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The Debrief

Illoominus Rebrand

by

Rewind to 2022 when we were still gearing up for Odi, our sister agency purpose-built for startups. In order to drum up some excitement, we ran a giveaway — a free brand project for one lucky (soon-to-be) client.

The winner of that giveaway was no other than Noelle London, founder and CEO of Illoominus, a company focused on simplifying HR tech stacks in order to transform organizations into people-first workplaces.

Tune in to our latest episode as Noelle and Bill sit down to discuss how it felt to be the first ever Odi project, how the B2B landscape is becoming more humanized, and Noelle's approach to making brand decisions that would grow with her business goals.

Click here to learn more about our work with Illoominus.

00:00 - Introduction

03:25 - Project Background: Odi Giveaway

06:16 - How did you know it was time to rebrand?

13:35 - Expectations and surprises of the rebrand process

22:48 - Rebrand challenge: building a brand that will last

33:45 - Most rewarding part of the rebrand process

36:10 - The ROI of a rebrand in early-stage companies

40:28 - What advice do you have for a founder considering a rebrand?

Full Transcript
[Bill Kenney]

Hey everyone, this is Bill Kenney, CEO and co-founder of Focus Lab and Odi, two global B2B brand agencies. I'm back with another episode of The Debrief. As a reminder, The Debrief is a series where I sit down with past Focus Lab and Odi rebrand partners.

In today's episode, I'm sitting down with Noelle London. She is the founder of a company called Illoominus. Now, to be fair, I recorded this episode a while ago because we worked with Noelle over a year ago. She was actually the first Odi project. We did a giveaway when we launched Odi, over a year ago, that was February 2023 and we did a giveaway to a deserving startup, any deserving startup.

We had a lot of people apply and Noelle, her company Illoominus, she won, she won. So we had the awesome pleasure and the honor of working with her on her company's rebrand. Now, I mentioned that it's been a year. Noelle has achieved more things that we don't even talk about in this call beause it was recorded awhile back. So just shout out to her, raising another round of funding.

She's continued to adapt and pivot and position her company in a way to succeed. So there's been a lot of great change, good growth, but what is still true is the journey that we went on together to establish and build the foundations of her brand, Illoominus and her experience in going through that journey.

I hope you enjoy.

[Bill Kenney]

Well, I'm excited to have you on the show today. Fun fact, we've never met, although you've worked with our company and now we're going to talk about that. This is the first time we're meeting. So great to meet you.

[Noelle London]

Yeah. Nice to meet you too. And it's kind of funny since you are like founder, it feels like I, in some ways I kind of know you a little bit because I know your team and, uh, your brand and what you did with us. So, um, it's great to meet you.

[Bill Kenney]

Yeah. So this will be fun because you have a unique story and how you even came, and partnered with us through the project. And we'll get into that in a minute, but before we do, can you just introduce yourself and let us know what you do at Illoominus?

[Noelle London]

Yeah. So hi, everyone. My name is Noelle London. I'm the founder and CEO of a Illoominus like illuminate us. Um, so we're in Atlanta based company, an Atlanta based early-stage startup. Um, one of the first guinea pigs of Odi and so pleased that we could be. Um, but what we do at at Illoominus is we map out the entire employee journey so that an organization understands what's happening and really where to focus their efforts in order to meet their goals.

So I think you know, this topic and this project for me, um, was near and dear to my heart because, um, I actually got a start in this world as a Peace Corps volunteer down in Nicaragua was sent to teach entrepreneurship.

I was like, I don't know what this word means. Uh, and I very quickly found that entrepreneurs were creative problem solvers, you know, would find a problem and then find a way to go and tackle that. And so the creative piece of it, I think is really fun for me, like as an analytical and creative person.

Um, so being able to flex that side and work alongside your team, um, was honestly super fun and rewarding.

[Bill Kenney]

Just for a little extra context for the people that are watching and listening, um, We are talking through the Odi lens. So, Odi being targeted and positioned specifically for early-stage founders.

