Pocket Rocket Agency

Blue color, faceless websites, soft/solutions in the naming. What's wrong with the IT branding?

When creating an IT company, a logo and a free domain are usually enough to start working. Then the company grows, forms its own concept, strategy… and the logo, website and domain name can no longer convey the company's spirit.

Here you will find the interview with Denis Trusila, Creative Director and CEO of our agency.
What is the problem with IT-brands?
The most common problem among IT brands – is when the company is more mature and evolved than it positions itself on the market. Visually the company may be dull, while being a paradise inside: with a super horizontal structure, well-tuned workflow, training system, party 24/7, etc. But, let's say, you as a candidate enter a typical landing page and cannot figure out what the company actually is: a place full of professionals with a cool management? Can it be of any interest to a senior? Or is it a company with lots of junior level programmers, education programs, corporate events and fun? This is the moment when a brand helps the potential employee to understand if he or she wants to work at this place, even before the interview.
Many IT companies don't know who they are and what their strong suit is.
This is the reason why they all are identically blue, with similar names like 'soft' and 'solution'. This facelessness interferes with hiring new people and competing in new markets.

Pretty often we see outfashioned, visually inconsistent design. The website can be designed in one manner, the presentations in another, social networks – different from the two above. When you put it all together, it seems like these are different brands, or, to be precise, no brand at all.
Could you please criticize some IT-brands a bit?

Product companies have less issues with positioning: the product generally has a brand strategy and visual identity. Take, for instance, Wargaming. Everyone knows what the Tanks game is, the company's products look uniform, they are consistent – everything is OK. Such companies most often look good, no questions. Among the downsides, they often don't pay enough attention to human resources. They don't show that not only bearded tank lovers work there, but there are also other departments that need people with different skills. But, in the case of Wargaming, as I remember it, everything is good in all aspects; it is a huge and dynamic company.

ISsoft is an example of a neutral IT-brand. It is neither good, nor bad. The brand is simple, and that's cool. At the same time, it is difficult to distinguish them from others: such websites, as they have, are countless: everything is user-friendly, sorted in blocks – just like everywhere else. We see that ISsoft tries hard and updates regularly, but these updates usually don't work long enough. In a year it becomes evident that the site is outdated again.

A well thought-out brand strategy and identity that highlight the company's uniqueness can live 5-7 years.

We can assess companies by comparing their goals and the way they represent themselves. For example, iTechArt, as I know, orients on people and expanding the team. This implies a B2B-style website, very structural, fresh and clean, but their positioning "remarkable people" fails. All in all, the brand is interesting and fresh, but as I see it, lacking personality.

Probably, it is made intentionally, as they want to put themselves on the B2B market this way. But there is a way out: to achieve more communication, one can make two different pages: one for headhunting purposes, and one for B2B. If the goals are multiple, then it pays off to address every part of the target audience separately. People need more emotions, insights: who works for the company and how, which values do they share, how the leader looks and talks, which departments there are – the employees care about that. But most important is that all these tools help the HR department to make their job easier.

The Itransition looks very complicated! The site is very good and smart. They refreshed it for their anniversary in 2018, added a new gradient and a visual. But this is an example of what gets outdated pretty soon. That's why at some point they will have to update again.

Let's examine Andersen – the case of a company, looking very different from the competitors. If we imagine that you, as a candidate, have been through 20 interviews in different IT companies, you would probably still remember Andersen. The company's naming is catchy and reminds of something fairy, and the logo itself is very emotional compared to those of the other big IT-companies. On the other hand, companies having particles "soft" and "solution" can be easily mixed up.
What about your branding cases?
Often a client comes to us and asks, for instance, to correct a logo: switch it from green to something more trendy – pink, for example. But the color is not the point.
One should look at a brand as a whole thing, with its values and strategy. The color is just a tip of the iceberg.
We look through all the issues and put things in order. First, the agency does research on how things are going with HR, B2B, B2C brands and other factors. This is the key to understanding a brand's problems.

