A few years ago Extreme Networks acquired rival Enterasys to create a new company that was double the size of either of the original entities. This sent a shockwave through the industry and put Extreme on the map as it started to rise from a slew of small players and begin to take on the heavyweights in the networking industry.
The challenge: announce to the world that this new Extreme is ready to play.
The real challenge: We had 90 days to launch this new brand identity.
We were told the name and the color (purple) were staying. Otherwise, we had 90 days to rebrand and roll out the new brand identity and vision across everything. After 90 days, nothing was to remain from the previous companies’ marketing. Sales presentations, marketing collateral, signage, business cards, trade show booths, water bottles, everything. It all had to be redone in 90 days.
Oh, and on the day of the announcement, we were also going to announce a partnership with the NFL, roll out our largest product launch, broadcast an analyst live-stream panel, and launch a new website.
Ready, set, just go!
I had been part of Enterasys, but in the new entity, I was in charge of the branding efforts. This meant my team had a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time. We brought in agency partners to help offload where we could.
My primary role was to ensure that everyone was delivering a consistent message and experience across all of these new brand assets. We developed a new brand personality and new style guides for copy, design, and web. We developed the messaging and materials to empower our front-line salespeople to make sure they were telling the new story. We were ripping off the band-aid. It was more of a relaunch of the company than a rebrand. We might have done new personas at this time, but I can’t really remember if we did it during these three months, or immediately after.
One more thing, we ran an online contest to help crowdsource the voting for our final file. With enough votes, we were going to give away a Tesla S!
After we rolled out this new brand identity, I was at my first Partner Conference. During one of the breaks, a Sr. Director came out and gave me a big bear hug. He said, “People will look at us (Extreme) differently now and it’s because of the work you’re doing!” He was so happy that we had a strong visual brand, and it would convey to our customers, prospects, partners, and analysts that we should be taken seriously. If a company is willing to put this level of effort into visual branding, it must really invest in its products.
Years later we started a customer event that helped lead to even greater brand affinity.