Credit to Will Straughan on this, uh, also founder here. He said, why don't we do a big giveaway as the first project? When we launched this new agency, let's have people apply, let's go through those applications, let's select someone. Um, and your mission, really stood out to us.

And we selected you, uh, to go through the project. So I have the date actually. That was September 7th of last year. Does that feel like a really long time ago or like yesterday?

[Noelle London]

Oh, my goodness. It feels like such a long time ago. Uh, we're sitting in. Um, so we were in the Tech Stars program in Atlanta. Um, you know, it's pretty intense going through that program. So I'm like, sit, you know, you're, you're supposed to be in 3 different places at the same time. They're like, you know, can you hop on a phone call with us real quick?

And I'm like. Okay. Um, sitting in a phone booth, Ben Chestnut from MailChimp, the CEO is, like coming and talking to us that day, he's like walking past the phone booth as you all are being like, Hey, like you've got, you know, you've got it. You won. We like want you. And man, it was just, uh, you know, you, you know, you have the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.

And that was a really big high day of someone saying. We super believe in you and your team and what you're building and like, we want to help you bring it to life. Um, so that was super special. And I think like what was even cooler, I mean, that was great, but it's something that I think is near and dear to my heart is that this work has been something that I've been passionate about. It's kind of been the side of the desk thing through, um, my career so far, but somebody that I worked with in a past life, Justin Howie, um, he was one of the 1st people that I called when we were naming the thing.

And he was helping me to bring that to life of like the branding and the assets around that. And so he was a partner of you all's, um, over at Salesloft and loved working with you and your team.

And so when he heard about you running the program, he was like, I've got the company for you. And it, uh, it all just came together. It was super special that I think all of those dots were connecting from, like, previous work.

[Bill Kenney]

It was special, even for us, even that day I know how excited we were to work with you and to share that, hey, we are going to work with you and we couldn't be more proud and excited to support what you're building.

Uh, and how happy that made me feel, uh, as well. So yeah, the stars aligned. Uh, sometimes the world starts to feel really small in that way too. You know, who knows who and how all that, all that worked out.

[Noelle London]

Yeah, yeah.

[Bill Kenney]

So, there we are. So, then we're ready to work with Illoominus. So what I typically ask in these interviews is: how did you know it was time to rebrand and what were you looking for in a partner?

The story is a little bit different, but I still think you could answer the first one, which is what was broken? How did you know that it was time to rebrand? And why did you apply to work with Odi?

[Noelle London]

Yeah. So there are a few things, I mean, I'll tell you the origin story of our first brand was, uh, probably the origin story of, uh, many people's first brand where it's like, you're, you're starting a company and you talk to people about what you're doing and they say, Hey, you know, just send along a PowerPoint deck and you're like, it's Sunday night at 11PM and you find Logo Genie and you spend $49.00 on a logo.

And it was, um, it was like a turquoise. I thought the color palette was nice. I thought at the time. The font was terrible. It was a bird. So that was how we got our first logo. And I think that there were pieces of, and I will say, frankly, like, I always knew it was bad, but like, I didn't know how bad it was until I put it next to what you all did.

And it was like, wow, it was like really time. Um, but I think that a couple of things is just, you know, one as an early company, you know, it felt pretty disconnected, like our previous branding, I think that we had a great designer that could be as creative as possible in making it look better. But I think that, you know, it just didn't really show the gravity of what we're building.

Um, it takes, you know, like a lot of passion and a lot of hard work to build a company and to build a startup. But like there's magic to that. And there's magic about how we're doing it and how we're showing up and how our team is approaching this work. And like, you just did not feel that you didn't feel the magic at all.

[Bill Kenney]

And how could you, right? To be, even to be fair and frank to a company like Logo Genie, how could they feel and build on that magic in $49.00, I'm just going to throw some things at you, exercise.

[Noelle London]

Yeah.

[Bill Kenney]

It will never, it's, it's only meant to do what it did for you in that short period of time. That's it.

