Project Amoeba – A new story for the Bandwidth brand
When I was first introduced to Bandwidth, I hadn’t really heard of the company. I didn’t know the Bandwidth story. What I did know was one guy who worked here, and that’s only because I played kickball with him — and yes, as an adult. I assumed they did something with the internet, or rubber bands or something.
I was working in UX (user experience) at the time for a company called inMotion, overseeing their web and mobile app interfaces. Then, out of the blue, I got hit on LinkedIn about this AMAZING opportunity at Bandwidth. I wasn’t that excited about the Bandwidth (yet) because the brand wasn’t doing justice to the company’s amazing story. But I figured I would at least hear about what adventures lay before me.
So there I was in a completely new position for Bandwidth — Brand Experience Manager. I looked at my new venture as an opportunity to apply agile UX methodologies to a brand and really put customer stories (just like user stories) at the forefront of everything the company was doing. I wanted to guarantee customer needs were the first priority. But here’s the thing — the company was already doing that. The customer success team scrutinized every training document. The network operations team was up at all hours of the night mitigating network issues. The product and development teams were pivoting at spine-cracking speeds to adjust to customer needs. Even the billing department was putting their processes under the scope on what seemed like a daily basis. It seemed like every single life form in the building was already doing everything possible to service the customer and stay ahead of the innovation curve by co-creating with key accounts. The visual identity and public narrative just needed to catch up.
Essentially, we just needed to tell the REAL Bandwidth story.
To start forming that story, I listened in on sales calls, interviewed smart people from just about every department in the company, listened to more sales calls, did some survey research, studied our target personas, and listened to one more sales call. As a big believer in inclusive design, I created a giant wall that showcased Bandwidth’s brand and other brands that we admire. Then, the entire company – exec to intern – had the opportunity to provide feedback on what we should keep and what we should curate.
Here’s what I learned: Bandwidth had been partying since 1999 (RIP Prince). We started as a reseller of internet connectivity (hello bandwidth.com!), built the fastest growing VoIP network the US had ever seen in 2008, then over the last decade we began building software around that network to facilitate faster, more flexible communications development at scale. In our free time we started our own t-shirt company. The last one is a lie, but we do make a lot of t-shirts.
The point here is that Bandwidth wasn’t afraid to change in order to stay ahead of the competition, the market, and customer needs. And that change didn’t just happen on a whim. It was calculated and purposeful. That is what struck me as so very important to the brand story — change. Just like an amoeba, Bandwidth had morphed over and over again, constantly changing and adapting to stay ahead of the market, sometimes changing the business strategy entirely. And Bandwidth’s most recent change needed to be reflected in the brand.
Who is Bandwidth today? We’re a customer-driven software company, born from Telecom, dedicated to developing and delivering high-quality communications. What do we provide? Voice, Messaging, 911 Access, and Phone Number services ready to integrate into any app, business solution, or software, all built on our own nationwide VoIP network that we control completely. Because we’re in control it means we deliver higher quality voice calls, provide better message deliverability, and offer more streamlined access to 911 and phone numbers. Plus, our telecom background has taught us a lot over the past 18 years about doing it the right way.
Bandwidth delivers the power to communicate.
Our visual identity needed to show that same simplicity, flexibility, and devotion to solving our customers’ problems. That’s why we introduced the amoeba shape. We wanted to represent our ability to adapt, adjust, and fill the needs of today’s technology builders. Too, we enlisted our great in-house photography resources to help us showcase the people behind the services we sell. Just about every person you see on our new site is someone working behind the scenes here at Bandwidth. Even the colors we’ve chosen are a little retro, to show how we’ve been around while maintaining our edge. Of course, the classic Bandwidth Blue is still here. It’s the keystone of our branding DNA.
We also gave our four main services their own individual personalities by creating icons to go along with each. These icons are amoeba-esque, but are strongly grounded with meaning. Check out the feature image of this blog post to see them in action.
- The Voice icon represents a person (the only organism on the planet gifted with speech).
- The Messaging icon is a nod the 3 dots you see when someone is typing a message to you.
- The 911 Access icon is reminiscent of the emergency cross you typically see on an ambulance.
- And finally, the Phone Numbers icon should look familiar to anyone that’s used a rotary dial.
To bring it all together, we knew the content really had to embody the Bandwidth personality. After all, a story is only as great as it’s storyteller. That’s why we built our key attributes into the tone and voice of the copy itself. We wanted to make sure we remained casual and conversational so people can relate to us. But in that same regard, we wanted to give people the feeling that Bandwidth is both bold and confident enough to deliver the better quality we promise — not so bold, though, that our quirkiness doesn’t show through. But perhaps the most enduring attribute, for me, is our willingness to remain transparent and communicative even when issues arise. There’s nothing worse than a company that can’t admit it’s done something wrong. But our CEO, David Morken, and our COO, Steve Leonard, have time and time again owned our shortcomings, pivoted, and created an even better customer experience by learning from times when we didn’t quite hit the mark.
Am I excited about this rebrand? You’re friggin right I am! THIS is the brand that would have had me excited right out of the gate. Not only were we able to create a visual identity that portrays the exciting years-long transformation from internet reseller to telecom network provider to a customer-driven software company, our brand showcases the heart of the company: our flexibility, our customers, and our people.
And lastly, a big shout out to our talented design lead Hannah Magnan. Without her, the branding project would never have lived up to the Bandwidth legacy.
It’s a new day, y’all. Let’s build something!