At the research stage we define the company's values. We interview employees on different positions, then we gather the top management for a strategic session where we find out what the company is about, which goals they pursue, and what drives their development.

Rebranding is most often requested in the following cases: entering a new market and upscaling. Sometimes it is a qualitatively new spin of the company's development: when the money is earned steadily, there comes a desire to work better, and creating a brand can become the new step forward. Also, the company can set up an R&D department which will initiate some changes and improvements.

Among things we had a hand in is the ITRex company. The guys looked pretty ordinary on the market. They had a bright name, but it wasn't related to the company's concept or values. We worked out a brand identity and a communication strategy.
We found out: this company is hungry for challenges.
And they really took on the hardest tasks fearlessly. It all gathered into one concept. We got positive feedback from both the employees and the marketing department. Recently a manager who is now working in ITRex, told us that she had been looking for a job but hadn't been publishing her CV – just browsing IT companies' websites and choosing where to apply. So she found ITRex and soon started to work there. This is a story of how a brand brought the company a new team member by just clicking once on the website.

We often face clients, who are unaware of what branding is. If the company is small or middle-sized, then the team's knowledge can be insufficient, and their views can be a bit too conservative. Some say they want to remain blue as this is the color of the industry. We have a method, specially designed for that! We pay a lot of attention to educating clients, showing them references and discussing why they are good and how they work. The ITRex guys initially had blue as their main color, but we offered yellow as an alternative. The client got fired up, and we used that variant.
I guess, it is the most difficult and the most interesting: to share your expertise in branding and to be heard.
Another one of our successful cases is the Wanna company. The guys are one of the leaders in AR technologies for the fashion industry. Earlier the company's name was wanna.by, and the domain name was also wanna.by. But there was a problem: if in Belarus wanna.by was OK, in the USA this name produced ambiguous associations we wanted to avoid. After a strategic session we offered to refuse from the 'by' in the ending, and found a new domain – wanna.fashion.
They visually mismatched their partners, and it was a pain for the business development and design departments. The company went through an upscaling stage, they were entering new markets and wanted to work with major fashion industry players worldwide. But their image didn't lead to selling technologies with a big margin. Initially they were selling the product as a technology, but the task was to make the brand and its identity speak the customer's language.

We helped Wanna with that, and created a strategy. In fact, we made something kind of what Zuckerberg did, when he created a meta universe. Wanna sells AR/VR try-on technology; the technology develops rapidly, but has no name of its own. We called it Fashion ARketing (as a mix of AR and marketing technologies).
This is a smart solution – to give a name to a whole industry, take leadership in it and associate it with the company's name.
It all sounds inspiring, but how can it be measured?
Having worked a while, we understood that the final idea of branding is not the brandbook, but a strategy, identity and the team's ability to understand and use it to achieve goals.

We make pitches, explain our strategy: why it is as it is, why we choose this particular visual instead of another, how to use the new identity, which meanings it conveys, and so on. And we support the client three month after, staying in touch with the departments, and watch how the identity is implemented. We check if everything is OK, if it needs adjustments, how the sales go with the new instruments, what may be lacking in the process.

Our benchmark is the growth of the rebranded company. Normally IT companies grow by 10-20% a year. But branding can help them grow up to 300% within a year, two or three. It is impossible to give precise metrics of the brand's effectiveness, but earlier we already stated that the brand becomes an additional instrument for sales, headhunting, entering new markets, conquering new audiences, scaling, IPO, increasing average customer value, etc.

Here we understand that effectiveness is measured according to the branding goals and objectives. Everything becomes clear – how to estimate the brand's effectiveness. The client's feedback tells us it works.
This is the reason why they all are identically blue, with similar names like 'soft' and 'solution'. This facelessness interferes with hiring new people and competing in new markets.

Pretty often we see outfashioned, visually inconsistent design. The website can be designed in one manner, the presentations in another, social networks – different from the two above. When you put it all together, it seems like these are different brands, or, to be precise, no brand at all.