[Noelle London]

Yeah, yeah. And it's like my job as a founder is to just like, roll your sleeves up and learn along the way and kind of figure things out. But like, knowing where it's like, you can the $49.00 logo, but like call in the experts at a certain point.

Um, but I think that there were like two other things in particular, um, that really started getting me thinking about like, hey, it's really time to rebrand. Um, I will say it was like a dream come true to be able to do it at the time that we did. I didn't think that we were going to be able to do that until a later stage of funding.

Um, but kind of two things in particular about what we're building and why the branding was so important is that first off, like the HR tech landscape is noisy. Uh, most companies have, you've worked with HR tech companies. I mean, a lot, most companies have 16 different tools. They're not talking to each other.

It's incredibly noisy, which we're finding is actually creating more confusion as opposed to understanding for leaders. And that's why we exist is - can we bring that together to map the journey and show somebody really where to invest their efforts and provide those learnings?

So if that's the role we're playing is to provide like the journey through all of these disparate systems and data, we've really got to stand out and we've got to be strong in how we're standing out for someone to come to us and to trust us with that. And then the other thing to that is like just the space that we're playing in, we're a data company and we're a data company that deals with HR and people data.

And traditionally, when you think about an HR leader, you know, maybe in the olden days, not like now, but a lot of times it was like, this is compliance driven. It's all about compliance. It's legal. It's a liability at, you know, mitigating liability. Yes, that's absolutely a part of the job, but it's also now, like, the good leaders are really now like if I invest in my people, I'm investing in the company.

But with that, it's like it's something new for someone to think about giving their data, pushing their data out of the company instead of holding onto it. And where we really see the opportunity is so many of these leaders have always been working with just their own company data, and they're figuring out everything on their own, which is so inefficient and really expensive for companies that with us being able to create that platform and those learnings across companies, you know, people aren't on their own.

They've got other best practices to learn from and other people, but with that means we've got it as an early-stage company, create that trust and that credibility of, Hey, we've designed this in a way where we're being hypersensitive to your data and how we're handling this.

And we have a lot of integrity and how we're going to handle this data and these learnings, but we got to create trust within that brand. And so I think that what you all have done with us is a really big part of it.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. You've hit on those most important points. And I think that is true for a lot of our clientele with the world that we operate in, which is trust and credibility. Can I trust that you'll do the right thing with whatever it is that they're giving up data or not. And that is hard for an early stage company with a $49.00 logo.

I know every brand does not hinge on a logo, but there is a level of like, Oh, that doesn't look like a real company. That I'm supposed to be opening up all these things too. Um, so it plays a big part in that early trust building, just visually a facade, if you will, do I want to walk into that restaurant or not?

I don't know if I want to walk into that restaurant, even if their food is great. Right. The facade is a point in that journey.

[Noelle London]

Yeah. Yeah. I remember the first time that we showed the initial designs to, um, somebody that was within our Tech Stars class, her response was, Whoa, it looks like, you know, Google's a customer of yours. Just like looking at our brand being like, it looks like Google would buy you. It was like, whoa, that's good. That's what we want.

[Bill Kenney]

Exactly. Right. It is a game of perception. And I talk about that a lot in these interviews and that does not mean, being fake, creating perception that is not real, but you want to be perceived, like you said, as trustworthy and being able to play at a different level. That's an important part of a growing company.

We all have to kind of like play up, if you will, um, and brand is definitely a huge way to do that. So I'm glad you got that initial reaction, but we'll talk more about that in a minute as well. I'm actually really happy to hear that you had the brand understanding. You understood the value.

You are not the type of founder that was saying, Oh, I don't think I even need that. I'm going to roll with this logo for another three years and get to your series C to find that the brand is really holding you back. Uh, you were able to address it early. Uh, but what, having not gone through a rebrand, I guess, of this caliber yet, what were your expectations going in?

Like, what were you really thinking was going to happen or come out of that?

[Noelle London]

Well, one, I think you're being really kind in the way that you set that up, because I think that I, I think that I understood what it eventually would do. And I knew that we weren't coming off the way that we wanted to be perceived, but I was also, you know, we're a super scrappy team. And so it also did feel like a big, um, it felt like a big spend at the time.

