Since its inception in 2011, Dynamic Yield has pushed the boundaries of personalization, introducing cutting-edge technology to allow brands to create highly targeted digital customer experiences, across any channel and device. The mission was to build a product that would empower brands and their teams, whether made up of marketers, product managers, data scientists, web analysts, conversion optimization experts, or merchandisers — to take their company’s personalization vision and transform it into a reality.
But as we would come to find out, the road to success required more than just a robust platform, it took a powerful and flexible brand to navigate the many hurdles that come with operating in such a nascent space. During nearly seven years of growth, Dynamic Yield has faced countless changes in the marketing tech landscape:
- The market has become even more saturated with point solutions trying to solve for singular pain points and marketing problems.
- The market has matured significantly, with practitioners becoming more knowledgeable and selective about the tools they employ.
Today, with a team of over 200 employees and more than 250 customers across the globe, Dynamic Yield has shifted its focus toward building a Personalization Anywhere™ platform. Under this second stage of our vision, new solutions will provide a unified view of the customer and allow for the creation of individualized experiences in both the online and offline worlds; from web, apps, and email, to kiosks, IoT, call centers and more.
As champions of digital transformation, we recognize the importance of a brand’s continuous evolution. We also know in order to inspire change, we must lead by example and set a precedent for others. It is in this vein, we decided to completely reimagine Dynamic Yield’s identity – our look, feel, sound, and even values alongside the work going into our platform.
The rebrand would involve the creation of a fresh visual language, forcing us to restructure all of our visual content and brand assets into a more adaptive and flexible system. New colors, typography, iconography, and language would be carefully combined to create a bold, contemporary, practical, and memorable identity that would allow our brand to grow, scale, and effectively communicate across all channels.
Welcome to our new brand!
The long road to rebranding, explained
The process of rebranding involves a lot of strategic thought, which is why we wanted to make sure we were asking the right questions before making any decisions. The big ones were:
- How do we differentiate our strengths and innovation in a saturated market?
- How do we effectively communicate the power of a single product with so many capabilities without confusing our audience?
Assessing our logo
To better understand how we were stacking up in the market, our first step was running a simple analysis of our logomark, colors, and language against dozens of competitors in our space. We tried to distill the characteristics of every logo, categorized by the color palette, face type, and styling in order to carefully examine each player in our space.
This method allowed us to clearly identify some of the issues with our own logomark, as well as the characteristics of logos that stand out using unique colors and noteworthy typeface.
This experience helped us understand the dynamics of the brand and the myriad of challenges we needed to address in the rebranding project. For example, we discovered that within our industry, competitors tended to embrace shades of blue to establish their visual tone. Because of the overreliance on these colors, we needed to look at shades that would disrupt the marketplace.
“Blue is most commonly associated with: calm, responsible, safe & reliable; and therefore a lot of technology companies tend to use it to encourage their users to feel more at ease with the brand. It’s also the most popular color among men and women which means it’s universally well-liked.” – Erica Mahoney, our Lead Designer
More than half of the logos we examined used blue as their dominant color, with nearly 70% of brands adopting a geometric sans-serif font like Gotham, Proxima Nova, Museo sans, or Monsterrat.
These insights led us to believe when placed among other brands, our previous logomark did not stand out enough. Our logo’s type-lockup looked weak at some points, especially when reduced to smaller sizes, the all-caps treatment made it hard to read, reduced the shape contrast for each word, and made everything look uniform and somewhat uninteresting.
Tackling our typeface
When analyzing our typeface, we realized some of our fonts only worked well as headline fonts but were too hard to read when used in large blocks of text. Knowing this, we wanted clean, readable fonts and the ability to play around with different types of fonts regardless of their similarities – granting us the freedom to create interesting contrasts when used together.
The resulting brandmark
With the results of our research, we were ready to piece together all of the components that would make up our new brandmark, a topic heavily philosophized over by our Brand Designer, Peter Barnard:
“The grid device has been refined to have sharper edges, losing the original rounded edges to create a bold statement. The use of lowercase lettering can be attributed to capital letters conflicting with the structure and hierarchy of the grid device. There should be an established, even flow between the grid device and wordmark in all scales. Capital lettering would also disrupt this flow. Lowercase lettering, especially in the case of Helvetica, has a timeless aesthetic and feels non-conformist, yet modern.
To create a truly responsive and flexible logo, the primary brandmark should be able to adapt and be malleable. The different components, from the icon to the lettering to the overall composition, should be able to be broken down and reassembled, with enough equity built into each piece to create a visual language that becomes instantly recognizable and akin to the company’s brand identity system.”
