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How Do You Know It’s Time to Rebrand?

By Ashley Jane Brookes | 5 months ago | News | No Comments

It’s a difficult decision to take one of the most recognizable companies in social and change its identity, particularly when the mascot in your logo is beloved by users all over the world. At Hootsuite, we have never been the type to shy away from a challenge, especially when it’s the right thing to do for our audiences and our growth.

Taking into account the history, the culture, the industry and—most importantly—the relationships with our now and future users, the team rocketed forward into new design territory. We lovingly refined, adapted, and crafted all of the elements of the new brand.

Why change now? Here are the reasons why Hootsuite rebranded:

Maturing with the market

When we entered the market in 2008, social for business was a relatively new concept, confined to peripheral teams or interns, primarily in marketing.

Today, the number of networks has increased exponentially. The sophistication of our product and services, as well as the way people use Hootsuite to drive business results—from sales to customer service—is markedly more robust, and we want our identity to represent the way Hootsuite has evolved with the market.

2008 was a long time ago

Styles change. Jeans are skinny, not flared. Hair is ombre, not frosted. And design is clean and flat, not rounded and drop shadowed as it was in the days of web 2.0.

Our rebrand is about more than following the prevailing design trends of the day, but after five years, our logo was long overdue for a refresh. We looked to best-practice examples in our industry and beyond for inspiration.

Twitter stands out as a brand that has done a great job updating their icon over time, from a character-like Larry the Bird to a simpler icon composed of three overlapping circles.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 11.33.04 AM

We too wanted to take an evolutionary approach. Brand continuity is important, and there was much we wanted to carry forward from old to new: the wisdom of the owl, the iconic and recognizable mark, and our unique personality.

hootsuite_logos_oldnew_3x2

We’re expanding our platform now

The ways people use Hootsuite today, as opposed to five years ago, are more diverse than we could have ever imagined. The company has grown from five to 500; we have offices in Vancouver, London, and Singapore; and the dashboard is available in 15 languages to empower our truly global user base. From disaster management to helping create irresistible brands, we’re proud to be along for the ride as individuals and organizations use social to drive change.

The breadth of capabilities in our platform has also expanded, and it’s important that our brand reflects all of the facets of Hootsuite’s expanding platform, from security and analytics to publishing and engagement. This new identity can represent it all.

As a straightforward, yet robust solution, we wanted a mark that reflects these core values to our users. Our aim in the rebrand is to create a look and feel that best represents the flexibility, confidence, and simplicity that nearly nine million people worldwide get from Hootsuite.

Our ecosystem is flexible, and so are we

Hootsuite has grown into an ecosystem capable of supporting all social networks and applications: a social media Switzerland. Our app directory now has over 100 apps and more than a million installs. We have the largest social relationship platform (SRP) ecosystem in the market, a network of best-of-breed apps and integrations that give our users the flexibility to map their social efforts to any business solution. And our brand now embodies this flexibility.

Our aim is to weave this flexibility in design through every touchpoint for our users. We’re doing this in various ways: with a new color palette, adding more diversity; with refinements to our photography and videography styles as our brand becomes increasingly visual in our storytelling; and by replacing strong washes of color with more white space, letting the product’s power speak for itself.

Mascots are like birthdays: you celebrate them, but not every day

Owly, as a mascot, remains a core element of our culture and our brand. The new design is a clean, fresh icon which reflects the simple, reliable, and confident aspects of our brand. Owly will still punctuate the lively, witty, and highly engaging part of our culture and company that makes us so unique.

The rebrand at Hootsuite in Vancouver included CEO Ryan Holmes, VP of Marketing, Dee Anna McPherson, and a group of designers, writers, and marketers, some of whom were among the first employees at the company.

Fun Facts

  • No more ‘camel-casing’—we use a lower-case “s” to simplify things.
  • Owly will continue to be a big part of our brand and culture.
  • We have a Hootbus, and we plan to continue using it!

What do you think about our new brand? Let us know in the comments below.

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65 comments
shovan
shovan

The icon definitely stands out in my iPhone. 


Good stuff.

happymedusa
happymedusa

Generic and dull. Actually looks less like an owl. The eyes appear crosseyed rather than staring ahead like the old one. 


Nolan
Nolan

The black and white rebrand makes your logo appear lifeless. While the flattened look gives it a modern touch, it could really use a touch of colour. Perhaps take a look at Mailchimp's logo. A perfect example of flattened logo design, but brought to life with a brilliant choice of colour.

mcnultywrites
mcnultywrites

Streamlining is extremely wise. I like the clean line edge where the owl feels as if it is poking out of that imaginary white wall. And the simpler head--elegant, inquisitive, sharp, like your users. The eyes are a bit intense when the logo is reproduced in larger form--like encountering an owl in the dark forest. Might soften that a tad in some contexts but the overall direction feels excellent. Font feels friendly, conversational--like great content.  Nice work. Simplicity is deceptively hard to achieve.

Crowe_Shea
Crowe_Shea

I know it looks cleaner but now my Hootlet button creeps me out. Did you have to go with black?

brandontouhey
brandontouhey

I think it was a great idea to update the logo, but I'm not sure the font fits the company. At least the lowercase H of the last design felt more "social." This font, unfortunately, makes Owly look cheap.

