You may have noticed that Surgimate’s had a makeover. New website, logo, bold new colors, and – if you’ve attended surgical conferences in recent months – you’ve no doubt seen our unmissable yellow booth.
It’s a radical makeover, one we designed with specific business goals in mind for our company. But the story behind our new look is not unique to Surgimate; it offers universal insights on corporate identity and, we hope, valuable learnings for surgical practices keen to differentiate themselves and stand out from their competitors.
Why change our look, and why now?
When we started Surgimate over a decade ago, we established a new product category: dedicated surgical scheduling software. Our first product, an automatic form generator, was a godsend for practices because it solved a straightforward problem and was easy to understand. Schedulers had been waiting for a tool like this for a long time and it didn’t take much convincing to introduce it to their workflow.
This is what our original logo looked like.
We didn’t invest too much in our company’s visual identity back then because it wasn’t a priority. As a young, lean startup we focused our resources on software development and sales, less so on marketing.
However, this changed a few years later when we launched Surgimate ESRM, the end-to-end solution that forms the backbone of our system today. What began as simple form generator had now grown to an enterprise level management platform, competing – at least in the minds of our customers – with other enterprise systems (EMR, EHR) that offered some, if limited, surgical scheduling functionality.
Our marketing challenge was to convince practices to ditch the costly, inefficient and error-prone ‘workaround’ scheduling methods they had been using to manage surgical scheduling in favor of our integrated, paperless system. Easier said than done. As the only company in our niche field, the burden of ‘educating’ the market about the need for an enterprise solution to replace manual processes fell solely on us. Our biggest challenge was, and continues to be, low awareness among managers and physician owners of the cost of traditional ‘workaround’ scheduling, and no awareness of a software solution out there to automate the process.
It’s all about positioning.
You may have heard marketers refer to positioning. Put simply, it means how you ‘position’ your brand in the mind of the consumer. For too long, our software was seen by surgical practices as a ‘nice to have’ – a premium and nonessential IT acquisition. It suffered from a lack of perceived business value in the eyes of practice managers and physician-owners. Our challenge was to reposition Surgimate from a ‘nice to have’ solution’ to a ‘must-have’ solution’. To do this, we needed to create a bolder, more confident brand voice and a clearer, more compelling value proposition.
But first… a quick reminder of our old brand identity, on the eve of our face-lift.
Plain logo, header swoosh, stock images of handsome surgeons. Pretty, but vanilla. Aside from the calendar-inspired square logo, there was nothing intentional about our visual language. It didn’t say anything at all about our brand – just that we were another software company. Not special enough to justify our premium positioning.
This is our new logo.
Bold, simple, confident. We bucked the contemporary trend of all lowercase characters for a larger, bolder uppercase. And we added a short, punchy slogan, ‘on schedule’.
The block beneath the ‘S’ was inspired by time blocks in a calendar; the colors of the blocks are based on the highlighter colors used by schedulers to mark paper calendars and books.
The color blocks are a recurring element in our brand language and are used consistently across all touch points.
The way we speak about ourselves has changed, too. Where possible, we let our customers do the talking, with real stories, quotes and photographs.
Our all-new website
Of all our brand assets, the website is the most important tool for explaining what we do, generating new business, and conveying what we think and how we feel as a software brand.
The site also exemplifies our new brand voice. We’ve replaced long-winded descriptions of our company and products with a clearer, more concise value proposition for prospective customers. Where our old site was text-heavy and hard to navigate, the new one is airier, more visual, and offers a much improved user experience. We’ve also changed the way we talk, from a stiff corporate style full of buzzwords and written in the third person to simple everyday English written in the first person. (If you spot any buzzwords or cliches, please let me know!)
It takes time for brand perception to change. Only time will tell if our attempt to reposition Surgimate from ‘nice to have’ software to ‘must-have’ software is a success, but we believe we’ve taken the first step in the right direction.
This is the first in a series of articles I plan to write on the subject of marketing and communications. I hope you found it useful.
Guy Gordon is creative director at Surgimate. A former ad-man, Guy is father to three girls and a keen marathoner and mountain biker.