At Wix, we began our rebranding journey back in 2017 in an attempt to bring more developers to our platform in the face of a perception problem. The new brand we came up with was called Corvid…
In this article, I’ll explain the challenges we’ve faced since, how we rebranded again and translated our goals into KPIs with the ultimate aim of fulfilling the intent of our users.
My name is Asaf, I'm 34 years old and based in Tel Aviv. I started my journey in PR as a spokesperson. After a while, I decided to try a different angle as a project manager and became a product manager.
After a few years, I got this opportunity to become a PMM and I'm very grateful for this. It really suited everything I love to do and the skills I've been doing even in PR, public relations, or product.
It combined everything and I'm very lucky to be doing what I'm doing. I fell in love with this.
What is Wix?
I want to share our story of Velo by Wix, how it evolved, the challenges we encountered at Wix, how we tried to fulfill the intent of our customers, and how we translated it to our goals and KPIs.
For people not familiar with Wix, it's a very comprehensive website builder platform that allows people all around the world, millions of users, to create professional websites and web applications using simple drag-and-drop elements and adding apps.
Understanding the dev audience
The interesting thing about Velo and Wix is that we deal with different types of products and audiences.
We all know that every audience has their own unique style, way of consuming information, and tone of voice. And the audience varies from business owners, designers, and entrepreneurs, but somehow, it feels to me personally, that developers are a very specific type of audience.
Traits of web developers
Developers are very sophisticated. They know what they want, and they want to use the latest technologies. They have their own tools already they're used to, and their flow of how they do it.
By the way, they don't click match on ads, which could be a challenge. They trust mostly fellow developers, the trust within the community is super important for them.
At Wix, when we started more than a decade ago, we were first focused on the DIY audience, mostly small to medium businesses that needed a website. They could do it pretty quickly and without even knowing code.
But as we grew as a product, as a company, and the number of users we had, there was a great need from our users to find a way to gain more control and customize their website.
Release of Wix Code: 2017
The company worked days and nights in order to provide our users what they wanted and created a way to enable our users to customize their site. Wix Code was the answer.
By 2017, we released the first version of Wix Code and when Wix Code was opened, we had a lot of existing Wix users already. We invested a lot on inbound, and still do, obviously.
Our users were really happy about it, and the exposure and adoption were growing. There was a growing demand for more and more capabilities. But it was really challenging to attract the audience that can make even more out of these tools - developers.
User intent focus
Essentially, after we released Wix Code, we really put a lot of effort into understanding our users, their intent, and what they want to do. At Wix we're user obsessed, we're focused so much on the intent, and we put so much effort into it. We do it in a few ways.
First, obviously, we are doing a lot of user interviews, also with potential users, of course. We want to learn all the missing gaps, and we want to learn what they want, how we can help them achieve what they want to do, and which feature they want.
The true nature of interviewing is so much better than just seeing data, you really feel the pain points of the user.
We also extended and deepened our BI events to get even more data so we can even analyze more and more steps of our users.
They essentially use code so it's really hard to understand whether it was good or not, what's the quality and if it was a good journey for them or experience.
Support tickets, forum discussions & feature requests
We also obviously went over forum discussions, feature requests, and also support tickets, all in order to really understand their needs and how we can deliver better to them.
Not only because it was kind of a new type of audience, it's our true nature always to do it at Wix but we even pushed more to try and understand how this audience can benefit, and how we can close the gap in the market.
After doing all this research and releasing Wix Code and having users using it, we learned a few things for this point.
First, we need more features that will support their cycle and users need even more control, the more control we gave them to be able to use more customization over Wix sites and over their project, they said "Come on, give us more. It's amazing".
It was amazing to hear that and we did try to provide it.
We created more education materials to support these efforts, obviously. And we put a lot of effort into growing the community, then enhancing it. We have our forum, which we put a lot of effort into and we created teams to support this more efficiently.
We learned that when developers, traditional developers, heard Wix back then, they used to say, "Wix? So you can do it by yourself. You don't need me for that". But that was wrong.
It was still challenging to bring more traditional developers.
After all this, we saw what's going on and we started approaching different kinds of traditional developers that we really wanted to bring to our platforms.
It was really challenging because Wix for them was DIY. So we tried to move from DIY to Dev and we had a really big perception problem with Wix as a whole.
We decided to invest in, of course, all the points I mentioned earlier, the community, the education, everything the user, no matter their role, needs to learn to use the platform.
We did everything to grow this, and to support them as much as we can. But we understood that maybe we should find a different way to approach this audience. Maybe, if Wix doesn't sound much good for them, we should try and rebrand it.
