Whether it’s shedding an outdated image, taking your company to the next phase of growth, or a combination of both – rebranding is never easy. This is especially true of a company like PRISMA that needs to convey technical information in an easily digestible and user-friendly way. So what were the main considerations? How did we manage the process? And what’s been the impact?
The acclaimed American author and brand expert Marty Neumeier once defined a brand as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company”.
For a long time at PRISMA, we focussed on building a great product, while overlooking the benefits of fostering a distinctive identity that would appeal to people’s “gut feeling”.
But, as with many fast-growth companies, the time eventually came when we had to confront the fact that a misalignment had emerged between the company we’d become and how we continued to portray ourselves outwardly.
Or in short, we’d outgrown our initial mission Let’s take you back to the start…
PRISMA has come a long way since our launch in 2011, evolving from a small company working solely within the German market to one that spans all of Western Europe and beyond. This evolution has encompassed more than just the services we offer; the very culture of the company itself has grown into something new.
The pivotal moment for us came after we decided to hire our own inhouse software engineering team. In preparation for this, we performed an assessment of our employer brand, and what emerged out of this was a new understanding of the values that underpinned everything we do: Driving, Understanding, Uniting, and People at our core.
We now knew if we truly wanted to become a mature, global company with deep values imbued across our organisation, having a great product wasn’t enough – we also had to work on our brand image. And here’s how we did it…
We identified our challenges
As we moved through our busy phase of insourcing new staff, as well as stepping up our plans to move to larger offices more conducive to Agile working, we noticed a pattern. During interviews, when we probed candidates on their perception of PRISMA, there were discrepancies between the feedback we received and our own self-image. This helped crystallise the fact that it was time to extend our reinvention from tangible matters such as office layout and department sizes to the more abstract notion of our identity.
One of the main problem we identified was that the messaging used across our corporate website jarred with how we saw ourselves as a company. Where we wanted to come across as light and straight-forward, we instead used language that veered closer to the cryptic and overbearing. Similarly, our staff profile images were homogenous, cold and not at all reflective of the diversity of our current workforce. Finally, we knew the website’s interface needed a serious makeover to augment it with long-scrolling, quirky graphics and other hallmarks of contemporary corporate website design.
We established our personality
From the size and diversity of our teams, to the scope of our markets, to the services we provide, PRISMA has changed significantly in recent years. And as these changes have taken hold, they began to reshape our personality too. Almost as an organic by-product of our development, we’d become a more open company with shared values around the kind of culture in which we all wanted to work and that would help PRISMA continue along a path of wholesome growth.
Whereas before, the image we portrayed was closer to the wider perception of the gas market as being somewhat impersonal, we now felt a compulsion to reveal a collective human face behind our platform. A face that represented inclusive values and goals such as co-operation, transparency, reliability and innovation.
We found partners that ‘get it’
A crucial task for a company looking to rebrand is to consider what external support they need. We knew we had to find partners that understood our company offering, and the requirement to communicate our technical expertise and employee-centric culture in an engaging and creative way. Making our lives a whole lot easier was the fact that Leipzig is home to a number of talented design agencies.
However, not only did we need to source partners with the right creative skills and vision, but also ones that would be on board with our Agile working methods that necessitated a co-operative but free-wheeling approach to the rebranding process.
We got creative
One of the most exciting aspects of a rebrand is conceptualising a new, creative and dynamic design language. Taking all of our insights gathered internally, we worked with local design agencies Zitronengrau and Studio Bosco to develop a process for creating a style guide that would serve as the template for our new visual identity. From the fresh colour scheme, lighter language, and playful illustrations that would characterise our reskinned corporate website, to our new business cards, power-point and word templates used across the company, our entire rebrand was made possible by this process.
Then there was our logo. We felt that our original logo was too complex, with fading colours and an overly-intricate design. Driven by our desire to differentiate ourselves from the image of the traditional gas market, we set about removing complexity from our logo. The result is that we now have a logo that says everything we want – and need – it to say: PRISMA is the platform for managing the movement of gas across Europe: full stop.
We rolled it out
The reality is that it’s not a complete rebrand unless all of your company assets are revisited. From website copy, to marketing materials, to internal documents, to social media, everything must be in line with the personality traits you’ve established. If it isn’t, you risk inconsistent messaging, which in turn will breed confusion both internally and externally.
At PRISMA, we used our rebrand as an opportunity to create an entirely fresh tranche of collateral to showcase our new design language, as well as to modify our tools to reflect this. As an example, we brought all PowerPoint presentations into line with our new visual identity and ran workshops for staff to familiarise themselves with the new colours, shapes and other design cues that can now be seen across our brand.
We prepared for the next phase
Once your shiny new brand is up and running, it’s important to share any revamped resources with colleagues and partners in order to acquaint them quickly with the company’s revitalised image. Pushing it out on social media can be useful for creating a buzz around your brand, but one of the most effective ways to reach critical mass is at live events.
Trade fairs and expos present a great opportunity to directly engage with our community. At PRISMA, events are growing both in frequency and importance, whether it’s shipping shows or user research workshops where we invite customers and industry figures to PRISMA to introduce them to our company and our product, and gain their feedback. In turn, such events also present a chance for our employees to showcase the PRISMA brand by interacting with people face to face. We believe empowering team members in such a way is vital in instilling a sense of responsibility and pride in their work – two values that are integral to our brand.
All in all, rebranding takes times and careful consideration at each stage. And it’s not just one for the marketing department – a successful rebrand goes much further, taking staff, customers and services into account to ensure nobody is left behind.
Have you ever worked for a company undergoing a rebrand? We’d love to hear about your own experiences so please do drop us a line – we might even compile the best replies into another blog post. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org