Blending our colors
Adding contrast to our color palette and including more light and dark tones was a top priority for us as we sought versatility with our designs. This meant new dominant colors helping us create a clear identity around our brand instead of relying on a single-color to communicate our identity. These had to be flexible, allowing us to present our brand as the dynamic company we say we are.
The high flexibility of the new system would also allow us to be more playful in creating different sub-brands under the Dynamic Yield umbrella:
Owning our product icons
Icons play such an important role in helping brands simplify how they communicate with their audiences, and it was critical that our iconography became true storytelling devices for us. But rather than adopting an entire set of generic icons, we opted to create our own abstract pieces – each distinct color and shape representing a core capability of the Dynamic Yield platform.
Not only does this framework give us control over our narrative, it also helps visitors differentiate more effectively between the key areas we provide services for within the product.
Learning the language
An invaluable extension of our brand, how we talk about our products and services would have to be re-written, refined, and documented in an effort to ensure consistency in communication with customers, partners, and the larger personalization space.
This important piece of the puzzle did not go without thought as our Lead Designer, Erica Mahoney, posed important questions before settling on any design decisions:
“Significant brand changes cannot be made unless the brand messaging is nailed down: What should we focus on in our messaging? Should the message be simple or complex? Confident or aggressive? What is the company “tagline” that should be communicated visually? Pending these decisions the brand will evolve to better match the messaging. It will guide us in picking new fonts, colors, patterns, and imagery. This will also prevent major design decisions being made based purely on personal taste.”
Shortly thereafter, our work on a tone and voice document commenced. Here, the essence of who we are in written word would be clearly outlined:
- The characteristics of our voice
- How we talk about ourselves and capabilities
- Why we talk the way we do
- The way to share information
- What matters to us in how we speak
Here’s just a small portion of what our Head of Content, Shana Pilewski, envisioned for us:
“Personalization may be trending, but for us, it’s more than just a phase. The way we talk about our brand, share ideas, insights, best practices, tactics and strategies has to be meaningful, purposeful and with an added value. We care about the experience you have with our brand, and we want to make a good impression, but our first priority is to inform you. We’re professionals and so are you, therefore, we wish to communicate in ways that reflect a mutual understanding of personalization’s importance in driving business growth and respect for establishing the skills and tools necessary to do so.”
Testing our new theories
After analyzing our logomark, typeface, and colors, we started rolling out small instances of the brand on our site, watching how users interacted with both new and old versions, what they clicked on, how they interacted with our web pages, etc. We carefully analyzed the web analytics data, generated mouse click heat mapping reports, reviewed recorded browsing sessions, and more in order to identify the impact on our overall user experience.
In collecting hypotheses, we started generating ideas around how our website design and messaging could be clearer, more structured, and as transparent as possible. Data has always been core to the decisions we make, and so as a company that thrives on a culture of experimentation, we began testing some of these hypotheses by launching split-level tests on different areas of our old website. For example, as the market has become more mature and knowledgeable on personalization, we felt the old approach of showing website mockups to illustrate use cases and capabilities was outdated, limiting, and distracting. To see how people would react to pages with fewer mockups and visuals, we re-skinned some of our old web pages and took an information-first approach.
Of these few experiments, one hypothesis proved to be right – the new page template that had more information and less visuals experienced a better chance to convert, scroll depth and engagement metrics on the new page, Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate, and Exit Rate all had improved dramatically. And for us, this was a huge indication that we were on the right path to making data-driven assertions about our website redesign.
Besides experimenting with the new website, we also collected valuable feedback from industry peers, fellow marketers, customers as well as leading branding experts who shared ideas with us on different methodologies and exploratory techniques. It was a long process that included countless internal meetings to discuss the progress we were making and to shine a light on new, alternative directions.
A brand reflective of our growth and potential
Good design focuses on solving real problems – it isn’t just a visual treatment or about personal tastes in design. We believe the Dynamic Yield brand is more than a color, font, logo, or design style; the brand mirrors our values, people, and commitment to innovation.
Our primary objective with this brand refresh was to mature the Dynamic Yield brand. To create a consistent, scalable, and bold brand identity that would allow us to communicate in a clear, relatable, and fun way – honoring the existing Dynamic Yield etiquette while at the same time, projecting a strong vision of the future.
The work that went into this rebranding was an elaborate team effort, requiring seamless orchestration between various functions on the team, from content to design, development, all the way to product marketing. A project which was able to take root and bear fruit thanks to the amazing talents on our Marketing team.
I see this as a new beginning, not a destination, but a direction for what the Dynamic Yield brand may become in the future.