came to articulating the brand we found important differences that required a number of conversations to hash out. In hindsight, I should have assumed that we were less aligned and more proactively gotten us to agree on the direction of the brand earlier. The result was a several week delay on agreeing on who we wanted to become.
Branding Architecture – We created a very specifically worded brand architecture deliverable which provided a foundation for naming the business. While the final deliverable won’t be used directly in marketing assets, it provided guidance to the entire company on our brand direction.
- Definition: We are digital marketing personalization experts.
- Purpose: We exist to help marketers build stronger, deeper, more relevant experiences with their customers.
- Promise: We are committed to helping marketers engage their customers now.
- Mission: We strive to help marketers engage their customers next.
- Core Values: Learn, Connect, Grow
- Vision: We aspire to be the definitive digital experience experts in marketing technology.
We then explored over 500 names and quickly came to consensus that we wanted our name to be a real word and also a .com URL. This made finding available URLs extremely difficult, but we used a few tools that helped. One that was particularly useful was Shopify’s name generator which allows you to put in phrases and retrieve available URLs. Ultimately, we chose to go with Bound360.com as our URL and acknowledge our 360 Persona Technology, which is the underlying tech in our audience insights and personalization solutions.
Once we had the name, we opted to crowdsource a logo design. We received over 400 different designs and ultimately picked the following:
The logo was thoughtfully chosen to communicate the two concepts behind our name, Bound. It conveys the movement of bounding forward and the connection of your data being bound together by our platform. The arrow adds energy to the logo representing that movement. The purposeful connection of the arrow forms the “B” icon. This represents not only the connections our platform has to a plethora of data sources, but also the connections we form with our customers, and the connections our customers then grow with theirs. The color gradient in the logo is a meaningful blend of our primary colors, blue and purple. The color blue stands for trust and represents the committed partnership formed between us and our customers. The color purple represents the creativity inherent in our approach to marketing and our applications of personalization.
We then ran a rapid fire tagline brainstorm and quickly developed three standout phrases that we loved. After sleeping on them for a few nights, we agreed “Engagement at Scale” best captured what we aim to help marketers achieve with Bound. Together with the new logo, we had our combined identity:
With the graphical and naming pillars in place for the brand, we took to building out a master re-branding checklist in Basecamp including details like creating new email addresses to corporate signage in the office. We pulled a core branding team together from each department in the company and they each built out their own mini departmental branding checklists. In total, we had over 300 to-dos to check off in order to execute the total rebrand; some were as simple as changing our internal Slack account while others were as exhaustive as rewriting all of the content for the website. We also split the rebrand task list into four phases: get done as soon as possible, complete in the weeks prior to the launch, day of/moving properties live, and post launch.
Despite leaning on the partners for expertise, the entire marketing team contributed to the nearly 8 month long process.
- Harsha Kalapala focused on product marketing including corporate positioning and product messaging.
- Stephanie Guttman orchestrated the entire branding project and brought the brand to life through the coordination of multiple departments while simultaneously running demand programs.
- Leigh Brown nailed our brand voice and brand tone as well as countless detailed branding programs from swag to website editor extraordinaire.
- Anthony Figgins provided detailed updates to our marketing tech stack and ensured all of our core operations would keep running through the transition.
- Our graphics team including Casey Decker and Jeff Utzman helped us finalize the logo and color palette along with transporting all of our digital content to the new brand layout.
There are a few dozen other folks across the company including our entire executive team who all pitched in to bring the brand to life and without them, none of this would have been possible. I can’t thank them enough.
We believe the new website better articulates our belief that your website should be able to respond to its audience better than your best sales rep. We’d love to hear your feedback on the site via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at our next event. If you’re interested in reading a bit more about the rebrand, check out these links:
Why did we rename the business?