Creating a Human-to-Human Brand for a Machine-to-Machine Technology Leader

The Challenge

  • Update the Digi brand to reflect its leadership in the increasingly crowded field of wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
  • Leverage Digi’s 30 years of expertise and inventive spirit to cut through the industry chatter around the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Focus the Digi brand on its key differentiator in the wireless marketplace: mission-critical connectivity under extreme conditions.

Over the past few years, a lot of companies have spun a glowing future around the Internet of Things, the emerging Internet that allows billions of devices to talk to each other. But for Digi International, there’s nothing futuristic about the Internet of Things. It’s here right now.

Machine-to-machine connectivity is the foundation of the Internet of Things, and it’s been Digi’s business for three decades. Digi products make it easy for devices—from industrial robots to heart monitors—to communicate, often over wide areas and under extreme conditions.

As the company’s 30th anniversary approached, Digi senior leadership decided that their brand needed re-alignment to reflect the company’s current products and markets. The Digi logo, for example, had been inspired by one of the company’s earliest products: a serial board that plugged into a desktop PC. Not exactly the far-ranging wireless world that Digi was now helping to build.

That was the challenge Digi International brought to Schermer: How could Digi re‑establish its brand in a wildly expanding IoT marketplace—one that Digi itself helped create?

Finding the difference

An audit of Digi competitors confirmed a wireless industry where everyone talked endlessly about the IoT, innovation, solutions, platforms, and clouds. Schermer’s task was to lift Digi above this sea of sameness. Our research team wanted to know why, amid all the IoT upstarts, customers kept coming back to Digi. What was Digi offering that nobody else did?

Through our proprietary brand workshop, stakeholder interviews, and other discovery tools, we identified Digi strengths that provided the foundation for the new brand. We heard things like: Dependable. Confidence. Mission-critical. Harsh environments. Experts. Trusted. Pragmatic and results-driven. Performance no matter what.

A distinctly Digi personality began to emerge. While other companies talked about the lofty potential of the Internet of Things, Digi was hard at work, making it happen. We learned that when customers built mission-critical applications, they depended on Digi for can’t-fail connectivity using the latest wireless technology.

From insights gained through discovery, the Schermer team wrote a new brand strategy and positioning that was relevant, ownable, and distinguished Digi from its competitors: Connectivity for critical applications. The positioning inspired a new tagline—Connect with confidence—that suggested confidence both in Digi’s wireless M2M connectivity, and the choice of Digi as a technology partner.

Bringing the brand to life

After agreeing on the brand strategy, Schermer and the Digi marketing team worked closely to craft Digi’s story. We created messaging that provides compelling content for both technical and business-oriented audiences:

“Digi customers have mission-critical goals to achieve. Budgets to meet. Deadlines to hit. This is machine connectivity with an ROI. Proven technology that always comes through when you need it most. While everyone talks about the Internet of Things, Digi connects you to the Internet of Getting Things Done.”

At the same time, Schermer designers were busy creating a new Digi logo; one that expressed precision, technology, and connection. The new logo broke out of the enclosing green rectangle of the previous logo, visually setting the Digi name free from boundaries. The rectangle itself morphed into a green triangle that gave the logo its “up and away” forward movement; and its precise 45° angle became an element used throughout the new Digi design system.

We assembled the new branding, messaging, logo, and design into a 26-page “Brand Playbook” that gives everyone at Digi guidance on how to correctly apply the new Digi brand. The playbook covers everything from high-level explanations—why a strong brands matters—to specifics on logo use, color specs, and layout components.

But the most dramatic expression of the new Digi brand was a new brand video. Produced for use in the new Digi trade show bo0th, plus sales presentations and the web site, the short video presents the vast sweep of Digi applications, and the unlimited potential of M2M connectivity and the Internet of Things.

Connecting with customers

By far the biggest execution of the new Digi brand was an overhaul of the company’s website. Digi’s in-house web team had already started planning new commerce and product pages; and the Schermer team complemented their work with user experience (UX) strategy, content, design, and imagery. The site clearly establishes Digi’s brand and mission-critical positioning up front, while offering customers much easier access to rich content on products and applications.

With its re-energized brand, Digi is renewing its own mission-critical connections with distributors, end-customers, and employees. At a time when there’s a lot of industry buzz around the Internet of Things, the new Digi brand presents stability, depth, and assured expertise—the go-to partner for making M2M connectivity work with confidence.

“Our rebranding has improved our corporate visibility – given us the consistency, energy and framework for our communications in all avenues. Of course, we are still implementing, but the first year of use has been very positively embraced by key audiences such as customers and channel. Also important, our employees wholeheartedly embraced the new brand – not easily done. The corporate video produced by Schermer is often cited as the best piece produced that really explains all that we do is a very simple and engaging manner.” – Elizabeth Herberg, Director of Marketing