Renaming to Corvid: 2019
By 2019, after two years, we rebranded to Corvid. We wanted to find something cool at that time, something that will sound fast, catchy, that will reflect web development, and to make something professional, sophisticated, and Corvid was the name.
Why Corvid? This is the website we created.
The accelerated development of web applications. On this website, we really tried to be very sophisticated and professional and use the jargon of developers. But the true fact is that we did it a little bit too hard.
By the way, for those who don't know what a Corvid is, essentially it's a bird from the crows family, they're super intelligent, flying high, and it also has some core with it.
When we approached web developers, coders, or other relevant audiences, outside Wix, whether agencies, freelancers, etc. it was really a better way to approach them from the back end and show them a different way or different angle of Wix.
But then the pandemic started. Corvid sounds a little bit like COVID, not even a little bit, and nobody wants to be a COVID developer.
During this pandemic, we experienced SEO collisions. If you would search on Google, this would happen.
We could see more collisions, our social comments were not positive. They really made fun of our brand, "Why Corvid? A virus for coding". It was sad and funny at the same time.
Obviously, COVID itself is not funny at all but the comments were kind of entertaining on that matter.
New brand needed
Once we understood that COVID-19 is here to stay, we understood that we have no other choice and a new brand is needed.
We tried to find a new brand name. So within two months, we were looking for a new brand name that will reflect also what we had before but in a more advanced way. It will reflect velocity, security, hyperspeed, professionalism, and sophistication.
That's how we came up with the new brand. I would like to show you now our campaign that we did for releasing this in January earlier this year.
Say hello to Velo
This was the video, we're very proud of it, it was very successful. Essentially, what you saw here is that as Wix and Velo, we just understood our mistake, or the coincidence, and we didn't want to fight it.
We wanted to show our users that we listen to them and that we can evolve very quickly. It's very important in our industry.
We created this campaign, we created a new homepage which you can see the first fold of above.
We changed the way we communicate because we understood during this year how we want to communicate with them in a different language and tone, and to be more straightforward. How we can point the intent of the users and show it to them directly on the website, instead of just trying to sound professional and trying to talk in the jargon.
It was like this kid in school that tried to be cool, trying to be one of the gang. But this time, we really tried to be who we are, admit what happened, and go with it.
I'm glad to share that the feedback and engagement were really great. We saw growth of new commerce, new users, and we saw a lot more visits, essentially, to our documentation and resources during and after the campaign.
What we learned from this is first that our existing users are standing behind the new brand name. We learned a lot from it.
Improved development experience
Another thing we wanted to do is also improve our Dev experience, we don't want to just show them, "Hey, we can be better as a brand". But also as a product, which we all believe is the main thing, the product.
After learning that:
- You don't want to sound like a pandemic,
- You need to listen to your audience, and
- You don't need to be afraid to admit mistakes and be straightforward.
We also improved our development experience and as you can see, this is our old interface.
It's a little bit more simple. It was a little bit more for beginners and everything was on the left side. Organized but not in a very professional way.
After learning and listening to our users and doing user experience testings, the team did an amazing job on the marketing and product together. We put up a new experience, a new interface that gives our audience something more familiar.
An interface they can relate more and not only relate as developers, but also can work better, and work more efficiently.
When we talk about ways to change perception, I would say these are the lessons learned.
- Don't let your brand name sound like a pandemic, that's for sure.
- Always listen to your audience. give them what they want. Sometimes they won't know what they want, essentially, but you need to listen to them and read between the lines.
- Don't be afraid to admit a mistake. It happens. In marketing, everything is money and time. But if you made a mistake or something like this, don't be afraid to admit it, I would suggest even go with the flow unless it's obviously something offensive, God forbid. But don't be afraid if you make some mistakes like this.
- Be straightforward with your audience, you always want to tell them what the product is really about. You don't want to over-promise, you don't want to sound like something you're not, and especially in complaints.
Ways to change perception
When we talk about ways to change perception in general, I would say that there are many ways, but I would say that rebranding works. If you want to change perception, rebranding, I would say is number one. It's the first thing that you should do.
Acquisition videos or videos essentially can really leverage your audience and how they feel about your brand. Show them what can be actually done, and show them what changed. I'm not talking only about the video that you watched earlier, but it's about showing how they can make more out of it.
Partnerships with thought leaders
Also, do partnerships with thought leaders, you want to place yourself with the leaders. You want to be with someone that other developers can relate to or trust. It's really important for developers, it's really important for every audience, but it feels very specific with developers.