You know, it felt like it would be a big spend at this point in our life. Um, but, you know, I was a total newbie to the process. I knew the value of it, but the process itself, I was a complete newbie to, um, and so I super appreciated the team's patience with me as we were going through the process because they would say words and I was like, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Every single thing I was like, pause, can you explain that to me? What is that? So I think like, you know, also just kind of adjusting your process of, like, explaining to founders through the process as you're going through an early-stage branding exercise.

So you all were very patient with me along the way. So I think that I knew, like, this was gonna be super valuable. I had no idea the intentionality that was going to go into the process, um, and just the amount of work that came through the rebranding process. It was, um, Yeah, I mean, I very much appreciate it now, but I had no idea that that was what it was going to look like.

Um, I think there were some really neat things along the way through the process. Um, you know, and I don't wanna spoil your process. I know that you talk about it, um, quite a bit as well. But, um, one thing that was pretty cool going through and just kind of like how you bob and weave through the process as partners is, you know, we wanted something that was a little bit more literal. We didn't necessarily want an abstract, um,you know, logomark. And I might even be saying the word wrong.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. You got it. See? Yes. Yes.

[Noelle London]

But going through that process, um, you know, like we had different concepts that were initially presented to us based on some of the pre-work that we'd done and sharing what we'd been doing with your team and coming back, there were some really cool concepts.

One of them was this firefly, which we ultimately ended up landing on. And I think that was deep down inside, like truly what we wanted. We just didn't know how to bring it to life. And you all did. And so, we ultimately ended up landing on the firefly concept because it was this idea of lighting the way to better workplaces and measurably better workplaces.

But what was so neat is, I was like, you know, I really loved how that journey flowed through everything, like through the website, through the different assets, and he came back and had studied firefly patterns, and it was like, he had found these like scientific drawings of like the frequency of the fireflies lighting and what that means and it really became like the fireflies at the end and it becomes this pattern of like this is the journey.

We're here for it. It's evolving. It's hard. We're partnering with you. Um, and it just was so special of like, this was something that had kind of been like this concept of this firefly thing. And really bring that to life, but in a very authentic way that was also, um, very informed as well, um, and really, um, I had no idea that that would be the type of thing that would come out of this process.

[Bill Kenney]

Yeah. I guess you were still thinking we're going to get a really good logo to keep hinging back to that. I'm guessing maybe some of that was a little bit like the expectation knowing that, okay, we're going to probably get some color palettes and to look at and maybe some typography, but, um, yeah, it becomes even at a six week, um, kind of schedule for the Odi process.

It's still highly intentional and it goes pretty damn deep into exploring all those things. You actually have the firefly pattern on your shirt.

[Noelle London]

I do. Yeah. So this was also like the color blocks pattern of, um, this is the journey and a Illoominus lighting the way. Yeah.

[Bill Kenney]

Yeah, yeah, it's and and then now everybody can see if they don't already know why brand work, even at the Odi level, you can't do all that thinking and come to decisions and take time to give an idea to bake, to evolve, to iterate in like a week. You know, it's just, it's not even reality, but until going through the process and really seeing and feeling what it's like.

[Noelle London]

And then, I mean, one, like it makes you realize just the level of expertise of like every single thing is intentional. Like we changed the firefly many times. We changed the color palette many times. We changed the illustrations many times, um, and. It took work, but it ultimately landed with something that was so much stronger and something that I never would have been able to do at that level.

Like, well, obviously, like, that's not my expertise, but you've seen the level of expertise that your team brought to the table, but also seeing, like, every single week Grant would send a, like, Friday afternoon recap and it was like, oh, this is happy hour on Friday. Like, this is so fun. Like what what in the world, how much work you did on that, right?

Like through that week. You know, we put in a lot, I think on feedback because I think that we felt pretty strong. I mean, it was fun to go through the process, but also just felt really strongly about wanting to make sure that we got this right. Your team, I think, matched that absolutely. And just the amount of work that you all put in along the way as well.

