When should you revitalise your tech brand?

Incremental change, or a wholesale upgrade for your tech brand? It’s a big question.

Here we look at why you need to evolve your brand and the practicalities of how to nail it.

©Copyright Cisco

The best brands continuously evolve.

They are normally established, with bags of heritage, and have a brand strategy that drives the evolution process. They do it over a period without you even knowing. Next time you see it, it will just be different. And it would have been done with a purpose in mind. 

This is all true and great advice, but it’s more challenging if you’re a brand leader in the tech world. Categories are being created, and companies are moving at break-neck speed going from start-up to a billion-dollar valuation in a couple of years. Whether you’re on growing rapidly, or a more mature business, you’re juggling so many competing priorities, that there’s every chance your brand won’t get the attention it deserves.

Your brand might fall behind and not be an authentic reflection of your business or the stage you’re at. Or it might even start to hold back your ambition. And that’s ok, it’s going to happen. But recognising this and doing something about it is the most important thing. And when that time comes, it’s a perfect opportunity to revitalise your brand.

Re-brand vs. Revitalisation – which is the best choice?

Here’s a slightly pedantic but important point. When you reach this stage it’s more likely a revitalisation job. Rebrand is a phrase that gets lazily thrown around and it can mean something very different. A rebrand is a huge undertaking, shouldn’t be taken on lightly and could do more harm than good without a clear rationale and strategy. It normally involves a new name, new brand mark, or a radical shift in your positioning or proposition. By changing this you lose your brand equity and you have to start from scratch which takes time, budget and a lot of resources.

If you’ve got the rationale to do this, then great. But rebrands shouldn’t be thought of as the go-to as often the brand revitalisation route is a better way to solve your problem.

A brand revitalisation is taking what you have and evolving it making it more contemporary or fit for purpose. It’s rooted in your original brand – the essence that made it special attracting all that excitement, investment, and talent – but driving it forward. Salience is so hard to build and takes time. A refresh carefully assesses how you evolve your brand without losing the associations and value you’ve built.

You aren’t changing the core thinking or foundation of your brand. Think vision, purpose, and values – the heart and soul of who you are. But what you can change is how it’s represented visually making it a better representation of who you are so the audience understands and relates.

©Copyright Slack

Good brand guidelines are a springboard, not a straightjacket

A reason brands fail to evolve is because guidelines become too strict which can stifle any flexibility for the brand to naturally evolve. What you need is guidance on what you can do, rather than what you can’t.

We think of guidelines in a practical way. A good idea is to have core brand guidelines, and then think about what you’re likely to want, and then create guidance around the wider activity that enables a brand to be more expressive.

License to grow – freedom to be expressive in your executions

So what is up for grabs when it comes to a brand revitalisation? Firstly, it doesn’t have to be daunting. You don’t necessarily need a complete overhaul all at once. You can be tactical in your approach making incremental gains. Let’s look at some now.

Visual language – the bedrock of how you communicate through design. We’re talking colours, fonts, textures, patterns, imagery, shapes, and icons. This can be an ideal launchpad to innovate your design and update your aesthetic to align it more with audience expectations.

Content and campaign activity are also ways for your brand to flex and grow to be more expressive or emotive. Your brand can build personality without damaging the consistency of the core brand. These shorter-term activities can be expressive and impactful to keep your brand looking fresh, bringing it to life in different ways. But the core brand remains consistent.

Our client Rubrik is a great example of this. They’ve got their core brand and don’t change the brand marks or colourways and are locked into certain typefaces. But they do enable additional typefaces and colour palettes to be used in other guises. For Rubrik Zero Labs content, we introduced colours and typefaces which gave it more of a thought leadership and editorial slant, but worked with the core Rubrik brand.

Campaigns can also be a doorway to evolving your brand. Lacework launched an awesome Livin’ the Security Dream campaign to capture the zeitgeist of the Barbie movie. They saw an opportunity to raise the profile of the conversation around the lack of representation of Women in tech – a cause close to their brand’s heart. It was also a great opportunity to express their playful personality in an impactful and engaging way evolving where they can take their brand while staying true to the core.

Be distinctive and ownable

Your brand needs to build up recognition and awareness. Part of its job is to be distinctive so it looks like it could only have come from you, and people easily connect the dots in their minds. There’s no point in doing something great visually if people have no ideas who’s behind it.

With the sheer volume of companies and start-ups rapidly entering the market, it’s tough going in the tech world. This is where you need to balance differentiation and distinctiveness to find a way to stand out. Differentiation gives you a perceived uniqueness, and distinctiveness to make your brand easily identified by people.

Think of what your brand looks like in motion

Think about building that toolkit so you can draw upon it to help you communicate, and motion is a great strength to bring to that. There is so much motion used in brands in B2C, it’s surprising it’s not more prevalent in B2B. Take KFC or Netflix as examples of how motion is used at a basic level for their logos. It’s synonymous with them and adds another ownable strength.

