Can rebranding help a company shed an outdated brand image? How does it cast off a brand voice that no longer speaks to today’s market place?
Milestone Systems is an INC 5000 company supplying network security hardware and services. Their existing brand was limiting how they were perceived. Since they’d outgrown their existing brand and needed to redefine who they were to existing (and new) customers, they opted to undergo a rebrand.
Recently, Julie Rumsey of Milestone Systems was interviewed to walk us through how the Milestone brand overcame being pigeonholed and lumped together with their competition.
The Rebranding of an INC 5000 Company
Q: What situations made Milestone consider a rebrand?
A: The Milestone Systems brand had been designed when the company was founded in the year 2000. Over time, our service offerings and go-to-market strategies changed substantially. We grew from a tiny start-up in the founder’s basement to a major supplier of network security hardware and services. The old brand simply did not convey a meaningful message anymore.
The brand analysis on the rebrand uncovered a total aspect of our business from the customer’s viewpoint that we’d altogether forgotten about. Like our competitors, our focus was on what we were selling and not at all on what the customer was getting, or why they’d need our services. (The following video tells that story.)
A look at the old brand and the new brand in the reception area.
Q: In the marketplace, were there misconceptions about the Milestone Systems brand?
A: Yes. We became very well known for supplying F5 Networks (a specific brand) hardware as well as a full wrapper of services around F5, including training and 24/7 technical support. But, F5 isn’t the only technology Milestone provides. We’re also a reseller and authorized training center for nine other network security technologies.
Q: Did this have an impact on the company culture, in terms of there being a clear, unified vision within the company itself?
A: Indeed. We lacked a unified story. Even the sales team all explained the company in different ways. Customers were given an inconsistent picture of who we are and what we offer. Some customers knew us for only one thing, while other customers knew us for another. Our brand didn’t communicate the full value of what we could provide for customers.
Now with the new brand, every employee understands what effect his/her daily work has on the success of our customers.
Q: What did the new rebrand do to clarify the Milestone brand?
A: Our rebrand statement took the focus off product and pricing and instead placed the emphasis on the value we bring our customers’ businesses.
In one of our early conversations, David sat with me and went over, “What matters is what we make possible, not how we get there or what we do. As long as we make a positive outcome and realize our brand is only a means to an end, we won’t veer off-course.” In the brand analysis that was conducted, it was discovered we had this completely untold story, not only to prospective customers but also to our internal employees.
That story has now been sifted through and made 100% crystal clear regarding what our products and services make possible for our customers: (a) for customers to run their businesses securely, which then (b) has a positive, tangible and measurable impact on their customers, stakeholders and internal personnel totaling millions of people who can run their operations smoothly, confidently, and without concern.
The New Voice and Its
Impact on Corporate Culture
Q: How was the revamped brand introduced to the employees?
What impact did this have upon Milestone and its employees?
A: DBD International created a brief video illustrating the amazing capabilities we enable for our customers with our work and our technologies, crystallizing in the minds of our employees across the USA the benefits that our work achieves. The video provided employees with a broader viewpoint of how what they do affects other people’s lives.
The brilliance of the video is that it tells in just over 2 minutes the reason customers choose us. And this became our tagline: Securing the lifeblood of today’s fast-moving companies.
Q: How did the rebrand help to differentiate Milestone from its competitors?
A: Our competitive landscape is tough; a lot of companies sell what we sell. We like to think we have a “special sauce” to add to the hardware we sell, but our previous brand didn’t reflect that.
Our competitors talk about product features and prices. Our new brand emphasizes what our competitors aren’t talking about: how our engineering and products secure the lifeblood of our customers’ business.
Most dramatically, the Milestone Website will go from product-focused and cluttered to customer-focused in a minimalistic, refined and user-friendly format. That change will be a dramatic, 180-degree transformation.
Q: Any other anecdotes concerning the brand roll-out?
A: We’ll be completing the full roll-out during the first week of August.
We created as part of this rebrand an internal campaign that takes the concepts and stories referenced in the video into 3’ x 5’ posters throughout our office to serve as a daily reminder of all that we make possible.
And internally, employees are reignited about the new updated brand presentation. I’ve heard from one employee, “It looks so stylish and distinctive. Not like our competitors at all.” While another employee, after seeing the video, commented, “I didn’t know we did all that!”
It’s amazing what a brand can do when all the fluff and fat is removed to reveal its essence.
Five additional rebrand case studies you may find of interest:
- Botanical Bakery: How a Napa Valley Company Ignored Tradition (and Tripled Sales)
- Accessory Snobs rebrand: How the Wrong Logo Nearly Destroyed my Marriage
- Coco Polo Chocolate: Chocolate Makeover at the Fancy Food Show
- City of Osceola: 12.3 Billion Reasons Tourism Branding Makes Sense (the branding of a city)
- Glob Colors: Oscar Night, Prom Disasters and Rebranding