„Thanks for coming! Thanks for supporting us as a company, as a product, as our people! Enjoy the wonderful night!“ A shower of confetti was pouring over the heads of celebrating people just as our CEO Bernd finished his sentence. „I Gotta Feeling“ by Black Eyed Peas played. The song was released on May 21, 2009. Just shortly after Icinga was seeing the light of the world on May 6, 2009. It was the early summer of 2019. We were celebrating the 10th anniversary of Icinga. And we all felt it…
One month later. We were sitting in a meeting room at the Icinga headquaters in Nuremberg. Blerim, CPO at Icinga, is talking to the marketing team about how we have to make Icinga more known in the US. Okay. Sleeves up. What material do we have to do that? And we had to realize: Not the approriate one. At least nothing that would have satisfied our demands. Somehow, with 10 years, Icinga had grown out of the old stuff. And so the project „Branding Icinga“ was born.
Since yesterday you find Icinga on our new website. The first touchpoint of the new Icinga brand. Let’s have a look at how we got there. You could sum up all we did under 4 steps…
1 – Think: Brand Strategy
„Who develops a brand strategy? It is usually developed by a team of people. No one does it alone.“ – Alina Wheeler, Branding Expert
August 2019, kickoff meeting. We started off with a small team. The beginning of the branding process was all about shaping our goals, milestones and resources.
We were willing to commit, ready to take the risk to turning things up and down, and bold to make a difference to…
- Communicate more clearly about who we are.
- Explain our people where we stand, and where we are going.
- Design a new brand architecture, and a blueprint to put together content in an organized manner.
- Fuel recognition, and make our big idea and meaning accessible.
Note: Some milestones didn’t make it…
Our guiding principle or mantra at this point: „We want to build a brand identity that accurately conveys our essence and is flexible enough to evolve with us.” Once we had clarified the reason why we want to do the branding and our goals, a wide range of possibilities opened up.
2 – Research: Positioning
To narrow things down, the next step was: To look at where we came from and to think about where to position ourselves in the future. Thinking about Icinga from an internal and an external perspective, we benefitted from many discussions that we’ve had with our people, our users and contributors, with partners and customers. In 2019 we’ve had a big survey that informed us, as well as interviews with large companies using Icinga. Meetups and our „ask me anything“ booth at events, calls with partners and all social encounters within the community…
Spending time on research gave us better knowledge about our audience, customers and competitors. One really helpful tool for positioning was the SWOT matrix, a method to define strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
3 – Share: Brand Story
Step 3: Finding the essence! Before you can share your brand story with the public, you have to define the shared narrative and values within your organization. Nothing small, as we all came from quite different directions… Some of us knowing Icinga – the product, the people – as the back of their hand, with the risk of not seeing the forest for the trees. While others, as rather new to the team, had to catch up in knowing Icinga, but could therefore come up with a fresh view. And many questions…
In a small series of intense workshops we carved out our mission and values, as well as the core strengths of Icinga. This was the essence to build our brand’s architecture around.
Icinga’s Core Strengths
- Infrastructure Monitoring
- Monitoring Automation
- Cloud Monitoring
- Logs & Metrics
- Knowledge, Understanding
- Taking Action, Solving Problems
- Freedom, Flexibility, Versatility
- Context, Possibilities, Different Ways
- Community, Passion, Openness
- Success, Growth
“Our mission is to create a place for everything related to monitoring. We want to enable users to compose a tailored monitoring system that perfectly fits their needs..”
4 – Create: Brand Identity
„Design differentiates and embodies the intangibles – emotion, context, and essence – that matter most to customers.“ – Moira Cullen, Design Strategist
Next, all our love went into finding the right design system and words and voice. We wanted Icinga’s new identity to be simple, to the point, and carry enough ambiguity to allow future development. Our mantra at this stage: „We want to create a brand that is unique and valuable for the customer. We want it to be minimalistic and friendly.“
The Creative Process
The creative process involved imagining „Icinga as a planet”, finding the right ideas and words for our ecosystem and brainstorming on how to visualize them…
The toughest part, that would inform the style and direction of all future graphics: Finding a graphic to illustrate what we’ve called “the heart of Icinga”…
The big idea, that won our hearts was „The Orb“. There are many reasons why we picked it!
In design everything has its place, its function and its order. You have to clearly define essential components. Not to build a closed system, but to be able to play out the variable parameters creatively. For Icinga’s core strengths we wanted to have a distinctive, unique icon and a color for each. Here you see how we developed and defined them, from first drafts to the final set.
From Brand to Website
From having the orb and the icons to the final website it was still a long way to go. Corona came in with all of us suddenly being in homeoffice. We’ve worked on an overall structure for the website, the customer journey and navigation, many mockups, and more texts and graphics for all pages. Going into detail would definetely be too much at this point („den Rahmen sprengen“). You want to know more? Feel free to ask and we’ll be happy to share more of the process with you.
There is one last character that I want to introduce you to. Or a pair of them; We call them the „Lalas”. They appeared quite early in the process and won our hearts – so we kept them and developed them further:
Whenever you see a „Lala“, be sure to find someone to engage with and find happiness and help. And now, have fun browsing through our new website! Maybe you’ll see all the elements, graphics and texts here with a slightly different perspective now.