In May of this year, we launched a new company brand. It was the result of a year-long labour of love, full of research, interviews, exploration and refinement, and we’re incredibly proud of and happy with the results.
This post explores the work that went into the rebrand, and can hopefully help others in their branding process. We learned so much from reading articles, and are excited to share our process with the community.
door2door is a mobility tech company with a clear vision: aiming at a world beyond cars, traffic and emissions. We partner with public transport organisations, city governments and taxi companies to bring on-demand ridepooling services to the streets. We’ve been in this industry for a few years now and have seen it expand and mature as new players are entering the market and the mindset around car ownership shifted. As a company, we’ve also grown. Just over a year and a half ago, we began to feel the need for an adjustment to our branding. It didn’t reflect our dynamic and innovative approach and was blending into the other companies joining the industry. All in all, our brand looked too conservative and didn’t allow us to be as creative as we wanted to be.
And so we decided that it was time for a change. The rebrand was done in-house as a collaboration between design and marketing. The branding team lead the process through the discovery, ideation and development phases.
The Discovery Phase
It all began with the ‘Discovery Phase’: getting to know the company better, the motivation of the founders to build it, and really getting to know the target audience. Here are a few key things we did:
- We interviewed our founders, Tom and Maxim, and asked them everything from what they wanted to be when they grew up to where they see the company in 2030
- We sent surveys to various colleagues to gain insights on our three main target groups: customers, investors and job candidates
- We held a customer discovery workshop to define the characteristics, motivations, media outlets and commonly used products and services of our customers
- We explored door2door’s presence across social media and news, in comparison to that of our competitors
To better understand our target groups and get real insights into what their actual needs are, we involved the people that interact with them most frequently. We interviewed our People team about candidates and culture, our Growth team about customers and markets and our Finance team about investors. These were our two key questions:
- What do customers/investors/candidates want to see from our company? What attributes are they looking for in a partner/employer?
- Do you have insights on why customers/investors/candidates have chosen not to move forward with us in the past?
The conversations we had during the Discovery Phase helped us better understand the direction in which we wanted to take the brand. And having this knowledge helped us make confident decisions throughout the rebrand process. We reflected back on our interview notes multiple times, always checking back to ask if the brand was solving the problem it needed to.
The research process was essential to gaining a stronger understanding of door2door and helped us to define our goal for the rebrand:
To create a brand that stands apart from competitors, is approachable to customers and candidates and communicates our team’s visionary and passionate nature.
Defining our company values
Having a strong and clear idea of where the company was going, the next step was to define our company values. The foundation were the values that already existed: Ambition, Courage and Empathy. These were very strong values and served us well. However, they always felt more internal than external, which led to confusion. We wanted instead to define one set of values that would be relevant for all sides of the company.
To define the company values, we turned to our entire team for help. We felt that the people who are part of the company and work on the products everyday are the ones with the most insights when it comes to values.
We posted large sheets of blank paper in our Berlin office, offered a digital version for our remote colleagues and asked two questions:
- If door2door were a person, how would you describe it?
- What words would you want our customers to associate with our company?
The two questions guided us to understand the current versus desired perception of our company, and captured the topic of values without asking point-blank ‘what do you think our values should be?’. We loaded all of the team responses into a spreadsheet and clustered them into common themes.
The responses were incredibly valuable and helped us understand where our team wanted the company to be. After all, values should be something you aspire to.
After expanding our view of the company, we brought it back to a focus. Our branding team distilled the findings and began to narrow in on key words and areas of focus. We followed Simon Sinek’s example and answered the following questions:
- Why are we doing what we do?
- How are we doing it?
- What are we doing?
Using these answers alongside our insights from the Discovery Phase, we were able to define our company values. We landed on three values that we felt best fit door2door: Visionary, Impactful and Collaborative.
These newly defined values alongside the ‘Why-How-What’ answers helped us to begin playing around with brand concepts. We explored different ‘territories’ before presenting three of them to our key stakeholder, Maxim, our Co-CEO and Founder. We looked at the territories in their relation to our current brand. This helped both ourselves and our stakeholders to understand the abstract concepts we were presenting.
