How Doodle Activated a New Brand to Show the World the Power of When
Everything starts with when.
Before you can get to that interview for your dream job and plan for life’s milestones, you must ask: when is the time right?
Doodle built a global presence to help people anywhere harness the power of when by making sense of their calendars. After 15 years of international growth, Doodle recognized more people needed to see the potential in a simple question—when? They wanted the power of when to touch every corner of scheduling, from our personal plans to professional calendars within businesses.
To stay relevant and competitive in the growing calendar app landscape, in 2019, Doodle started exploring opportunities to add professional scheduling to its offerings.
Doodle decided to pursue its first major rebrand in company history to cement that mission.
According to Doodle CEO Renato Profico, “we were at the point that we were transitioning into the professional. But the brand was still the brand concept that was founded 15 years ago. The brand perception and brand awareness was not where we wanted it to be.”
In Innovatemap, Renato said Doodle found a partner who understood that your brand is the product, as much as the product itself.
“The creative challenge was to not completely abandon what got Doodle to where they are,” said Andy Kennedy, Principal of Brand Strategy & Design at Innovatemap. “We didn’t want to make it look like they left behind 10 million active users. But we did want to make Doodle look appropriately new.”
The Innovatemap team that worked with Doodle includes:
- Tina Hafer, Executive Partner, Product Marketing & Business Ops
- Andy Kennedy, Principal, Brand Strategy & Design
- Meghan Pfeifer, Senior Product Marketer & Brand Strategist
- Parker McCullough, Senior Brand Designer
- Yhareli Chamboneth, Senior Motion Designer
- Tressa Janes, Brand Designer
- Maria Otteson, Product Marketer
- Laurimar Garcia, Product Researcher
The work that resulted in the Doodle rebrand began with a deep dive into the product marketing fundamentals that drive how the company positions itself in market and ultimately talks about itself to buyers and users.
Empowered by research from Laurimar Garcia, Meghan Pfeifer and Maria Otteson set off to help Doodle appeal to business customers, while not losing the audience it had built in personal scheduling.
“We wanted to use their existing reputation as a global scheduling leader, but they were being recognized for the wrong things,” Meghan said. An adjustment to the company’s positioning, messaging, and core brand idea would help Doodle change perceptions.
When work began on cultivating a new brand idea, the Innovatemap and Doodle teams began with questions. Some were aimed at the market, and others targeted Doodle itself. Together, we asked, what is Doodle’s guiding mission and vision as a company? We then looked to Doodle’s competitors—what were they not saying, and how could Doodle amplify its unique perspective to fill the gap?
This research resulted in three initial brand ideas the Innovatemap team presented back to Doodle. The winner ended up as a single word: when.
The when concept brought a bold, clear, and simple direction to the entire rebrand, including the forthcoming logo update and visual refresh. Through a single word, our teams found the guiding statement we needed to craft a message that would balance the personal and professional sides of the Doodle audience.
As Andy reflected, “we want the work to grab attention—but once it does that, the brand needs to communicate more. Once the brand stops people, they make a judgment. It’s our role to decide, what idea do we want them to see first? For Doodle, that’s the idea of when.”
When is where all parts of Doodle’s audience intersect. It’s what makes any meeting possible. Every action starts with when, and Doodle is there to answer.
Doodle emerged from the rebrand process with a fresh new look that matched its growth trajectory and a brand concept that anyone could relate to guiding it. But the teams involved didn’t abandon the past; they used lessons from Doodle’s 15-year history to keep its millions of active users at the center of any changes made.
“From the beginning, we talked about past, present, and future Doodle,” Renato said. “We needed all the background and historical information to explain our transition to professional scheduling and the brand that emerged as a result.”
In working with Doodle the Innovatemap team also deepened our commitment to activating new brand concepts. Innovatemap’s brand team joined Doodle’s internal design team for 6 months to curate hundreds of illustrations and align visual updates in the product to the “when” idea; that way, the Doodle and Innovatemap teams became true colleagues and empowered themselves to go deeper creatively.
Doodle’s new messaging also had to resonate with customers across time zones and languages, and it was our job to ensure the when concept was clear in any environment. Even with this focus, we paid homage to Doodle’s Swiss origins with traditional typography from the region.
“The whole rebrand is the biggest shift in Doodle’s visual identity since the founding of the company,” Parker says. “This is their chance to make a new statement about who they are, and who they want to be.”