What IC teams can learn from the Firefox logo redesign HEAD
17th Jun 2019
3 Min Read

What IC can learn from the Firefox logo redesign

Tony Beresford
Tony Beresford
IC & Engagement

Changing the identity of your brand to colleagues and customers can either be an essential refresh that helps revitalise your image or serve to tarnish trust a business has built up over the years.

A rebrand is a difficult series of decisions – something that the minds behind Mozilla’s Firefox learned when they decided to take another look at their image. The logo needed to mirror the identities of Mozilla’s wider suite of products and services; a change that would impact 250 million monthly global users.

"Any time you touch a beloved brand like Firefox, you need to go very carefully."

Mary Ellen Muckerman, VP Brand Strategy and Marketing, Firefox

Thousands of users and active contributors were involved in the platform’s open-source roots, forming a community that is passionate about the look and feel of the brand. Those at Mozilla knew they’d need to involve this community before taking any leaps away from its established image.

So, what can IC professionals learn from Firefox, especially when it comes to corporate rebrands?

"They have a lot of passion for the fox, it feels like a member of the family."

Stephen Horlander, Principal Designer, Firefox

Don’t discount the impact of what you have right now

Although design is subjective, taking the time to understand what your existing brand means to those who are closest to it can unearth valuable information, especially among colleagues.

Many employees have an important relationship with their employer’s brand, whether they realise it or not. Where people work is part of their identity, so changing a brand is like giving each employee a little identity makeover.

A deeper understanding of the resonance and impact of your brand’s image provides insight into what can be evolved and what needs to be discarded, as well as making employee advocates feel their opinions have been considered at a crucial stage in the brand’s evolution.

"Traditionally when you do brand design, it’s behind closed doors."

Mary Ellen Muckerman, VP Brand Strategy and Marketing, Firefox

A collaborative approach

It became apparent that launching a new look wasn’t going to wash with the community of digital devotees. Three design teams were tasked with exploring the core themes of ‘Fox’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Free’. They released new brand iterations into the community to gather thoughts, reactions and feedback.

Today’s enterprise social networks (ESNs) – like Workplace and Yammer – make it easy for businesses to be collaborative with employees. Even if that’s not possible, sharing brand iterations with colleague focus groups will give you a snapshot of employee opinion, or at least involve them in the process.

"It gave us a great opportunity to have a conversation."

Tim Murrey, Creative Director, Firefox

Be prepared to admit you got it wrong

One issue became apparent when it was discovered that a proposed new logo was incredibly close to something already in the technology market. User feedback flagged the issue, which all three of the designers had missed.

If not involved in the collaborative process, colleagues can act as that extra pair of eyes. Don’t be afraid to let them spot mistakes to improve the end result.

The importance of participation and transparency

Throughout the process of consultation and design, Firefox encouraged the community to participate, reinforcing a philosophy of transparency as the brand evolves.

This kind of commitment can yield fantastic brand advocacy when adopted by internal communications teams. Not only does employee consultation create a stronger bond with the brand at an early stage, it helps create an end result with more authenticity.

By the time the project reaches its external release, there are no jarring moments of disconnect because the team already feel well-versed in their brand’s journey.

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