Behind the Brand
Two years ago we kicked off in stealth mode under the name: Moffett Data. From the very beginning, we always knew we’d change it. Our CEO, Alex, came up with it while standing next to the the entrance to NASA Ames Research Park (NRP) AKA “Moffett Field” on the same day we incorporated the company. Just like the famous Google legend, we needed to have a name to sign our agreement to move into NRP.
Within the first year of Moffett Data’s life, it became clear that our name wasn’t resonating with customers: “What’s a Moffett?” “Little Miss Moffitt Data?” “How do you spell ‘Mafit’?” Moffett Data wasn’t creating a personal connection with our audience, who were neither space nerds nor frequent commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area where “Moffett Field” is well known.
“Free Your Records”
In customer prospect meetings, we would ask the standard questions like “What is your biggest need? What pains you? What would cause you to switch from from a traditional records management vendor?”
A few answers kept reoccurring::
- “We don’t have access to our records!”
- “We want to digitize but we don’t trust companies that don’t understand technology to digitize our records.”
- “Our records are effectively trapped.”
- “It’s our data. It shouldn’t be held hostage.”
The customers we were speaking to felt they didn’t have a real solution to these problems as:
- Records are trapped because their most important data were stuck in warehouses collecting dust.
- Companies had to pay every time they wanted to access their records.
- They weren’t gleaning insights from the records.
- Almost all of them were losing money because of record mismanagement.
The more meetings we had, the more we realized that companies need and deserve freedom: freedom from permanent-out fees (fees to end your service contract), freedom to access their records anytime and anywhere without penalty, freedom to budget accurately, and freedom to do what they wanted with their own data.
Our tagline “Free Your Records,” came naturally to us, but Moffett Data didn’t speak to freedom. It didn’t speak to anything in fact. We knew we had to change the name.
Our customers have wanted to digitize for years but they simply couldn’t find a trustworthy and cost-effective solution. No vendor could offer fast and inexpensive digitization service because the technology to deliver it had simply not been invented yet. Furthermore, customers wanted a simple service.
Many of the existing brands in the space are associated with slowness, complexity, intractability, staidness. We wanted to look different, feel different and be different from the existing brands in the records market. We needed a brand that spoke to our product differentiation but that would have longevity and stay relevant as we evolve our company and product offerings. It should evoke feelings of trust, security, freedom and new-ness.
We hired Jamie Panzarella who was previously Art Director at Havas Worldwide, one of the largest integrated marketing agencies in the world, and has built brand identity for Noosa, Audi, A&E, HBO, PayPal, Airforce and frankly too many more brands to list.
She created a logo that has movement. The mark sits behind and above the logotype (a bold type that lurches forward), since we are always moving forward, paving new ground. She wanted it to look like RIPCORD was para-trooping in to save the day. The mark has a few meanings: it’s a parachute canopy that protects you and delivers you to safety; it’s a sheet of paper transformed from inaccessible to accessible; and, it’s a bridge that connects the old with the new.We wanted the colors to create a feeling of security and power so we chose black and a teal color that has blue and green tones – classic colors that create a feeling of security and trust. And similarly, we wanted a strong font type that also conveyed strength and reliability.
Customers define brands, and we know it takes time for a company to get imprinted with brand attributes. Regardless, these are the emotions that we were trying to evoke from our visual language, voice, and offerings. And, by the way, these are also things we strive for in our culture.
- Freedom: customers should feel the freedom to access their own data and shouldn’t feel like they are being held hostage to a vendor
- New-ness: we want customers to experience something new, and we’ll always strive to inject innovation into everything we build
- Trust: Everything we do should elicit a feeling of trust. We want customers to feel like they can rely on us. The days of nickel-and-diming, losing records and excessively complicated invoices are over.
- Empowerment: our customers to feel like they’re the heroes of the organization. We also want our employees to feel empowered to seek change, to challenge the status quo, and to voice their opinions.
If our customers feel any of these emotions when using our brand and if we build a reputation for being trustworthy, for empowering customers, for freeing them from bad vendor relationships, then I can die a happy woman.