Why rebrand in a pandemic?

A post from our CEO, Phil Doye

Why rebrand in a pandemic?

A post from our CEO, Phil Doye

 
 

At the best of times, there have to be compelling reasons to rebrand your business.

So, why did we decide to rebrand SBL as boxxe (pronounced box-ie) in the middle of a pandemic?

One of the most compelling reasons why I acquired SBL was that I felt I could make a difference to the business and the people that worked there. In the short time since the acquisition, the business has evolved to become unrecognisable from the business I bought. A change of name was always likely, and while COVID-19 gave us reason to pause, we concluded now was the right time to launch boxxe for three key reasons:

  • Even among existing clients, most of whom had worked with us for many years, the company was known both as SBL and by its earlier name, Software Box. At the very least, this suggested some clarity was needed
  • For much of our 30 year history, SBL operated largely in the public sector and in defence. Our success in these areas, especially in the provision of world-leading data security, led to increasing demand from the corporate sector where the SBL brand was not widely known. Our decision to accelerate our engagement with corporations gave us an ideal opportunity to reposition our services and our brand
  • The changing vision for the business also meant a change in values and behaviour which a new brand would mark 

 

What is a rebrand?

Often, a rebrand amounts to little more than a new logo or a new name.

I believe this is to misunderstand what a brand is.

Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney, defined a brand as “a thousand small gestures.” Among these gestures are, of course, the brand name and visual identity. But a brand is also a culture: it’s how you interact with your clients, how you treat each other internally, how you are rewarded for your achievements, the values you live by, the contribution you make to the environment and the wider community to which your business belongs.

We felt it was time to introduce fresh values into SBL and a new name would be the perfect vehicle to make those changes.

 

What changed?

For any rebrand to work, it requires the entire team to buy into the vision for the business.

For this to happen, any change in the culture of a business has to be authentic: a business has to be what it says it is, and do what it says it does. When this happens, the mission and values of a business are credible and collectively owned.

The first change we made was to agree our mission, which is to help organisations to be the best they can be by enabling people, systems and technology to function efficiently and effectively.

We encapsulated this humanistic vision in the strapline ‘Making Technology Human’ and in our values where inclusion, sustainability and being meritocratic take a leading role. These values drive a culture where there is commonality of cause among us all while leaving everyone free to develop their skills and careers according to their own personal strengths.

We committed to a comprehensive training and development programme for all members of the team. We also made a commitment to lead the industry in environmental and human sustainability. This has already led to two major initiatives:

  • We set up the boxxe community to empower individuals, schools, non-profit organisations and small businesses to use technology for personal and commercial growth. We enable them to achieve these goals by providing knowledge, expertise, training, support, apprenticeships, scholarships, hardware and software. By harnessing technology for social good, the boxxe community delivers on its core objective, which is to give back to the wider community of which we are a part 
  • We will become B Corporation certified by the end of 2020. This is central to our mission as a business, since, as their website explains, Certified B Corporations “are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose...and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.” As part of a community of global leaders, we are committed to redefine success and to ensure boxxe is a force for personal, collective and environmental good

The name, boxxe, was chosen because of its link to our past as Software Box and to create a new culture of ‘boxxers’ - our dedicated team who’ve earned the right to shape our future by being exceptional at what they do and by demonstrating their commitment to delivering extraordinary value to our clients.

 

Why does it matter?

A change of name or logo is of little consequence unless it drives behavioural change internally and creates deeper, more effective engagement with clients.

I describe myself as someone that lives in a constant state of dissatisfaction, which means I’m always questioning the things we do today, even when we’re doing them well, to make sure we do them even better tomorrow. Real improvement is only possible if we have the courage and humility to look critically at ourselves.

That’s why SBL is now called boxxe, why I bought a great company with a proud history and made it our mission to be a world-leader in digital transformation, in the provision of military-grade security, in cloud infrastructures and consultancy, in creating habitable workspaces, in data processing, analytics and reporting, in human and environmental sustainability, in delivering value to clients and in enabling everyone who is a part of boxxe to be the best version of themselves they can be. 

Phil Doye