Blake Irving assumed control of GoDaddy with a mandate to change the company’s reputation.
The web hosting company officially launched its new brand strategy today, along with a new design and “reinvigorated” product offerings that focus on helping small businesses.
Irving became CEO of GoDaddy in January of 2013. He immediately kicked off an aggressive hiring strategy, poaching executives away from Yahoo (where he served as chief product officer) Microsoft, eBay, and Google to help turn the company around.
“GoDaddy is a pretty unknown quantity in the tech community,” said Irving said in an interview with VentureBeat. “But I see a very clear path of how to make GoDaddy the most valued, largest platform for small businesses in the world.”
GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain-name registrar and web-hosting provider. GoDaddy rakes in $1.3 billion in annual revenue and is growing fast. The company claims to register, renew, or transfer more than one domain name every second of every day, and it is larger than the next eight closest registrar competitors combined. Twelve million customers around the world use some of GoDaddy’s 40 product offerings to set up websites and online businesses.
The new user interface and and product offerings were designed with this goal in mind. The company conducted months of research, customer segmentation analysis, customer surveys, and employee input to figure out what people wanted and needed.
GoDaddy’s suite of products and services include drag-and-drop design tools, hundreds of themes and templates, integrations with popular business applications that support social media and customer engagement, and tools for making sites mobile-friendly.
Irving said his goal is to make it as easy as possible for people without tech skills to build robust online businesses.
“You don’t want technology to be a barrier to anyone’s success,” he said. “But how do you enable someone who may not be tech savvy to come online and make a business for themselves? That to me is the American dream — the ability to take an idea and make it a reality.”
Changing the marketing strategy is a key part of the company’s transformation. GoDaddy was notorious for its attention-grabbing ads that many found tasteless, vulgar, and offensive. The infamous Super Bowl ad which involved supermodel Bar Rafaeli making out with an unattractive geeky guy may have been gag-inducing, but it brought the company its biggest sales day in history.
Irving said that this type of advertising is simultaneously effective and harmful. It may be memorable, but doesn’t convey an “on-brand” message, at least not under his leadership.
GoDaddy released two new television commercials today featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme (video below), which are entertaining and edgy, without seeming seedy.
The company has also made a series of acquisitions are part of its transformation and has established new offices in Silicon Valley and Washington.
“This is about a lot more than posting a new logo and saying we’re different … and the shift is far from over.” Irving said.