©Copyright Netflix

Your brand can’t be static because it lives on your website, social media, digital OOH, and on screens at events. There are huge opportunities for B2B brands to think about how they move. Think about how it expresses itself, how it moves, how it locks up. What do icons, illustrations and colours look like within storytelling animation? How does it load into a screen, how does it reveal, is there a sound?

Again, have flexibility and treatments for different contexts. You can then start to develop it and think about motion guidelines. There are so many components to it and opportunities to help you build recognition, awareness and be impactful and memorable.

This is exactly what we did for Noname Security delivering their brand revitalisation.

If you’re looking to revitalise your brand, there’s plenty to think about. We can help you with your brand strategy, looking at opportunities to flex and revitalise.

When you’re ready, let’s chat.

Our Work

Matt Price
Senior Director, Creative

Matt Price is a creative leader with a career that has traversed award-winning agencies, high-performance brands, and innovative start-ups.

Fueled by a deep passion for cultivating dynamic creative teams and crafting distinctive brand experiences, Matt has earned a reputation for shaping and evolving brands across diverse industries. He currently leads creativity at TravelPerk.

Melissa Rosenthal
Chief Creative Officer

Melissa is an award-winning marketing executive and the Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, focused on making the world more productive through best-in-class SaaS marketing.

Previously Melissa was the CRO/Executive Vice President at Cheddar, a live video media company at the intersection of business news and culture. For her brand work, she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday’s “Changemakers.”

Prior to Cheddar, she led BuzzFeed’s Global Creative Team. Joining the staff in 2010, Rosenthal was a key contributor to the creation and early success of BuzzFeed’s branded content native advertising model.

Melissa Rosenthal
Chief Creative Officer

Melissa is an award-winning marketing executive and the Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, focused on making the world more productive through best-in-class SaaS marketing.

Previously Melissa was the CRO/Executive Vice President at Cheddar, a live video media company at the intersection of business news and culture. For her brand work, she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday’s “Changemakers.”

Prior to Cheddar, she led BuzzFeed’s Global Creative Team. Joining the staff in 2010, Rosenthal was a key contributor to the creation and early success of BuzzFeed’s branded content native advertising model.

Ari Yablok
Head of Brand 

Ari Yablok is the Head of Brand at Island, the Enterprise Browser. Before joining Island as its first marketing hire, Ari was the Head of Brand Messaging at Atreo, a B2B tech branding and marketing agency, where he crafted the strategic narratives, end-to-end messaging, corporate and investor decks, and brand identities for 50+ leading tech companies including Taboola, Similarweb, Gloat, JFrog, and Panaya. Originally from New Jersey, Ari lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel with his wife and six children.

Ling Koay
Chief Brand Officer

Ling is a fearless B2B marketer and a purposeful leader with almost two decades of experience driven by growing businesses through creativity, art, and science. Recently, she was named “CMO to Watch in 2022” by CMO Alliance. She has also led the Oneflow brand to be one of the “B2B Brands to Watch in 2022” alongside brands like Slack, Gong, and Tiktok Business.

Ling’s mission is to inspire humans to find and embrace their superpowers so that we can transform mediocrity into magic in our lives. Marketing to her is using ideas to change minds. Move the needle. Make sales easier. Being a mom of two kids under 6, marketing is essential to win day-to-day negotiations. Recently she gave up her CMO title to focus on the brand. Call her crazy, but marketing is the puzzle she needs to solve every day to make her life complete.

Buck Choate
VP Brand

Buck Choate is a distinguished brand and marketing leader that thrives at the intersection of strategy, stories, and ideas. As VP of Brand at Lacework, he spearheads brand management, activations, social and editorial content, and brand design. Buck has spent his 15+ year career working with iconic global brands like Microsoft, Intel, Fender, Walmart, Ubisoft, PepsiCo, and 7-Eleven.

Damien Correll
Creative Director

Based in NYC, Damien Correll is the Creative Director at Figma where he leads their Brand Studio. Over the past 20 years, he’s worked on both the brand and product sides (and some of the places in-between), Whether it’s running his own practice or working in-house at one of the largest companies in the world, he’s in the pursuit of great design by making the expected surprising, the strange familiar, and the accessible abundant.

Ben Long
Creative Director

Make fun stuff for people to enjoy. That’s why we all got into this in the first place. And if you can do that while delivering strategic and purposeful creative that meets brand goals? Now you’re on to something.

That’s what Ben Long has been aiming at for the last six years at Rubrik, leading the global brand team as Creative Director. Ben loves nothing more than when a team comes together to pull off something that’s a little risky and a lot unexpected.

