To say that I’ve been thinking a lot about branding lately is something of an understatement. From the moment I joined the company, the idea of changing YouSendIt’s name has been the subject of much deliberation and discussion. After all, changing the name of a well-known service used by over 40 million people is not something to take lightly.
Name changes are often the refuge of companies looking to escape a less-than-glorious past, such as Blackwater’s rebranding as Academi following its controversial involvement in the Iraq War. But there are also many successful name changes made by businesses that, like YouSendIt, simply outgrow their original (often descriptive) moniker.
As it grew spectacularly in 1997, AuctionWeb changed its name to eBay — a less descriptive but ultimately inspired choice that allowed the brand to expand into a wide variety of retail operations. Popular music site Pandora started life as Savage Beast back when its business model was listening kiosks in record stores. Software Development Laboratories changed its name twice, first to Relational Software, Inc. then to Oracle — a brand that has proven extensible enough to go from relational databases to a dizzying array of software, hardware and services.
Buoyed by these precedents and convinced that a new brand was a necessary pre-requisite for our longer-term ambitions, we embarked on the months of planning and preparation that went into this week’s unveiling of Hightail.
One of our main goals was to select a name that would stand out against the preponderance of descriptive names in our space. The words cloud, box, share, and sync were banned as clichés. We also didn’t want a name that was a made-up word – a serious challenge given how many domains and trademarks are registered. Choosing the right name can be an imprecise art, but the one thing we were certain of was that it is better to be bold and unique than boring and forgettable.
Not everyone will like it but Hightail is certainly a memorable name that encompasses both our broad suite of current capabilities as well as our future innovations. It feels intuitive and fast, like it’s going places. Our new visual identity with its elegant design and adventurous color palette also sets us apart from the competition.
Ultimately a great brand is never the result of a name or logo, which are more like a promise that must be kept by the product or service the brand represents. The new Hightail user experience that will start to roll out in the coming days and weeks lives up to that brand promise. It includes a complete refresh of every screen across our web, desktop and mobile apps. In the coming months you’ll notice that we’ve rethought every experience across every product across every platform. This new experience reflects our commitment to always improve and innovate our products to solve the needs of our end users and enterprise customers.
As we continue to deliver great products and user experiences, the name Hightail will cease to be a mere word and become a strong brand. This video expresses our vision for what that brand will be. With our new name finally launched to the world, it’s now time to stop thinking about branding and start shaping a new one.