Vendr is a Series B SaaS buying platform funded by Tiger Global, SoftBank, Y Combinator, Sound Ventures, and Craft Ventures. Vendr created the SaaS buying category and is on a mission to build a better way to buy and sell software for high-growth companies, including HubSpot, Lattice, and Drift.
I joined the team as employee 130. Within 8 months, the organization grew to 250 employees. Vendr experienced tremendous growth during that time as a high-growth company and soon-to-be unicorn. It was clear the brand needed a refresh – to come out of the growth as a stronger, more mature business.
Vendr desired a cohesive, authentic, and unique brand that would continue to set them apart from growing competition. As the SaaS buying category creators, the longer they waited to perform this exercise, the harder it would be to continue leading the industry.
Three years and 280 employees after the company was created, the Vendr brand felt too young and generic for its tenure and position in the market. The visual presence across the website and supporting collateral felt disconnected and lacked cohesiveness and innovation, negatively affecting a consistent brand experience for Vendr’s audience.
Vendr also lacked authenticity with a way to stand out from the competition with a generic SaaS company look and feel, both from a visual and verbiage perspective.
Lastly, the company lacked a foundation upon which to grow and enhance the brand, resulting in poor and disconnected decision-making. With many varying opinions, fixing this was critical to a successful and strong long-term brand.
The goal of the project was two-fold: to evolve the Vendr brand by bringing intention to how we speak, write, and design, and formalize a process to make big decisions easier as we know more succinctly “who we are”.
To accomplish this, I followed three primary steps:
Step 1: Bring team leaders and stakeholders together
First, I identified the key Vendr stakeholders for the project. I was intentional about bringing together people from different backgrounds with a variety of specialties for diversity in thought.
I kicked off the process by making sure every person in the group was aligned on process and goals.
Step 2: Lead bi-weekly brand workshops
Over the course of 3 months, I scheduled and led workshops spanning two primary milestones: Discover and Application.
I kicked off the first milestone with sessions on company foundation (mission, vision, goals), personality (tone, values, culture), and audience & personas (department interviews, research and analysis, journey mapping). I closed this milestone out with clear next steps: gap analysis, jobs to be done, and a roadmap with recommendations.
Step 3: Take the data and create/present the new brand in phases
With the roadmap from “Discover”, I kicked off the second milestone which followed three key phases: design, website, and education.
I shared stylescapes ranging from:
Mild: super safe, expected
Medium: a little bit of innovation without pushing too many boundaries
Spicy: abstract, mind bending
This design phase introduced the new design system that defined the Vendr brand. The evolved design explored how to incorporate product illustrations in a branded, approachable and knowledgable way, instead of generic stock photography that told no story.
Next, I incorporated the new design system into the website starting with an existing site audit followed by a comprehensive site map. From there we built out pages, custom post types, animations, and integrations to bring it all together.
Change is not always easy. To ensure everyone at the company understood the why behind the changes and the process that took place, we put extensive documentation and resources together through lunch & learns, all-hands meetings, Slack, email, Coda/Notion, Confluence and more.
This added effort created a level of buy-in that communicated the new brand look and feel even further.
All stock photography was removed from the brand language, aside from blog posts, and replaced with new custom illustrations that showcased the product, from deals to workflows and more. To further push Vendr apart from generic SaaS designs, the new color palette was tested and applied to target the top ICPs (ideal customer personas).
The foundation rebrand process took 3 months. The brand direction evolved into an authentic, modern, and intentional design solution that served Vendr now and for the years to come.