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Meet our new brand

Our team spent the past five months partnering with Red Antler to reflect on our company mission, value proposition, and worldview to build a more aligned brand for Zeal by Puzzl.

Kirti Shenoy

January 20, 2022

I’m so excited to share our new look with you all!

Our team spent the past five months partnering with Red Antler to reflect on our company mission, value proposition, and worldview to build a more aligned brand. In a space as technically complex as payroll infrastructure we believe it is extra-important for us to take the time to make taxes and payments fun and understandable to the general tech community.

In this blog, I hope to share insights on our process of building a better brand. A special thank you to our Brand Designer Christina Glass and Growth Lead Alex Dees for spearheading efforts on this project!

Part 1: Discovery Process

The first part of the brand development process is discovery. Christina, Alex, my co-founder Pranab and I sat down with the Red Antler team to share insights on our product, platform, and users. Together we white-boarded, walked through demos, and put together industry research to gain more insight into our market.

Word Association Exercise

Before you design or write content copy, it’s important to choose words that are representative of the brand you wish to convey. We went down a word association exercise and landed upon: 

Moodboarding

Moodboards are helpful tools to visualize the “vibe” you want your brand to convey. Our team liked themes of boldness, abstractness, brightness, safety, and opportunity.

Brand Strategy

After rounds of interviews, solidifying word association, and picking a mood, we settled on our ‘Target’ and ‘Insight’.

Target: Savvy, future-focused business leaders and high-growth companies who don’t yet fully realize the profit-generating benefits of payroll.

Insight: Payroll leads to profits. It is an untapped resource that can add functionality, unlock new financial services, and improve client retention.

The brand strategy pyramid below covers a summary of the key themes we wanted to convey. It was amazing to see the brand start to come to life, and I especially loved the frameworks the Red Antler team came up with such as our company being the “Washington Watchdogs”.

Part 2: Brand Elements

With the discovery stage concluded and our brand strategy locked down, we moved onto creating brand elements.

Voice and Tone

After sharing feedback on our users and buyer-prototype our team settled on the following voice and tone.

  • Confident but not forceful
  • Peer not pal
  • Straightforward not curt
  • Meticulous not brainy 

Colors and Typography

Next came colors and typography. This is one of the most important and exciting parts of building a brand. Based on our previous moodboard, we settled on using bright, bold colors layered on top of grayscale backgrounds to convey a modern and bold touch.

For typography we choose a custom font to give our brand a unique feel. We settled on GT America Extended and Expanded to create impact, boldness, and personality with expansive letters.

Graphics

Our graphic elements are our primary brand expressions, used to represent our platform and benefits. They utilize bold, geometric shapes and color to simplify our complex product stack and show the possibilities of payroll without relying heavily on technical jargon, product UI, or code. 

Part 3: Website

Now was the time to start designing our website. We took themes from discovery and brand elements phases to design an awesome forward-facing website.

Part 4: Staying on brand

Now that the website is live the real work starts. Our team will continue building and launching amazing content and products that align with our brand. Christina will take on the role of our team’s brand guardian and ensure we continue to iterating on all of our great learnings from this project.

A few things our team is doing to continue building on our brand:

  1. Utilizing a brand toolkit. Christina has created an awesome toolkit for our team members to continue using our brand elements correctly for future projects.
  2. Redesigning collateral. From our sales material to integration material we will rebuild our external focused material to represent our new brand

Overall Reflections

I’m so proud of the amazing work our team and Red Antler put in to make our company better, bolder, and brighter than ever before. Building a better brand is a huge time and capital resource commitment that can sometimes seem like a lot for an early-stage company, but seeing the look on our internal team’s face when they saw our new brand made it all worth it. At the end of the day, building a company that both externally and internally makes your team feel inspired and proud to contribute great work everyday is all that matters.

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