Sponsorship of events is something we all do, have events and webinars, try to be in the places where you can position yourself with the top companies because you deserve it.
Put a lot of effort into education, because it really matters. If you won't help or support your users with education, they won't succeed in most of the stuff that you're doing. We saw how crucial it is.
Never forget inbound marketing. I think we all can agree that inbound is the number one growth for your product. I guess it varies from one company to another, and at Wix, we have different products within the company, and even slightly different audiences.
But inbound is really, really important.
Having said that, what we did all along these almost three years, was sticking to our audience while nurturing them, and the pros, and learning from them and the community, what do they really want most?
It's the best way, and we learned from them how we can make them more successful, this is the most important for us, we want them to be successful.
So we talk to them, we call them, we send them emails, "Let's have a call". And we do it on a daily/weekly basis. Every week, we talk with users, we try not to bother the same ones but we talk with them a lot and learn how we can always improve and what can be done better.
We also sometimes give them a direct line to us so they can always talk with us, and we always love to hear from them.
So we took this effort and translated it into tasks and subtasks and used different resources to create a benchmark and set our KPIs on each.
But first, the goals I mentioned, we took our main goals, whether it's education, positioning, or user journey, and following our research, user conversations, support tickets, and everything, we mapped everything we needed to do, and we created our goals.
For every goal, the thing that always accompanied us is three major parameters. I know there are different approaches, but I really think these three main parameters are the ones that always help me, the team, and my colleagues stay focused on a goal or a KPI.
Whether it's creating educational material, doing a webinar, creating a platform, more guides, or even creating a website, trying to really understand what you're trying to achieve there, what you're expecting to be there.
Don't just throw stuff in the air, really be focused, keep yourself focused on the goal, what you're trying to achieve.
- What is the call to action there?
- What are you expecting people to do with it?
Always make sure these KPIs or goals are measurable, it's something you hear all the time, and in our team, it's really important for everything.
In campaigns, as marketers, we have two different types of campaigns. We have what we call the kind of Super Bowl, more awareness and branding campaigns, and some of them are really hard to monitor.
On the other hand, we have more acquisition goals, we want to acquire and bring new users, which is more measurable. But in each way, you can find different creative ways to monitor the activities of your users.
Obviously, only legal ways, we always want to keep our users' data safe and secure according to PII, etc.
Then you want it to be reachable. You're focused, you can measure it but when you set your actual KPI, for example, you want to grow the visits to your website by 10%, don't put KPIs or numbers you cannot reach or cannot be attained.
You will feel bad afterward if you don't achieve it, so will your team and I guess your managers too. So even if it's lower than what you think, try to put the lower KPI, don't put 10% put less so you can get to it. From this, you can always grow.
This is what we learned.
Now we've put a lot of effort into bringing users to Wix and converting them to Velo users, using all our assets and materials that we created, we're working on bringing more and more developers that can also offer their services to other Wix users.
There are a handful of things I'd like you to take away from this article.
Invest in your inbound. It's super important. The inbound users can be taught and can be transmitted. We saw so many users who grew and learned even development on using Velo and it's amazing.
Listen to them and listen to the market - but mostly to your users and what they're trying to achieve. The intent is so crucial, the intent of what they're trying to achieve, what they're trying to accomplish, and what they're trying to do.
This will give you the best insights when it comes to developers and your audience as well.
Educate your audience in the way they like. Developers love blog posts, and they like video tutorials, but sometimes they really love just an API reference.
For those who are not aware, an API reference is just a very long textual documentation that shows the different functionalities of APIs. Give them the education in the way they like.
Don't pretend or over promise, don't pretend you're something you're not. You want to rebrand, you want to show something to your users for acquisition or outbound users, don't try to pretend or over-promise because essentially, it will come back.
For people that get over-promised and signed up, and they don't get what they want, the retention will be low and they will not stay. It sucks. Be straightforward and promise only what you can actually deliver.
Keep your goals and KPIs focused, when you rebrand, when you're targeting a new audience, or dealing with perceptions, stay very focused on what you can start unless you have all the resources in the world.
Otherwise, I would suggest you start with the main stuff, whether it's education, user journey, or whatever it is, try to stay focused and do it the best you can.
Don't be afraid to rebrand. We did it twice. It was a long journey, sometimes tiring, but very successful. I'm very glad to have this opportunity to do it because I learned every time how to get better.
You can imagine when you rebrand, you have tons of educational materials or videos and you need to update everything. We updated everything from Wix Code to Corvid and from Corvid to Velo. But we did it and it was worth it.
Even the SEO was eventually great and everything came back to its place, as long as you follow the rules of Google and other companions.