[Bill Kenney]

Thank you for saying those things. We care deeply about the customer experience, put plainly. That's like, we care so much about that. Yes. We love our craft. We care about the quality of the work, but we're at a stage now in our organization where those are just table stakes. So what can we really go over and above on?

And you kind of hinted at it early, which is, how can we build an offering that meets the people where they are, that helps them on that journey? It's not just us offering things to you and saying, do you like it, do you like it? It's you also saying, I don't even know what that means.

I don't even know what I should want or expect. I need you to help me and shepherd me on that journey. And in the Odi offering, specifically, that becomes extra special. Because of the things you've said. Um, so it's literally exactly why we built it. It is why it is different from Focus Lab because it has to be different.

Um, so all that to say you are a wonderful, first entry into the Odi world. And I'll say all my appreciations at the end of this, but I did want to share that really quick that it was awesome to go through that with you as the first actual Odi client.

[Noelle London]

Yeah. Yeah. And, um, I had a cool moment. I think, um, you know, the being an early stage founder and how early on as I'm out, you know, Ben Chestnut from MailChimp walks past, but I was sitting on, um, I was sitting at an event in Atlanta recently and you all did the Salesloft rebrand.

Um, as well, and so I'm sitting in the audience and, the CEO of, uh, Salesloft. He's getting the award for, like, the technology association of Georgia, like, technologist of the year or something like that. And it's, you know, like, this technology hall of fame in the state of Georgia, and I'm sitting in the audience, like, at the front table, and he's right there and it's like, whoa, like, he's getting that.

And who did his brand, did our brand. Recently, we also had a community event inside of Salesloft's offices, they hosted it and it's like our brands on the screen next to the Salesloft.

[Bill Kenney]

Very cool. Yes.

[Noelle London]

I think, like, what, what you just said really resonated because one of the things said on stage at that event was the company that cares the most wins. And that really resonated with me because that's how we show up as a team. Every day is the company. We're the company that's going to care the most. And we're going to be the company that wins. And I think similarly, the way that you all are showing up to your work, um, it was a fun, you know, it was and is a fun partnership because I think that we're really aligned in that of just how we show up.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. Right. Yeah, it becomes almost a perfect marriage at that point. Just by the nature of the two parties' culture and their values and what they care about. All right. So now we're in the project. And I want to hear from you first, what was the most challenging? There's certainly going to be challenges in there, decision making, etc. So for you, what was that?

[Noelle London]

Yeah, I think that the thing for us is as an early-stage company, when I look at everything that we have out in the world, sometimes it can always feel like we're five steps ahead of whatever is out in the world. It's like, things are changing so fast and the market is changing so fast that it's like things are evolving.

So thinking about how are we building a brand that is going to last as we evolve as a company? Um, and I think that, you know, because it's so core to us of, hey, we want to light the way to measurably better workplaces. Um, I think that this, you know, is a really good testament of how this evolves. Um, and then I would just say like, similarly, not only are we evolving so quickly, but just again, the market and the HR technology market is changing so, so fast.

Um, it's like every single headline in a newspaper is like an HR problem to solve when you really think about it. It's like, you know, like something that's happening on the other side of the world with a natural disaster. Like, are my people okay?

[Bill Kenney]

Interesting. Yes.

[Noelle London]

Healthcare benefits are changing? Like, how do I roll that out? Silicon Valley Bank collapses. Like, how do I pay my people? It really feels like every single thing is about HR having to come in and step in and fill that void. And so they're not equipped to adapt and respond. And that's what we want to step in and really help organizations be able to adapt and respond to the level of changes that are happening.

So how do we make sure that It feels like we are also adapting and responding at the same time?

[Bill Kenney]

Sure. Yes.

[Noelle London]

So I think that that, um, kind of like we're building for the next three years when we're rebranding, we're not building for what we are today. Um, and so we really wanted something that was going to grow and evolve with us, um, as we grow as a company.

