Designing a cure for tech stack chaos

Launching a new software brand to help companies regain control over the SaaS tools they use

Background

Apps are everywhere. Which is mostly a good thing—until it’s not. Left unattended, apps sprawl across the enterprise. Some machines get updated with the latest versions, but most aren’t. Licenses go unused — do your designers really need Salesforce log-ins? And don’t forget security: shining a light on “Shadow IT” is one of the CIO’s biggest headaches.

The innovative minds at Lenovo Software created a new product to help teams retake control over the software they use every day. New Kind came in to architect the brand strategy from the ground up: from foundational messaging to visual identity system to launch campaign.

 

Industries: Technology

Services: Campaigns, Identity System, Positioning, Research, Rollout Strategy, Storytelling

Research

It all starts with the stack

 

The Airstack team came prepared with extensive market research to better understand the voice of their customers. From persona research to early messaging explorations, a wealth of resources were at our disposal from the outset.

Adding to our research foundation, interviews with key internal stakeholders from the Airstack and Lenovo Software teams helped us gather a range of perspectives on the future of the Airstack brand directly from those who know it best.

Alignment arose in a half-day workshop where client and agency came together for a day of creative collaboration. Sharing research findings. Working through a series of brand-building exercises. All in the spirit of defining a clear path forward.

Positioning, Story, and Messaging

Bringing sanity back to software

 

A crucial insight emerged from our research: The benefits of a well-organized tech stack, while familiar to the world of IT Ops, is still a relatively new concept for most business leaders. Bridging this gap served as the messaging strategy for Airstack. 

Airstack, we realized, wasn’t just seeking to control tech stack chaos. It was created to fundamentally change the relationships people have with their software. To help teams across the enterprise stop seeing software as a struggle, and instead embrace a new perspective, captured in what we crafted to be Airstack’s big brand message: Software as a Strategy. When teams and companies can clearly, confidently master the many apps and solutions they need to run their business, software shifts from a necessary evil to a driving force for innovation.

Visual Identity

Building a unique system

 

We built the Airstack visual brand around one core idea: Balance. 

The brand needed to be elegant and sophisticated, simple and powerful—expressing visually how it feels to use Airstack. Our challenge was to create an innovative and dynamic visual brand that sets the standard for tech stack management, while also inspiring trust and reliability.

We started by aligning around a Visual Organizing Principle that captured the simple control and peace of mind Airstack delivers:

We used this phrase to guide the creation of a logo and visual system unlike anything else in the market.

We took strides to ensure the new identity would fit within the parent Lenovo brand, but also give Airstack the space to take on a life of its own.

The Airstack Prism, a mark that visualizes the clarity that comes from harnessing your tech stack: a single, centralized source of software power. Supporting elements quickly took shape, developing into a visual toolbox of design assets internal teams could use to create new diagrams, icons, and illustrations in the future.

Launch Campaign + Rollout

Hello world, it’s Airstack

 

Building on the newly developed brand story, we landed on a campaign theme that spoke directly to the challenges faced by Airstack’s primary target audiences: End App Anarchy

Headlines and supporting messages flowed from this guiding theme, ready to be mixed and matched for contexts across digital, environmental, and print. We grouped these messages around three key buying stages and messaging areas of focus, prioritized specifically for this launch campaign.

Campaign work gave rise to an expanded visual system, highlighting how Airstack helps teams evolve from a state of chaos to a place of zen, order, and calm control. Hand-touched illustrations, relatable scenes, and human figures invite audiences to imagine the experience of using Airstack in their own worlds. 

Outcomes

Getting teams and tools on the same page

 

Since completing our work with Airstack, the team has launched a new website, featuring messaging pulled directly from, and inspired by, our brand and campaign work together. These visual and messaging assets can also be seen across Airstack’s social media channels and marketing materials.

Armed with a cohesive, differentiated, and authentic brand, Airstack is poised to change the way people and teams engage with their apps and digital tools—inspiring happier, more harmonious tech stacks the world over.

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