After weeks of brainstorming, narrowing and testing, we had a company name everyone loved. Now, we needed to claim online identities.
First step was the domain. We contacted the owner of zello.com, a friendly fellow who was enthusiastic about what we were doing. Two days before Christmas, he accepted $2500 (plus free push-to-talk service for life). By then, we trusted each other enough, so we skipped escrow.
With the domain name behind us, we tackled social media encountering a few hurdles. It took a long time to reach the owner of twitter.com/zello. We worked out an arrangement and Twitter was done. (Is it legal to buy/sell Twitter handles? Surely, there is or will be a market.)
A woman already took Zello on Facebook. We haven’t found a way to contact her. If you’re out there, we’d like to buy your account. At least, we have Facebook.com/ZelloMe and soon it won’t be worth changing.
Even with ZelloMe, someone beat us on YouTube, so there we’re ZelloYou (Get it? ZelloYou…YouTube? It works).
Who knew Zello could be connected with real estate? That’s the company that took the name on LinkedIn. Rather than pursuing it, we set up our LinkedIn company page as Zello Inc.
Logo and colors
Name? Check. Domain? Check. Social media? Check. Logo and colors? Next.
Zello doesn’t yet have a full-time visual designer. It’s a top hiring priority, but we’ve been picky and the role centers on mobile visual design. We’d rather select the right person slowly, than the wrong person quickly.
We still needed a website. To launch the company with at least an interim design, we worked with a few firms before spending $500 on a contest using 99designs.com. Armed with clear brand goals, over 150 creative ideas quickly poured in. The one you see here came from that contest.
While we outlined brand goals for the contest, we shared no color preferences. Imagine our surprise when half of the designers in this blind contest used some variation of orange or yellow. We took that as a clear market signal.
Recently, an artist just did a little work for us to complete the color pallet. Don’t be surprised when you see Zello’s visual identity morph then settle down.
Make it so
Here we are rolling out the name and visual design. Please excuse our construction as we continue to tweak until we get things just so.
A small team tackling lots of change must do it in small steps. If we wait to get everything perfect first, the changes becomes too complex. With our new name, visual identity, product structure and reseller program, we are heads-down slogging through products and content.
Users are our first priority and we want to avoid them losing their favorite app. So, we’ve released updates using the new name with the old logo. The result is ugly, but it was the best compromise.
Over the next year, we’ll update the apps with a consistent visual identity iterating the design from what you see today to a world-class one. Like our apps, the Android Market page shows the old and new. We’ve been distributing Blackberry directly while we wait for approval of our AppWorld entry.
This blog just gets the new domain, logo and style sheet.
Using Zendesk, we’ve built a new support site that includes in-app FAQ. Coming up: Better content quality and login integration.
We had few manuals and marketing materials. They’re all being updated and re-branded. In the meantime, you can read more about the brand in our [style guide].