Ben lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two kids, and a giant dog that’s way too big for his house

Steve Stone
Head of Zero Labs

Steve has over fifteen year’s experience in threat intelligence and event response with positions in the US military, intelligence community, and private sector. Steve held a number of roles to include threat intelligence, service delivery, and various leadership positions at Mandiant, FireEye, and IBM in the private sector. He is a frequent contributor and presenter in a variety of industry forums/conferences.

Wei Kee
Client Services Director
Shaped By

As Client Services Director at Shaped By, Wei Kee leads the team to deliver on the promises they make, working closely with clients to kick personal, team, and business goals.

A true advocate of good design and innovative creative solutions, she works hard to ensure a strong, unified dynamic between internal/external creative, and wider teams.

Wei subscribes to an empathetic and human-centric approach to developing deep relationships with clients near and far, always ensuring that the process to achieving business success is collaborative and enjoyable.

Outside of work, she loves to cook, eat and feed.

Tom Ovens
Creative Director
Shaped By

An ambassador of embracing the art of simplicity, Tom enjoys ripping things apart to delve deeper and explore meaningful ways to create authentic and impactful visual communications.

He loves leading the talented Shaped By design team to push boundaries, build recognition and make a difference for our clients. He is passionate about collaborating with his team, partners and clients to land on creative solutions that help fulfil personal, team and business objectives.

You’ll often hear Tom swooning over a new typeface he’s discovered, or discussing ‘Tittles’ (Google with care). In his free time he loves to disappear on his bike.

Jessica Bognar
Creative Director – Brand

Jessica is an award-winning creative leader at Salesforce with a track record of transforming teams and brands through strategic storytelling, humanity, and humor. For the past eight years she’s been an integral part of building the Salesforce brand. Her current role is leading Brand & Partnerships creative.

Aaron Poe
Head of Creative

Aaron Poe is a strategic Creative Director with over 17 years of experience branding and launching natively digital companies. His passion is building brands that are simple and timeless, striking the right balance of emotional connection and functional design. Currently, in his role as Creative Director at Zapier, he leads a multidisciplinary team of brand and digital designers within the global brand studio.

Jessica Rosenberg
Director of Brand Design

Jessica has 17+ years of experience helping brands tell their stories in differentiated and breakthrough ways.

Jess’s skills as a designer, creative, and leader have been shaped by working across notable companies in advertising and tech: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Twitter, Cloudflare, Mural, and Webflow. She’s just as passionate about coming up with the big idea as she is executing it. Jess recently joined the Design org at ONE finance leading the brand design function.

Jess lives in Austin, TX with her husband and four kids.

Rachel Gogel
Independent Design Executive

Rachel is a Parisian creative director, graphic designer, educator, and speaker based in San Francisco. She runs her own consultancy where her approach is informed by experiences both in-house and agency side. As a fractional design executive and queer leader, Rachel believes in fostering inclusive spaces that unlock human potential. She is committed to designing teams that build brands — with a focus on culture and technology. Over the last fifteen years, Rachel has led major initiatives at GQ, The New York Times, Meta, Godfrey Dadich, Departures, Airbnb, and Dropbox.

Currently, you can find her shaping employee experiences, coaching design leaders, building TV show pitch decks for public figures and media executives, and developing brand identity systems for academic institutions and startups.

Kaite Rosa
Senior Director of Brand 

Kaite Rosa is Senior Director of Brand at Axonius, where she leads the award-winning team responsible for creating a $2.6 billion brand in less than five years. Cited as one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity brands in history, Axonius has been named one of the most valuable private cloud companies in the world by the Forbes Cloud 100, along with numerous industry accolades.

A life-long writer, Kaite is passionate about using storytelling and creative concepts to define and build exceptional brand experiences. Her work on the campaign “Controlling Complexity”, starring the most decorated gymnast of all time, Simone Biles, has earned her two Telly awards.

Nick Farrar
Shaped By

Nick is the founder of Shaped By and has spent the last 20+ years in working with B2B brands. He has an in-depth understanding of what makes brands work, live and breathe and knows exactly how to maximise ROI for clients.

He is a passionate advocate for the use of creativity in strategic business thinking, and is well-versed in helping others tell their own story through design in a way that engages their audience.

Nando Costa

Nando Costa is a Brazilian-American artist-turned-designer with a wealth of experience spanning branding, motion graphics, and user experience design. As a design leader at Microsoft, he explores the confluence of traditional 2D UX, immersive three-dimensional environments, and the realm of generative AI technology.

Prelini Udayan-Chiechi
SVP Global Marketing

Prelini leads demand, growth, performance, operations, partner and regional marketing at Zendesk. Her responsibilities include driving all demand and growth for the company’s business in more than 160 countries globally across the entire demand funnel.

As well as being an accomplished public speaker, she is also a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. Her role as executive sponsor of Zendesk’s Mosaic employee community helps people of colour and allies at the company to embrace and celebrate their differences.