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Rebranding: Do It Right With These Tips by Paperform

Roberto Popolizio
You may want to completely change the look and feel of one of your products, or even of your entire brand, to make it better resonate with your customers, and that’s good, but remember that rebranding is not just about changing your logo at the right time.

You need to carefully weigh the benefits against the risks of such an extreme marketing move, and that’s easier said than done.

What can help is to study your niche, and learn from those who have taken the leap before you, and that’s what we are going to do in this interview with Diony McPherson, co-founder of Paperform.

We will discover their reasons for rebranding, what they expect to achieve, and how they managed the issues that may come with this change.

What made you choose to rebrand?

Paperform has come a long way since its conception in 2016 at the kitchen table. Starting with the dream of transforming the way small businesses do work, we have evolved from a simple form builder into a digital Swiss Army Knife that our community uses to build everything. From appointment forms, registration pages and quizzes to custom software for managing yoga studios and flower shops, we customise to your individual needs. 

We’ve always known who we are as a company, what we stand for, and what we want to achieve. But, to be frank, we haven’t always been sure how to best share that with the world. As we grew, so did the need for distinct brand guidelines. 

With each additional team member, we realised our product team needed more guidance on design and messaging. Our support team needed to know how to talk to users in a “Paperform way”, and our Marketing team desperately needed a single source of truth for their campaigns. 

So what is going to change other than your logo?

Of course, the most noticeable change is our logo. The kaleidoscopic badge represents the diversity of its digital tools to create an infinite number of beautiful solutions. 

However, we delved deeper than that. We wanted to build a solid foundation to define our brand, keep it consistent, and showcase the real Paperform online. At the end of the day, rather than a rebrand, this was always more of a revamp – it’s the same Paperform our users know and love, but all grown up. With that in mind, we updated all of our messaging and visual identity, including:

Vision and Mission – We want to bring business owners back to life. Our mission is to turn your work/life balance back into a life/work balance so you can do more of the things you love.

Visual identity – logo, brand colors, font types, imagery, site, ads, etc. Yellow now heroes Paperform’s pages replacing their old blue. They accompanied it with a range of shades like “Midnight”, “Dusk”, and “Cloud”, which better represent the countless creative solutions that their users have created with the product. The simple new typeface strikes a balance between digital and warm. The recent whimsical bend in the ‘a’ is a sly nod to Paperfrom’s transformative abilities.

Product – we rolled out our new visual identity across the Product, and made a number of UI improvements.

Internal documentation – design workflows and best practices were updated across the team, and we also updated our brand guidelines and better articulated our core values. Our core values have always been:

  • Compassion and kindness
  • Arguing well and assuming the best in others
  • People and product-focused
  • Self Discipline
  • Championing Autonomy 
Messaging across everything in light of our brand positioning

After a lot of research (over 800 customers surveyed!), we found that users recognised Paperform for its combination of brains and beauty. While most form builders are either design-friendly or built with power features, Paperform combines both. Where other tools limit their offering to one another, we care just as much about both. We’re a digital Swiss army knife. 

What benefits do you expect to see from this change?

Of course, the most noticeable change is our visual makeover; however, we delved deeper. We wanted to build a strong foundation to define our brand, keep it consistent and concrete, and showcase the real Paperform online. By doing so, we are already seeing the benefits of our customer’s better understanding of who we are and how we could best serve them.

Paperform is not the same product as it was in 2016 when we launched it. However, the pricing and visual representation were still the same. We needed to bring our brand back to what our customers know us to be. We strategically released the rebrand before the pricing increase. This allowed us to highlight how much Paperform has evolved and the benefits we now offer our customers that were not there before. The reaction was astonishingly positive. Our customers met us with a majoritively amazing and very understanding response to the rebrand. We’ve gained a lot of attention, and we’ve improved the customer journey from leads that first engage with our home and pricing page, through to signing up and trying the product. Who and what we say we are now truly match the user experience, and that makes for better qualified leads and more conversions. 

And what risks are you taking into consideration?

While the team was excited to share this rebrand with everyone, we were also very nervous. Change is never easy, and if there’s one thing the internet has in droves, it’s opinions. Just know that we didn’t do this for a fancy colour scheme or a hip new logo.

When rolling out a rebrand, the usual risk is that the customers won’t resonate with it. We mitigated the risk in the following ways:

  1. Thorough branding research: before even thinking about any visual element, we thoroughly investigated our customers – both quantitative and qualitative. Through countless hours spent conducting interviews, trawling through our internal stats, and combing through hundreds of pages of surveys from our community, we understood our customers and matched their needs deeply.
  2. Constant sync with our customers, even before the rebrand work started: We are a people and product-focused company, so thanks to Paperform’s strong customer success team, the customer development process never stops, with knowledge and insights constantly being shared with the other teams inside the company. This allows us to understand what irks and pleases our customers and what essentially brings them to Paperform specifically. 
In other words, because we know our customers so well, we came up with a new, refreshed brand they love.

How did you announce this rebranding?

We followed a two-stage process to announce our rebranding:

First stage: Our rebrand was not only about aesthetics but functionality of the platform. As such, we rolled out the rebrand silently to make sure it all looked and functioned right. We announced the news to our customers and current users. It also gave our current customers time to approach us with any concerns they may have had. While everything still functions the same, we want the people that matter most to us to have our full attention, and the time to ask any questions they may have. Then, when we knew there were no major issues we announced it to the world.

Second stage: A few days later, we made a buzz about it. The in-app message went live first, followed shortly by our socials, a blog post explaining the rebrand, newsletters and public releases. We also shared the new brand with the design community via CSS galleries. 

Will you do anything else after this first round of outreach?

Once we launched the rebrand, we knew we needed to build a strong foundation on which our brand stood. We need to keep it consistent in-app, in our content, and anywhere else Paperform appeared online or in the real world. As such, we: 

  1. Updated everything internally: Our content team worked fervently to get all internal documents and content up to scratch. This included product screenshots, blog copy, our help centre articles, social media, and even our video thumbnails. 
  2. Conducted a rebrand outreach: The marketing team’s job was to approach all the external sites that mentioned Paperform or featured it with screenshots to update their description. We want to ensure that we are consistent across all channels and communications.
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