Growing tech startup company gets Danish design makeover
SmartRG is a B2B tech startup company that offers customized home networking solutions to Internet service providers around the world. This includes WiFi gateways, routers, modems, and software management tools. Originally, SmartRG was spun off as its own company from the acquisition of ClearAccess by Cisco in May of 2012. Since the company’s inception in 2012, SmartRG experienced record growth with the employee count doubling from 16 to 32, and revenue from $10.1 to $18.9 million in 2014. SmartRG was coming into its own and it was time to raise its brand presence to be on par with other hot startups.
The new brand needed to appeal most importantly to B2B customers and consumers, and also to the SmartRG team as well. Interestingly enough, the biggest obstacle facing the branding overhaul was from some internal stakeholders who were unsure about what value the change would bring. Other team members knew that even in the face of resistance, SmartRG needed it and they knew there was a way to win over all parties, which thankfully happened in the end.
Strategy and Execution
Eskild Hansen had contracted his industrial design services with SmartRG in 2013, and then in January 2014, he officially signed on as SmartRG’s Chief Creative Officer. His main marketing goal from the get-go was to create a new identity for the company that represented the “new SmartRG” from a cultural and technological standpoint. SmartRG needed to have its customers, end users and employees see the brand in a new light. The energy and the excitement of SmartRG’s technical capabilities needed to come across in a strong, yet approachable way.
To kick start the project, Kelley Brox, Marketing Manager at SmartRG flew over in July to work with Eskild’s team for a week in their studio in Copenhagen. A month after she returned and several long Skype sessions later, the logo was finalized in August 2014 with full approval from the SmartRG management team. Immediately after that, there was a huge rush to rebrand everything needed to prepare for the biggest trade show of the year, which was a few short months later in October. This show attracted SmartRG’s biggest customers and was the perfect venue for launching the new branding.
Results and Outcomes
Qualitatively speaking, when the new logo was unveiled in October 2014, Eskild and Kelley received many positive written and verbal comments from SmartRG employees, customers and partners that were all very impressed with the change. The new brand’s success can be quantified through an increase in social media following and increase in media attention. For comparison in social media, SmartRG currently has 71 Twitter followers vs. 26 in October 2014. SmartRG also currently has 98 Facebook page likes vs. 84 in October 2014.
In April 2015, SmartRG won the Vancouver Business Journal’s SW Washington Business Growth Award for “2014 Fastest Growing Company 1-5 Years.” Additionally in early May 2015, President and CEO of SmartRG, Jeff McInnis, became a finalist for the Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Pacific Northwest Region award. In June of 2015, SmartRG also was ranked #67 on the Portland Business Journal’s top 100 fastest growing companies in the Portland metropolitan area.