Um, and so I think that that's kind of, you know, landing on that journey. Um, and that, you know, this is ongoing work. It's not necessarily ever going to end in some ways. Yeah. Um, so I think that that's what really, like, tied how we continue to shift and evolve within this space.

[Bill Kenney]

Were you nervous in any of the big decisions along the way that you were pigeonholing yourself with a particular decision that was not future forward enough?

[Noelle London]

Not, not necessarily, because I think that all the decisions that we landed on were things that were really core to who we are and our ethos of how we solve problems and who we're serving along the way. We feel like HR leaders aren't equipped to adapt and respond, the tools and the resources don't exist.

And that's why you're seeing that burnout rate of 98% of HR leaders feeling like they need to leave their jobs right now. And so, yeah, and so what we essentially want to do is how do we make that work a little bit easier for these leaders? How do we also elevate in a time where there's a lot of headlines around, you know, do companies care about their employees anymore?

That's kind of what we gravitate towards. But at the end of the day, there's somebody that's showing up every single day that is still fighting the good fight on that people team. And it's like, how do we, when it can feel kind of like, you know, do companies even care anymore?

Those people still care. That's why they're in that job. And so can we elevate the work that they're doing? Um, and I think that our solution and our use cases continue to evolve, but we're still solving the same problem. We're just showing up for the problem that needs to be solved at the time.

I don't think that there were necessarily choices that we're making because the messaging is, you know, constantly going to change. But with the visual identity, I don't think that there was anything at the time. Um, we also don't want to show up like and of the moment thing,

[Bill Kenney]

Yes.

[Noelle London]

As Illoominus. And so thinking about things like color schemes that like, what feels lasting and enduring as opposed to something that feels like a point in time in a moment.

I think that was something that we were thinking about, but the overall, it wasn't necessarily we're going to make a decision that, is going to pigeonhole us, but there were things that I think being really intentional about how we were building the brand that were important to us to capture, and get right from the beginning.

Things like making sure that, um, illustrations, you know, were representative of, you know, making sure that it doesn't look like, you know, it's a company made of all of the same exact person, um, making sure that we're really capturing that well.

Um, and then I think like, again, color scheme, I know it was something that I was thinking a lot about throughout and I'm kind of a stickler about, um, but I think making sure that the colors and the way that we were showing up felt accessible and felt like we were really partnering alongside these leaders.

And that, really fine line of how do we do something totally different than what lives in the space? Because we totally want to like, we want it to be totally different. That's why we exist. We wanted to really stand out within that landscape, but in a way that still felt like we're here for you.

Um, HR leader, we want to help you succeed when you succeed. When you succeed, we all succeed in having a better workplace. And so there was this interesting opportunity of. You know, HR can feel very vendor-y of, you know, outreach to somebody and someone is buying the widget and there's not really like a relationship there.

And we really felt like it was almost like we wanted a B2C brand, but we're a B2B company because we all want better workplaces, right? And can we harness the power of employees going and asking their employer and advocating for us, but also just for better practices. And so that was kind of this interesting thing of how do we feel like we're B2C in a B2B company.

[Bill Kenney]

Yeah, that's becoming more common for what it's worth. The B2B industry has finally seen the way. I think for many years it was, well, we're business to business. We're big IBM tech, tech, tech. We serve a different customer and we need to feel different. And now the world is all coming to center, which is, it's just all people.

Like the brand still needs to have a storyline and a narrative that people can sink their teeth into and it feels more human and not just moving parts and machinery type of thing. So, um, that's not surprising, but there is one thing that you said in there that I want to highlight, which is really important.

Uh, I had asked you, was there any decision that you made that you felt like you were scared if it was going to be short sighted and might, you might have to then change things as you move forward? You wisely said things have to evolve and they will change, but so much of what we built together is rooted in the ethos of the company and what it stands for and what it values, it shouldn't have to change dynamically because of that.

