I’m With the Brand (B2B Startup Edition)
There’s an old saying that goes like this: “All marketers, when left to their own devices, will eventually decide to rebrand your company.” Actually, I just made up that quote, but it’s so true that it probably should be an old saying by now.
With that in mind, today I’m excited to introduce the new LaunchDarkly.
Before I talk about the who or why, I just want to say that the rebranding process is difficult. This is the sixth rebrand I’ve led, and I can honestly say that the process never gets easier. Rebrands follow a traditional three-act structure:
- Act one: overwhelming excitement and a sense of adventure
- Act two: enough obstacles, self-doubt, and plot twists to keep it interesting; inevitably ending with, “OMG, why are we doing this?”
- Act three: the rebrand process resolves itself with half of the company telling you their feelings about the color teal (or just their feelings in general)
Put simply: brands are subjective, people are opinionated, and combining those two things makes for a long, arduous journey.
So why do it? Given the challenging process, there has to be good reason to do this, right? Actually, there are many good reasons, but before I get into that, let’s define what we mean by “brand.”
Personally, I like this definition:
Brand (noun): The sum total of all visual and non-visual, verbal and non-verbal, tangible and intangible elements that help identify, form, create, and influence unique and positive associations for a product, service or entity, that differentiates it from its competition, creating meaning, value and preference in one’s mind. (source)
TL;DR: It’s the million details that combine to influence how someone thinks about your company and product.
Back to the question at hand. Why do it?
Startups are like kids. They mature.
There are seemingly endless variations of the startup lifecycle, but they all follow this basic structure:
Idea > Product Launch > Product/Market Fit > Growth > Scale > Maturity
The early stages of a startup are about survival. It would be outrageous (and probably irresponsible) to expect that you’ve got the millions of brand details figured out.
Case in point: The original LaunchDarkly logo cost us $40 on Fiverr:
That logo got us all the way to a $3B valuation.
But a few small things have changed since our (now) old logo was created:
- Our ideal customer profile
- Go-to-market strategy
- Pricing model
- Overall messaging
- The small undertaking of creating a new category
Needless to say, we couldn’t have had everything figured out during our early stages anymore than a five-year-old knowing who they’ll be as a teenager.
B2B buyers are emotional
Not that long ago, the conventional wisdom was that B2C buyers made emotional purchases and B2B buyers made logical ones. What we know now is that B2B buyers are actually more emotionally connected to the brands they purchase than consumers. And it makes perfect sense.
B2B buyers connect business value and personal value when making purchase decisions—i.e., if this is good for the business, then it’s good for me personally (career, compensation, etc.) Not only that, B2B buyers are willing to pay 8x more for a product they feel emotionally connected to.
So, why rebrand? Increased win rates, average selling price, and retention are good places to start.
Buyers aren’t the only stakeholders
Let’s face it, internal stakeholders (employees and investors) are usually the parties most excited about a rebrand. Even though the rebrand process is challenging, the end result is always fun. It’s a celebration of maturity, accomplishment and new beginnings. Your internal stakeholders aren’t just your existing customers and investors, but also your future ones. LaunchDarkly currently has more than 300 employees and we’ll easily double that number over the next year. We view the rebrand as an important recruiting tool.
Sometimes you just know
This is the most important reason to re-brand. Sometimes you just look around and realize that the brand is out of date, inconsistent, and incongruent with the current state of the business. It’s like walking into a party and realizing that you’re still wearing the same clothes from five years ago.
In our case, our co-founders, Edith and John, agreed that the brand could use a fresh coat of paint. The company with the $40 logo now has thousands of paying customers, was named to the Forbes Cloud 100 for the second year in a row, and feature management is now considered a critical component of software development.
We took all of this into consideration and came up with something that we thought was fun, contemporary, instilled confidence, and could serve us well during this time of growth.
People make it work
A brand is also made up of those who use, love, and represent it. The power of our technology pales in comparison to the collective power of our employees. With that in mind, I want to say a sincere thank you to our 300+ employees and thousands of customers worldwide.