The Perils & Pleasures of Rebranding: The Puppet Story

The Perils Pleasures of Rebranding The Puppet Story FI The Perils & Pleasures of Rebranding: The Puppet Story

Launch timing for a rebrand

PAIGE:

What did your timeline look like? The day of your launch, did everything just roll out, the website, all your social profiles, all the email templates, all your eBooks or what have you? Or did you do a phased approach based on the most consumed or trafficked web pages, or downloaded content?

SUZAME:

We looked at this from a strategic standpoint: beyond the actual look and feel of the company drastically changing, what kind of message did we want to send out, how did we want to reposition ourselves? And what would be the best environment or conditions to help us do that?

We started thinking about what could we capitalize on; we thought about our next product release. Were there any partnerships that were coming to fruition that we could also announce around the same time?

So looking at this holistically – so that we could amplify the results – it was much more than a brand switch, but more like a significant shift for the company. We wanted to make it clear that we were flipping the page into a new chapter and a new decade of Puppet. And that took a lot more than just the look and feel standpoint.

To answer your question though, in terms of how we got started, it was identifying all the priority public-facing materials that you just mentioned, and working through what we had the capacity to update and not update internally, as well as just laying the groundwork across all the departments in the company, and listing a point person for the brand in each department who could make budget decisions, resource decisions, and was enlisted into making sure we executed.

We did flip everything at the same time. We were here at 2:00 a.m. to start flipping all the switches so that we would be able to have the most coordinated effort as possible across every aspect. Because we were doing press releases as well, new company positioning was rolled out, and the product announcements, those types of things. So it all got pulled off smoothly.

PAIGE:

And was this April 7th of this year [2016] that the new rebrand went public, all the campaigns and such?

SUZAME:

Yes.

PAIGE:

Just going back, from that date, the timeline beforehand, are we talking months, are we talking years, of the planning that went into that before the day of launch?

SUZAME:

It was months of planning. There were definitely scenarios in which I could imagine it taking a year or years if you’re a much bigger company than Puppet is.

Having the runway is incredibly important in terms of getting employees to wrap their hands around it and support what is a drastic change. Because a lot of our identity is in the jobs that we do in the company we work for. So changing Puppet’s brand went a lot deeper because we had a lot of people who had worked for Puppet for a long time and it was near and dear to their hearts – our “Puppet Labs” and the beaker logo.

One lesson from that, for me, is to cherish and respect what has come before, and don’t discard it. I made it clear that we will keep seeing the old logo, people will keep wearing their Puppet Labs tee shirts. That’s expected and that’s not a surprise. And it’s okay for people to still love their favorite hoodie and that type of thing. What we don’t want is in the public market to keep seeing the old logo.

PAIGE:

What did you do internally to activate that, to get employees excited about the change?

SUZAME:

The word had spread as we had expected it to from people socializing it. We ended up hosting a lunch and learn.

All of the meetings at Puppet are live streamed and recorded for our offices around the world. So that was a great way to ensure that our global employees were able to participate in that sense or to get the message even though they may not have been in the right time zone. We did a big unveil with Luke. We did that in November [2015], even though we launched in April [2016].

So you can imagine all the risks that could have happened when hundreds of employees knew what was happening. There wasn’t a single leak. I think that says a lot about Puppet employees being really jazzed up about it, and wanting to help pull this off successfully.

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