We wanted to get Maxim’s thoughts on how far we could push the new brand. We walked him through three high-level concepts, ranging from a safe choice (Evolution), to a more organic one (Shapes) and finally to a very techy option (Intersection).
Maxim cautioned us on alienating our audience (public transport companies, governments and taxi companies) with something too different from what they are used to; which was a good reminder to look back to the goal of our rebrand. While we wanted to stand out, we didn’t want to stand out so much that we scared our audience away. Approachability is a core aspect of our company, and the brand needed to reflect that.
We moved forward with something a bit in between ‘Evolution’ and ‘Shapes’ — a direction we creatively named ‘Shape Evolution’. Our visual design team now let loose: playing around with squares, circles, blobs and squiggles. We slowly narrowed in, choosing what we were liking and eliminating what we weren’t, until we had a few directions to present to Maxim.
We printed a business card for each logo option, so Maxim could really get a feel for the mark.
The chosen mark is an evolution of our infinity symbol from our previous logo. It symbolises dynamic motion and partnership as an abstraction of a handshake, and to top it off — features the two D’s from our company name.
Once we had a direction, we moved quickly, splitting the team into refinement and ideation groups. While the refinement group finalised the logomark, the ideation group defined a set of three visual design principles for the brand: Simple, Approachable and Engaging. These three principles informed every decision we made: from choosing a typeface to defining the illustration style and tone of voice.
We defined key brand elements to respond to our design principles:
- Images and colour blocks are cropped along a upward angled curve: for us, the curve evokes a feeling of curiosity, almost like a curtain to peek behind
- Shapes are inspired by city features that customers are familiar and comfortable with: roads, roundabouts and bridges
- Icons and illustrations are based on the concept of building blocks; a modular system reflective of our product offering
- Simplicity is the driver for our illustrative style and messaging; everything must be boiled down to the simplest form possible
- Infographics are key to the brand visuals, encouraging conversation and interest in our work and vision
Once we had a simple set of brand guidelines defined, we began creating a multitude of brand materials. We wanted to ensure there were materials for both internal and external use, and had a blast playing around with t-shirts, notebooks and stickers at the same time as stationary and wayfinding.
Internal Brand Launch
Throughout the branding process, the team was made aware of the changes were being made in the following ways:
- Introduction to brand change topic at Town Hall meeting, providing a high level overview of what we were reviewing
- Presentation on the topic ‘What is Brand?’ giving insight into what a brand is and does, and why we were changing ours
- Frequent meetings with the leadership team to ensure alignment and gather feedback
- Small-group brand presentations to see where confusion arose and what questions/concerns came up before presenting our outcome to the entire company
- Full company presentation of the new brand, going back to the discovery phase before showing the final outcome
It was very important for us that the team feels that it’s their brand too. We knew that there was a high emotional attachment to the previous brand and we didn’t want anyone to feel ‘left out’ of a the new brand, which is why we included the team in many parts of the process and always shared our thinking with them.
When it was finally time to reveal the new brand, we wanted the brand launch to feel special for the team, and so paired our presentation with a big company lunch.
The brand was presented, and we provided space for questions and general conversation around the change. It was great to see the happy reactions from the team!
The external brand launch was celebrated internally with branded cupcakes, stickers, new on-brand colour codes for Slack and adorable invitations to some after-work bubbly. The new brand was a major milestone for the entire company and we wanted to make sure the launch day felt exciting for everyone. Our brand reflects the visionary, impactful and collaborative nature of everyone in the team, and I couldn’t be happier to have such good people around to share the success with!
A huge thanks to the amazing team that worked on the rebrand: Allegra Parlavecchio, Emmeline Meborn-Hubbard, Lidia Fabian and Vincent Riess. It wouldn’t have been possible without any of you!
Follow our design team on dribbble to see some more rebrand posts!