Exec Spin: kCura Finds Relativity
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Posted by: Julia Kanouse, CEO, ITA |
Rebrands can be a powerful tool to reshape your company’s image and future, but they are also massive undertakings. You’re transforming that first impression and the lasting impact your business will have for years to come. Despite its challenges, brand work is near and dear to my heart. My first initiative when I joined ITA over two years ago, was to rebrand the association and I led the rebrand during my time at the National Restaurant Association years prior. Both of these initiatives were demanding but ultimately were rewarding revamps that reframed the future. So, needless to say, when one of Chicago tech’s biggest success stories, kCura, announced its rebrand to Relativity, my interest was certainly piqued. Why leave behind a known quantity? Why choose the name of a product within their portfolio for the transformation? And why now?
All of these questions and more were on my mind when I sat down with Lisa Arthur, CMO, Relativity to delve deeper into the endeavor…
Why did kCura rebrand into Relativity?
For years, we’ve worked to maintain two strong brands. kCura was known in Chicago for our culture and rapid hiring. Relativity was known worldwide for our e-discovery software, the product our company was built on and which our team spends every day supporting and innovating.
Over time, it became apparent that our community of partners, customers, and users felt more deeply about the Relativity brand. Since we’re in business to serve that community, it made sense to unify the brands under that name.
Why did you choose to rebrand now?
We’ve had an exciting period of growth at the company, centered around the launch of RelativityOne, our new cloud-based e-discovery solution, and a big push for bringing new talent onboard. We realized that as we continued to grow, the energy we’d pour into maintaining two brands could be refocused on better serving our community.
We did know that no matter when the rebrand took place, we’d work to remain dedicated to helping users organize data, discover the truth, and act on it, while still offering our team an exceptional culture, challenging work, and lots of opportunities for growth in their careers.
Did Relativity bring in any outside experts or firms to help with the rebrand?
We carried out the entire rebrand with our internal team. Our core values and our culture are what make us who we are as a company, and we think those are best expressed by the folks who work here. Team members in marketing, and across the company, have worked non-stop this year to make sure this was successful. We had teams conducting research with our employees and customers, redesigning all our brand assets, planning and executing a ton of back-end IT work, and running our rebrand events. There is some incredible talent in the Chicago tech scene, and we’re proud that we have enough of it at Relativity to carry out such a strategic project.
What part of the rebrand required the biggest leap of faith? What was the most significant risk?
Relativity is a great global brand, but we feel like kCura was a unique part of the Chicago tech scene—and, of course, the company most of us here at Relativity bought into when we first joined. Even the research we conducted early on showed us that Chicagoans knew kCura as a great place to work, as a tech success story, or for giving back to our local community.
We knew that we didn’t want to abandon any of that and that we’d have to work hard to make sure our friends here knew that although we have a new name, we’re the same team. Of course, being the same team might be obvious, but it made us keenly aware that work environment kCura offered could not be cast aside or overshadowed after the brands unified. And it won’t be; we’ll be evaluating what our team and community think of the transition over the next year to make sure our culture and the challenging work is still top of mind.
How else do you measure success?
When we’re talking about our brand, we measure everything we can. That hasn’t changed. Every piece of digital content is tracked, so we know what our social media followers like to see or what engages our blog subscribers. We also have regular user groups and an upcoming conference, Relativity Fest, where we can get real-time feedback from attendees. We even have a brand advisory group, where members let us know where we’re doing well and where we can do even better. We love feedback, and it’s crucial to how we define success.
How did you prepare employees? What was their reaction?
One of the things I love about Relativity is how transparent we are. We have a monthly All Hands meeting where Andrew Sieja, our founder, and CEO, shares in-depth looks at how our company is doing. Back in January, he shared the news that we’d be rebranding later in the year. The marketer in me wishes we had kept it under wraps a bit longer, but we have such a great team; in the eight months, it took to rebrand, not one person at our nearly 800-person strong company leaked the news.
For the most part, it turned out that folks were excited to become Relativity. We provided them with regular updates at All Hands, or through other internal communications. We even pulled together a cross-functional working group with representatives from every department around the company to be rebrand advocates and resources for their teams. By the time the date of the rebrand rolled around, our teams had done such a great job keeping everyone on the same page that it was essentially a non-event from an administrative standpoint. Don’t get me wrong: we had a great party on rebrand day, and a lot of teams were working hard behind the scenes, but it was seamless for employees coming into work on day one as Relativity. The lesson was clear, and it’s one we’ll remember going forward: take your time, be transparent, and get everyone involved.
Is there anything you’d change if you were doing it again?
We would rebrand the company sooner. The rebrand was a massive project, but it was a lot of fun. One of the reasons for that is that we had the chance to have some in-depth conversations with our employees and our community of customers, partners, and end users. The biggest thing we learned is that they were excited about the change, and had wondered for a while – years, in some cases – when it was going to happen.