Scaling Your Brand Successfully

The consequences of success

For brands, rapid growth can be a blessing and a curse. Marketers often look around one day to find that the brands and narratives they created are no longer in sync with their current offerings or future strategy. Whether it’s through organic growth, acquisition, or partnership, business expansion eventually forces brands to scale and evolve.

Growth and growing up

Docker is a revolutionary technology company that seized an opportunity to unify and standardize the way software is developed through software containers. Their idea was so popular that even companies like Google adopted it, and eventually built their Kubernetes container manager on top of it.

Few companies have experienced unbridled industry adoption like Docker, rocketing them to “unicorn” status (reaching $1B valuation) after just four years. Docker built their success on open source technology and a fun, distinctive brand that became revered by developers around the world.

Docker came to Salt under intense pressure from investors. They had a mandate to shift perceptions from being a cool open source (i.e. “cost-free”) technology to being an enterprise-leading platform (i.e. “profitable”).  Having already split their open source technology off into a new brand, Moby, they needed a more relevant answer to the question “What does Docker mean to the enterprise?” To maintain success, they had to transition their story while retaining their fanbase of thousands of engineers around the globe.

Data-driven insights

Docker was keen to use data-driven insights to guide their decisions. Through a series of qualitative one-on-one interviews with customers, partners, product specialists, and internal employees, they set out to determine what really motivated adoption of Docker. The core questions: how do enterprise technologists think about modernization, and what part does Docker play?

Positioning around emotion

Salt helped Docker create an updated brand positioning and messaging framework, using narratives to bring compelling new messages to life at every level: brand, pillar, and audience. Each was designed to clearly express Docker’s enterprise value to risk-averse buyers. 

The new positioning injected an emotional resonance that helped move the needle with enterprise decision-makers. Salt helped Docker create a more emotional message that not only resonated with their primary audiences but also did not alienate their core practitioners.

Why scaling brands matters

Successful companies must eventually address the impact of growth on their brands. They must ensure that their corporate and product brand positioning, messaging, and architecture are not out of sync with their audiences or business strategy. Salt helps companies keep pace with growth by scaling brands to ensure that identities and stories are consistent, compelling, and cohesive, and that they resonate with all audiences — old and new.

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