Part One: The Zipline Rebrand

July 1, 2021

by Michelle Wohl, VP of Marketing

Michelle Wohl - Vice President Marketing @ Zipline - Crunchbase Person  Profile
Michelle Wohl, VP of Marketing

Last week, while our customers were participating in our annual virtual conference, the marketing team quietly pushed ‘go’ on our new corporate brand. In December of 2020, I put fingers to keyboard to develop a brief around updating the Zipline brand identity. I had only been on the job for nine months but it was apparent that in that short time a lot had changed that affected our brand. 

Let’s start with Covid-19. Retailers were tremendously affected by the pandemic. In addition to helping our existing customers, mostly specialty retailers, weather the storm, we also landed many new customers who needed a communications and task management solution to ensure that information was flowing down to the fleet and stores were meeting health and safety compliance. These brands were grocery stores, C-stores, pharmacies, construction companies, restaurant chains, non-profits, and more. When I looked at our customer list, I didn’t see the diversity of customers reflected in how we approached the brand.

Second, I hired our first dedicated marketing designer, Jess Hewlett, in mid-December. She inherited a brand that had run amok thanks to a series of freelance designers that interpreted our lite brand book in ‘creative’ ways and put their unique spin on things. I wanted her to have the opportunity to shape the brand and own it from the get-go. At the same time, we were hiring a team of product designers who would be looking at the corporate brand to help guide decisions. I wanted them to have a great foundation. 

Finally, when I looked at our brand against our competitors, the only thing that set us apart was our shocking pink color which, I might add, was being used a little too liberally across our assets. In short, we weren’t differentiating.

I started the brief with some must-haves:

  • While we are a SaaS technology, we wanted the brand to skew more towards a retail look and feel. We want retailers to look at us and know that we ‘get retail’ while instilling trust that we can handle their technology challenges.
  • Our customers are our heroes and should be the focus. Where possible, we want them to tell the story.
  • We want the brand to be aspirational. We represent the best of retail and we want non-customers to die to work with us, the way HubSpot was an aspirational brand for marketers back in the day.
  • As our customers get larger and more varied, we need the brand to appeal to enterprise companies across multiple categories. Would a CIO from a Fortune 100 brand relate to our brand?

After speaking with four agencies, we ultimately selected Siren, an agency in San Francisco, to partner with us on the project. We spoke to other companies but felt like the Siren team ‘got us’ as a brand. In our kickoff meeting, they presented us with a manifesto that proved they understood our customers and what they go through every day and how we want to help them be successful. Here’s a snippet:

You might notice that we’re no longer calling ourselves ‘Retail Zipline’. While we have been casually referred to ourselves as Zipline for years, we formally dropped the ‘Retail’ from our name. In no way does this mean that we’re moving away from retail; Rather, we want to be more inclusive of all companies that we can help.

The fact is that our customers refer us to many non-retail companies and we have seen a surge of non-retail companies come inbound looking for a better way to align their field employees. It’s no secret that our SaaS platform makes a big difference in how information gets to the fleet. Our solution helps employees enjoy their jobs more and feel more connected to the brand. If we can help HQ communicate with store teams, there’s no reason why we can’t help a concrete company communicate with licensees or a restaurant brand communicate with its franchisees. We have a philosophy around communication that can work for many types of distributed organizations.

With these big decisions made, we then got down to brass tacks and tackled the visual brand identity. In the next post, Jessica Hewlett shares what we did and why it matters.

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