When is the right time to rebrand?
When you’re asking big questions about your business, you should probably be asking big questions about your brand identity, too. The Vocera rebrand is a case in point. Named a Top Ten Tech IPO of 2012, this growing provider of secure communications solutions met four classic qualifications that prompt many companies to rebrand. What are these conditions, how did Vocera exemplify them, and how did Liquid respond?
1. You’re transforming your offerings.
At present, much of Vocera’s brand equity is held in the B3000 “Badge,” a voice-controlled device that enables instant, secure communication among workers in mission-critical and high-touch service environments such as healthcare. Moving forward, Vocera is shifting to a device-agnostic communications platform that will enable customers to access Vocera technology on their personal smart devices. As Vocera makes this transition, essentially reinventing its core product, the company will also develop new product offerings and integrating those of acquired brands. Rebranding serves as a symbol that the company is evolving and growing, seizing the opportunity to energize the brand for both external and internal audiences.
2. You’re expanding your markets.
Vocera’s secure, integrated communications solutions are presently deployed in more than 875 healthcare facilities around the world. Having established a leading position in the healthcare industry, Vocera is now seeking to expand its customer base in new vertical markets where the need for instant, secure communication is critical, such as nuclear, oil and gas, education, hospitality, and retail. The development of a new brand identity for Vocera sends a signal to the marketplace that the company is leveraging its leadership position and experience in healthcare and offering solutions to a broader set of industries.
3. You’re diversifying your audience.
Today, Vocera’s core customers in the healthcare industry are nurses. As the company moves to a device-agnostic platform the brand will need to connect with high-level executives – such as CMOs, CMIOs, CTOs and CNOs –people who value innovation and efficiency, and who want the best product in form and function. Since Vocera seeks to build awareness and influence with these new customers, the brand identity needed to evolve and take into account the expectations and aspirations of a sophisticated audience segment.
4. You’re growing up.
Rare are the brand identities that can sustain the passage of time without being modernized to reflect contemporary aesthetics. As an example take a look at how many times the American Airlines brand identity has evolved since 1934. In the case of Vocera, the company had been using the same brand mark and visual identity since it was founded in 2000. Thirteen years later, the identity was starting to look outdated and needed to adapt to meet new specifications set by the market—e.g., it had to function as an icon for a smartphone app. Thus one relevant condition that justifies a new identity is simply being able to keep up with current aesthetic standards.
Enter Silicon Valley Thinking.
By the fall of 2013, Vocera had defined new brand positioning and messaging strategies aligned to its emergent business objectives. But to fully develop and materialize its new brand identity, Vocera needed help from Liquid and our Silicon Valley Thinking approach to creative decision-making. Using tools such as Margaret Hartwell and Joshua C. Chen’s “Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creative Strategists,” the Liquid team led key Vocera stakeholders, including C-level executives and heads of all major departments, through a series of exercises aimed at identifying the brand’s essential personality attributes. In a matter of hours, the group had its answer, and Liquid had the direction it needed to proceed with creative. “We approached the work collaboratively which helped us arrive at our recommendations quickly,” says Liquid Senior Brand Strategist Ashley Bernatchez. “It was a very inclusive and really effective process.”
A new identity takes flight.
According to Boyd Tveit, Director of Brand Design at Liquid Agency, the goal of the new identity was to embody the brand’s new personality attributes (“insightful,” “empathetic,” and “delightful”) and create a contemporary visual style to support Vocera’s forward-looking business objectives. Essential elements include an “approachable” lowercase sans-serif font combined with a simple yet memorable icon—a stylized “v” that evokes a pair of wings in flight, suitably expressive of the speed, mobility, and breadth of the company’s services. As part of the comprehensive rebranding, Liquid designed a new visual style for the brand and applications to major marketing communications deliverables. We also created designs for Vocera’s digital assets, such as the website, and turned over files to our long-time collaborators at WebEnertia who were responsible for the development of the final website.
Well received by customers and employees.
Rebranding was the right choice, and Liquid was the right partner to execute the creative, according to Sandra Miley, VP of Marketing at Vocera. “In partnering with Liquid, they took us through a collaborative process starting with who we are and where we are going as a company,” Miley says. “The result is a highly differentiating new brand identity that visually expresses Vocera, and positions us to be a leader in the market and highly relevant today. The results vastly exceeded our expectations. Our new brand expression has opened up new business opportunities and is embraced by customers. Best part, employees feel really proud of the new brand identity as it signals a new era for the company. Thank you Liquid for helping us get here!”