To parallel the changes to our website and additions to our product, we knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to reevaluate how we share Formstack’s “story”.
How are we currently representing ourselves? Does it reflect our culture, our principles, our general personalities? And how can we make it consistent among our marketing content, social media interactions, and customer engagement? Heck, how can we even make it fuel the way our teams communicate and collaborate?
These were all things we needed to research and develop together, as a team. And choosing a time when we’re creating a new website and developing new tools seemed like perfection.
You may be reading that and think – “Well this sounds like an old-fashioned rebrand, my friend.” And yes, there are quite a few similarities between our process and an official “rebrand”. However, instead of a rebrand, we decided to call this project a “restory”.
Well, a “rebrand” implied that we wanted to change or alter our image. And even though we were going through a lot of changes – this most certainly did not mean that we wanted to change our brand. In fact, we wanted to use these opportunities to more actively share our current one. Also, most people view a “rebrand” as something that merely affects just the brand marketing. We wanted to do something bigger than that; we wanted to develop a strategy that not only helps us externally with our customers, but also something that helps refuel our teams.
So instead of focusing on how we can alter how people view us, we found it more effective to take our current culture, customer relationships, general reputation, etc. and add intentional direction and pizzazz, if you will. We wanted to figure out ways we could harness some of that positive energy into marketing, development, and customer experience. We wanted to find better ways to tell our story.
What’s great about a restory is that it is something you can do today, right now. It doesn’t have to involve an overhaul of your marketing strategies. It doesn’t mean you need to pay someone thousands of dollars to develop a new logo or slogan. And it most certainly doesn’t have to be something you do all at once.
Here are four simple things you can do today to kickstart your restory project:
1. Go to the source: Interview your customers. One of the first things we did when we started this project was developing a customer survey. We had an incredible response rate and were pleased to find out our customers had so many positive things to say about our product and our team. This was a great way to start the project because it reiterated the fact that people do love their experience, and we could leverage our customers to help share that to the public. We could also repurpose a lot of these comments into marketing content, bettering the way we tell our story.
2. NEVER underestimate your support team. Often times, other companies see their support team as second-class citizens. They answer phones all day. They create and close out tickets. They ask your development team a lot of questions. The list goes on. However, imagine you’re playing Clue. And you have to figure out the secrets in order to expose the truth of who really did kill Mrs. Peacock with a frying pan in the library? Okay, a bit dramatic. But the point is, you need allies that can help you solve this tormenting mystery. And the mystery you’re presented with every day is “How can I keep my customers happy?”
Well just remember. Your support team is the one place you can figure out the mystery more quickly and effectively than anywhere else. They are your secret weapon full of information. Again. NEVER DISREGARD THEM.
Ask them questions about popular customer issues. Let them share some of their stories (good and bad). When we interviewed our customer experience team, we found a goldmine of great content and useful tips on how we can better our product.
3. Define and keep track of your principles. Here at Formstack, we rely heavily on our SAFE (Simple, Agile, Fun, Elegant) principles. In the past, they were definitely important, but moving forward, we’ve thought of ways this “SAFE” mentality can be the birthplace to all product developments, marketing strategies, and customer engagement modules.
Our team created a “SAFE” chart that allows us to make sure we are always staying focused on what we find important. From communication to product development, you want to create something your team can go back to and ask the question, “Does this reflect our cultural and foundational principles?”
4. Goals don’t have to be boring. When we developed our site, we wanted to A) follow our principles of being simple, agile, fun and elegant, B) develop a clear path of understanding and product education, and C) make it more than just about gaining conversions.
Goals don’t always have to be tied to sales. During our restory period, we developed larger team goals that penetrated our issues to its core – how can we make the product experience not just about the actual product? Our goals were to find areas of opportunity to educate, nurture and celebrate our customer through not just a great product and website, but through effective and fun customer engagement and experience.
Find other ways you can create a connection with your users. While you’re at it, find ways you can create connections between teams. The more you focus on creating an integrated product that takes customer support and engagement as serious as fundamental product features, the better result you will have.
So, you see – creating a restory project isn’t difficult. It’s just about uncovering areas that you may not have seen before. If you’re thinking you need a brand refresh, that’s great. But if you feel like all you need is a new way to tell your story, try out these steps above and see where that takes you. You don’t always need a pivotal change for your brand. Sometimes, it just takes a little education, nurturing, and celebration to make your current brand the source of a really, really awesome story.