NateP
NateP

it would be interesting to see what other options you nixed

Lizzie_Bath
Lizzie_Bath

I'm a big fan. It's clean, simple, and neat and I think it reflects the changes of Twitter's logo evolution. 2008 was a long time ago, and I don't think this is  step backwards at all. Perhaps some people can't see as far ahead with what you're trying to achieve and assuming the re-brand has moved backwards?

nest1989
nest1989

I wish you'd revert the color scheme. Now I have a hard time finding the Hootsuite icon among many tabs opened in the browser and among chrome add-on buttons.  As a consequence I'm using less of Hootsuite and Hootlet, though I've been a big fan of both services for years.  I am sorry but this change does not serve the weak-eyed well.

PigmintDesign
PigmintDesign

There will always be people who are uncomfortable with a rebrand, or a re-anything. Especially one that was unexpected. I noticed the new logo when I was updating the app on my iPhone and thought, "wait a second… they must have accidentally used the icon mask…" but now it all makes sense. I'm curious to see if there are plans to apply colour in interesting ways in the future. The symbol actually looks like something from the 70s, but that isn't a bad thing. A lot more iconic. I like the rounded lowercase Ts in the wordmark.


Pigmintally yours,

Adam (aka the same person as Laurentina)

lacellanora
lacellanora

Didn't like it the first time until I read the story behind the rebrand. Maybe I was just thinking about Owly (thanks for clarifying he won't be gone!). Now I appreciate the minimalist look.

Just so you know, when Twitter changed its logo - I couldn't care less. Only shows how much brand value you guys have put into Hootsuite especially the community rallying behind - me included.

Todd
Todd

I really like where you are going with this, and look forward to the user interface following suit. It feels much more professional and has absolutely fantastic lines (I'm a designer, I can't help myself).


To me, it comes across as putting the focus on the content - which is exactly what you look to do. Great work!

Blech
Blech

Are we going back to beige computers, too? Steve Jobs made the beautiful skeumorphic -sp? interface, and now: iOS7 - blech! Same thing here. Everything I ever saw filmed from the 'dirty thirties' was in black and white; this makes me think back to that.

yyjChris
yyjChris

I get it, and I love it. I see exactly the point. I think users would understand the deeper concepts and thoughts behind the rebrand by thinking of Nintendo. The old Hootsuite logo was Nintendo. Cute, approachable, sweet, and up and coming. Then came PlayStation, and the biggest buzz around Playstation, past the games, the hype, etc...was that someone at Sony had realized Video Games had evolved, a new market - and especially demographic was now playing them, and ignoring this demographic, including in your branding, is....well....why we have the Wii U. 


I'm from BC. We are all growing up as the Internet seemingly notices the incredible talent and innovation in our Province all at once, and this to me, looks like Hootsuite, with a black tie, self-aware of it's impact, value, and responsibility to it's users. So long as my tweets, shares, etc are branded "via Hootsuite", I appreciate the respect of my own brand, and the subtle, strong message the new logo puts across.


This is a power tie, a Google simplicity to a Yahoo cartoon forest, a beautiful example of bold, minimalist design...and I for one, being so particular about the look of my brand and devices, think this logo and look fits much better with the current market, and flat design principles.


Bravo team!


PS: I'm still trying to get an invite to tour the offices across the pond. Consider this an official callout ;)

pulpandpixel
pulpandpixel

I quite like it! It looks a bit more "big leagues", at least to me. :)

Not a Fan
Not a Fan

I don't like it. It projects a secretive, unfriendly vibe. Newest app from the NSA?

Marketing whizzz
Marketing whizzz

I agree with a rebrand, but all of the examples you posted, were a brand moving forward with their logo. Not backwards. New Hootsuite logo is god awful.

Jose
Jose

I really like the change. I have a question. In the website, in home, I´m looking for login and I can`t find it! Is there another place to login?

Anssi
Anssi

Great! Well done, I see you're following the flat-design trend, will make it easier for you. Now I wonder since you spend the time on re-branding, could you have spend the time to fix some of the issue you have?


1. Posting pictures to Facebook without ow.ly / twitter

2. Ability to change targeting options from mobile

3. Social profile icons -> not really useful if you have same profile picture for each social channel? how do I know from mobile which one is the one I want to post to?

