This is a personal story.
It has been almost 9 years, since the original founders of Cogent got together through a series of web conferences, phone calls and in person meetings, to design an identity for Cogent. Prior to this exercise in 2007, the same group had gotten together in 2005, when the idea of a new entity we were going to found was beginning to take shape.
“What should we name this company as?”
“What should the name symbolize?”
“What are our core values?”
“How does the name align with our core values?”
These were some of the many questions we had to brainstorm and all startup entrepreneurs go through this. We finally arrived at the name Cogent. We had actually created a worksheet of sorts that explained why the name Cogent and what it means to us.
The Integrated Business Solutions part was an afterthought, more to distinguish our brand from a couple of other “Cogent” brands in the marketplace then (though they had/have nothing to do with what we do). Thus, we became Cogent IBS.
Since operating a business involves having a logo, which almost becomes your identity, we quickly bought a predesigned logo, which none of the founders had any creative inputs on. Because we wanted to become operational immediately, we had to do this. In other words, we didn’t have time for our creativity to drive us. It was a small scale operation – so the logo was mostly visible only on our then minimalistic website along with letter pads. envelopes and checks, whose volume was not very high. We didn’t do a whole lot of marketing. So that logo didn’t mean much in terms of how we personalized it for ourselves.
In 2007, when we shifted gears and started to execute all the ideas, that we had originally planned for, when the vision for Cogent was built in 2005, we realized that it was time to have a logo that truly symbolized us – What Cogent stands for.
So, our current logo, that we all so dearly love, was a result of many weeks of brainstorming and many days of creative excitement. All the founders were involved in picking the logo & it was one of the most creatively satisfying experiences all of us had together at that time. The logo we have now, symbolizes what Cogent stands for and for our core values. This was our first rebranding exercise and as part of this exercise, we launched a swanky looking, comprehensive website.
Then sometime around 2012-2013, when the marketplace started changing rapidly and with the advent of social media, etc. we were trying to keep pace with our slightly outdated technology that was used for our website. The early adopters that Cogent has always been with technological tools we need for internal operation, sales & marketing, we decided to jump on the modern web design bandwagon right then. This really was our second big rebranding exercise. Our core values had not changed and hence we decided to keep our logo in tact, however our vision had changed direction a bit, what with our newly launched mobility practice. We were no longer just a Services company, but now have become a Products company as well. So, we decided to build a brand new website which aligned with our modified vision for Cogent. And I think, that rebranding helped us quite a bit to stay above the noise in the marketplace among our competitors.
A few months ago, during a family trip, when I shared with my son our plans to potentially rebrand Cogent in the near future and how this time, we may consider a new logo – a new identity so to speak, his immediate question was “Why?”. Growing up in a entrepreneurial family where the father, the founder of Cogent lives & breathes Cogent all day, it is natural that a certain sense of pride and a certain sense of ownership spills over to the children of the family. (This sense of ownership, by no means, is a sense of entitlement – Just have to emphasize that here.) My kids are no exception and they completely love everything about Cogent – by which I mean the people I get to work with at Cogent, the events we organize, the general feeling of all things Cogent and most importantly the logo. The current logo is no doubt one of the most attractive logos – for the colors and for the rainbow like appeal it has for children.
I could notice a sense of sadness in him, almost not wanting to let go of the old identity. And, I could completely understand that, for I had/have the same feelings, only that much more in proportion because I had originally been involved with the design of that logo. In the process of trying to explain him clearly why we wanted to do this, I was also able build my own case in my mind, a bit clearly. Why are we doing this?
The reasons, as I explain here are very simple.
1) With our changing focus in the last few years, we not only want to turn a new leaf in how we do our business, but also in how customers perceive us. For example, we have a new line of mobile & cloud solutions – Coobo, Tuux and now Cabaana. When it comes to professional services, even though we are very much an SAP focused company, our focus has become very niche. Personas/Fiori, SCM and HANA are the areas that we want to be known for besides our traditional strengths. To take a page out of SAP’s marketing playbook, we want to Run Simple. All of the above mean, we need to tell a new story now.
2) A new identity brings a fresh breath into our lives – i.e. All Cogenters’ lives. The energy, the positivity and the excitement you get with a new identity are different. Sort of like how you feel while driving a new car or wearing a new pair of shoes or new clothes.
3) Most importantly, our audience is changing. As much as we want to continue to provide the best services to all our existing customers and preserve those relationships sanctimoniously , we also have the need to reach out to an entirely new demographic of audience/customers, who have not heard about or of our “brand”. We need to appeal to them in a fresh way without the burden of our old identity, so they could connect better.
I think that’s it. Those really are the three reasons, in my mind, why we need to rebrand.
Srini, Yash and I have been having this discussion for about a couple of months now & the struggle to accept change is universal, I guess. We have worked very hard to build a case for this rebranding exercise and we are more than convinced that this is something that we have to do. And we have to do this in 2016. We all have a sentimental attachment to the current logo. No doubt about that. And there is really nothing that we don’t like in it. But, perhaps it is time to move on. Just because.
Now, the good news. After several weeks of creative brainstorming, we have finally picked our new logo.
- The new logo will be simple and easy to remember.
- Unlike the current logo, the new logo will have very little going on in it – In other words, a very simple logo.
- We expect the viewer to immediately grasp the identity & register it in his/her mind, as opposed to the current logo, which has so many things going on in it. The colors, the arcs, the tagline, etc. – which may make it a little hard for viewers to register all the moving elements together at the same time in their minds.
- In the age of quick information and in the age of information overload we live in, anything you can do to capture the audience quickly, is the need of the hour. We are sure our new logo will do that.
We will be launching a new website too as part of this rebranding exercise.
Srini, Yash and I are very excited about this rebranding exercise. We certainly believe that this will turn a new leaf in Cogent’s history.
After all, the middle C in our 3C principle is Creativity. What’s creativity without constantly reinventing ourselves?
Get ready for a brand new Cogent! Together, we will enjoy the new ride.