Business

Why GoodData overturned its branding in 90 days

Above: GoodData chief executive Roman Stanek

GoodData chief executive Roman Stanek wants his analytics startup to stand out from the pack.

Stanek is taking a different tack than most business software entrepreneurs. Rather than focus his energies on product or sales, he is investing heavily in marketing and building a compelling brand.

While many of his counterparts are media trained to an inch of their lives, Stanek is fairly outspoken, and frequently contributes guest articles. He initially caught the attention of the press (and this writer) with his bold claim that he would not sell GoodData to chief information officers, targeting business and marketing folk instead.

On a side note, Box chief executive Aaron Levie also isn’t too shy with his opinions. This communications strategy — or happy accident — is paying off, and I often wonder why more cloud computing execs aren’t following suit.

GoodData's new logo

Above: GoodData’s new logo

To add more marketing muscle to his team, Stanek set his sights on a company called 2 B Bold — or more specifically, 2 B Bold’s chief executive Maureen Kelly, a former senior marketer at Symantec. GoodData acquired the company about five months ago, and Kelly joined GoodData as the company’s first chief marketing officer.

In just 90 days, Kelly has given GoodData’s brand a makeover and brought in new talent to the marketing team. This week at the BoxWorks conference, organized by cloud company Box (a GoodData partner), the company unveiled a fresh new logo.

The company is also shifting its “messaging,” meaning the preferred way a company is described in its external communications. Rather than referring to Gartner’s magic quadrant or rattling off incoherent jargon, GoodData claims it will rely on dozens of customer testimonies. Customers will be encouraged to describe the experience with GoodData in plain English, no less.

“Often with companies, there’s an inside-out perspective — you are on the inside looking out, and your customers are on the outside,” Stanek explained. “With this rebranding, we are making the customer the storyteller.”

Of course, these testimonies will be positive, so don’t expect Yelp-style reviews. But featuring these customer opinions at all is smart. The company makes money by white-labeling its analytics applications and dashboards to hundreds of software-as-a-service companies, like Zendesk and Box. These companies often operate with a herd mentality and follow the lead of close customers, partners, and competitors.

The new website features dozens of customer testimonials

Above: The new website features dozens of customer testimonials

“We needed to put a face on business intelligence and data, and our customers — and their stories — are what drive us as a company,” said Kelly, GoodData’s new CMO.

Indeed, a new logo and website isn’t a sign of disruptive innovation (Yahoo, take heed). But it is refreshing to see an enterprise startup pay such close attention to branding and marketing, so early in its life cycle.

Last quarter, GoodData claims it boosted its revenues by 102 percent and scored some 10,000 new customers. The Silicon Valley-based company has raised over $75 million in venture funding to date.


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