4. Twitter analytics, not really useful and not collecting the data when posted directly from twitter


just a food for thought and defining your priorities...

steelsheen
steelsheen

eh, this looks like a backward move to me, specially this is branding-- where the main purpose is to be easily recognizable AND remembered. the color combo of the owl and the name is what made you distinctive, and that elusive sweet spot of being both current and classic. so in truth, you got it right the first time.

now the branding looks pretty generic, and lost its eye catchy-ness. if you're looking to twitter for inspiration they lost their personality when they went with the flat bird look too. but then again that's twitter. Your battlefield is more along the lines of 3rd party social media apps integration for end users, which you kinda share with about a dozen or so other companies out there vying for eyeballs and usage. I know you guys are trying to go for the "streamlined professional look", but right now, it's just boring. know the value of color. I bet your design team can give your head honcho decision makers a week's worth of lectures on that.

edcarbery
edcarbery

It didn't work out to well for Spiderman!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Nolan  Thanks for the feedback Brandon. We feel that this new logo is simple and flexible- the right brand for Hootsuite. But, we respect that many people might not agree. What we do agree on is that the Mailchimp logo is fantastic!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Crowe_Shea  Thanks for the feedback. The new black and white brand offers us increased flexibility, but we respect that many people may prefer the old design. Hopefully it won't stay creepy!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@brandontouhey  Thanks for the feedback Brandon. We feel that this new logo is simple and flexible- the right brand for Hootsuite. But, we respect that many people may prefer the old design and we appreciate a passionate discussion about our brand.

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@NateP We're sworn to secrecy, but you never know...

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Lizzie_Bath  Thanks Lizzie. We definitely see this as a step forward. The new brand represents the flexibility, confidence and simplicity that we feel has made people love and trust Hootsuite. Glad you see it too!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Oscar Goncalves  Thanks for the feedback! We may have a black and white logo, but we'll still be using colour elsewhere!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@nest1989 Sorry to hear that you're having a tough time locating our icons. We hope you'll continue to use Hootsuite and Hootlet, and appreciate your fandom over the years.

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@PigmintDesign Thanks for your comments and kind words. A black logo definitely doesn't mean we'll be avoiding all colour in the future. Keep your eyes peeled!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@lacellanora Happy to hear it's already growing on you, and it's great that you care so much! Owly will always be a part of our company, just not our logo. Thanks for your feedback

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Todd Thanks Todd! I'll pass your kind words onto our designers

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Blech  Thank you for your feedback. Black and white adds a degree of flexibility, confidence and simplicity that we think better represents Hootsuite. But we respect that many people may prefer the old colourful design. Thanks again for your comments!

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@yyjChris Thanks for the kind words and thoughtful look at our new brand Chris. Since our office is full of gamers, the Nintendo/Sony analogy definitely made a few people here very happy! 

jaimestein
jaimestein moderator

@Not a Fan Thanks for the comment! We know that this is the right look for us, and respect that many folks out there may be more familiar with, or prefer the old design. We're still fun, lively and loveable. At the same time we have to recognize all of the facets of Hootsuite’s expanding eco-system, from security and compliance to analytics and engagement. This new identity covers it all!

jaimestein
jaimestein moderator

@Marketing whizzz Thanks for the feedback. The new brand represents the flexibility, confidence and simplicity that over 9 million people worldwide have come to rely on with Hootsuite. But we respect that many people may prefer the old design and we appreciate a passionate discussion about our brand.

jaimestein
jaimestein moderator

@Jose Look for "Sign In" in the upper right corner.

jaimestein
jaimestein moderator

@steelsheen  Thanks for the thoughtful comments. The team internally – including the executive suite and some of the earliest employees at the company – have been involved in the rebrand for many months now. We know that this is the right look for us, and respect that many folks out there may be more familiar with, or prefer the old design.

jaimestein
jaimestein moderator

@edcarbery Good thing we are into social media and not fighting crime ;-)

TourAbsurd
TourAbsurd

@evanlepage Hate it, absolutely hate it. It's depressing, lifeless, dull. Not updating the mobile app to avoid having such an ugly logo on my desktop. It's possible to mature without sucking all the fun out of life.

Part of the reason I liked Hootsuite so much was the image of friendly accessibility.  I work in social media management, a career choice I made because it is FUN.  This logo, this rebrand - it's the opposite of fun. 

Have a pro account, but am going to start looking elsewhere. The logo, and the repeated responses about "why" you did it, rather than acknowledging our concerns, are the deciding factors.  So, so ugly.  Bring back the colors.

TourAbsurd
TourAbsurd

@jaimestein All your "thanks for you feedback" false cheer doesn't change the fact that you're telling loyal customers that you don't give a fig about what they're thinking.  It's quite obvious that you're propping up the opinions that jibe with yours but blowing off the ones that don't.  

MichaelJArvizu
MichaelJArvizu

@jaimestein Of course you "know" that it is the right look for "us." When you buy a new suit at the store, you "know" it's the "right" look for "you." However, not everyone is going to agree with your taste in clothing.

TourAbsurd
TourAbsurd

@jaimestein Again with the blowing off.  "Har har" we made a joke is not the same as, "We genuinely value your feedback and are considering making changes based on it." 

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@TourAbsurd Hi there! Sorry I missed your comment. You're not alone in your thoughts on the new logo and we definitely are listening to your concerns. What we hope is that the logo represents a different side of us that we'd like to put forward. Social media management is definitely a fun career, and the fun owls and colorful Owly are still around - we've just taken them out of our logo. We'd love to see you stick with Hootsuite and we'll do our best to keep things fun.

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

Hi Oliver. Thanks for your question. I'm not a designer, but I think the black and white is more bold and noticeable than our old coloured logo. That boldness reflects a confidence in our brand and our product. Clearly it isn't for everyone, but keep your comments coming.