And that is so important. That's extremely true. You're spot on with that statement. And companies need to realize that, right? It's if you do brand right, it's not about necessarily did I pick the right colors, did I pick the right logo? It's like, was all of that decision making rooted in what the company actually cares about most because those things don't really change.

And if they change, they take a very long time to change. When is Tesla's Core ambition not going to be about sustainability, probably never, right? So things can change around that, but what it is at its core will remain the same. Same for Nike, big brands, right? They operate in that way. So it's good to illuminate that.

Hey, uh, it's good to illuminate that point. Um, Because I want other people to think that way when they're going through their own rebrand, not, Oh my God, uh, did I pick the right logo that tells the thing that I do right now? And then I'm gonna have to change it. Don't worry about any of that crap. Just worry about expressing what your company is really standing for and build around that.

And you won't have to change much. You can add services, you can add features, you can even evolve your narrative, but the core is still the same. So I just, I wanted to even open that can a little bit more for everybody.

[Noelle London]

Yeah, and that was a fun, I mean, I think those are things that, um, you know, we're fortunate that, like, I think we've done a lot of that work, um, on ourselves, like, as a company, but I also felt like it was a really fun kind of discovery process to go through with your team of, like, being able to redefine what's important to us.

[Bill Kenney]

Yeah, yeah. There's a part of a rebrand exercise that often gets overlooked, which is the being forced into the environment to think about those things as an early-stage founder, right? You're thinking about everything all day on your own. You're not going to sit down and say, I really need to think about this today for three hours, right?

You're just, you're going to be pulled to whatever the squeaky wheel is, good or bad. In an exercise like this, with a third party like us, right? Holding everybody accountable. Hey, we're meeting on this day. We meet every week on this day, at this time. And we meet for an hour. We talk about this.

We talk about that. Here's things I need you to do this week and come back prepared with. There's a level of accountability and structure there that is really powerful for people like yourself. It really makes that process happen where it might not otherwise happen.

[Noelle London]

I hear that because I think, um, you know, for other founders it may be different, but for me, it's like the marketing that is always the thing that falls to the bottom of the list. It always is the thing that's falling to the bottom of the list. And so it was really helpful to get through that process. I'm with you on giving deadlines.

You're really good about being like, Noelle, give us your feedback before 12 today for us to meet. So it's really helpful.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. Some force guard rails are really helpful, even though in the moment it feels like, ah, damn it, I got other things on my mind, but I guess I got to do that. That's actually healthy, so that was the most challenging part.

And we kind of touched on a couple of things there, but I'm very interested to hear what was the most rewarding part of the project for you?

[Noelle London]

Yeah, I think, someone going through the process with you to take your vision and to make it a reality, especially at this stage of a company is so empowering.

Um, you know, I'm already very much a visual person, but I think, you know, it's not necessarily an easy thing for you all to do either, because as a founder, you know, you're a builder. This is kind of your baby. Um, you're very particular about, you know, what you want to see and what you want to, um, what you want to evoke. Um, and so I think that it's not necessarily an easy thing, but seeing that all come to life and, as an early-stage founders to say, Whoa, like that's our brand.

That's how we're showing up. Um, it was just, uh, a really powerful thing to see.

And it was, um, thinking back, like we launched, um, we launched the rebrand on our first birthday as Illoominus.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. Which was January, right?

[Noelle London]

Yes, January 26th. So that we were able to, um, launch the brand to the world on our first birthday. And so, you know, the early stages of being a founder and, uh, had taken my first couple, like pseudo work slash vacation, um, right before our first birthday.

And I was sitting there. And saw the base proposal deck come through because your team had helped on the design support as well and, um, just like pushing my laptop over and saying, tell me you're not going to buy that.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. That’s literally why we get out of bed. It's only to help create those moments for people like yourself. Our why statement in our company is to unlock the potential and the people around us. Our why statement does not say branding. It doesn't say design. It doesn't say words. It is to do what we can do to unlock the potential in a company like yours.

And to hear that, that's the cherry for us. You having that feeling and now being able to go on and grow, um, and build on the back of the work that we did. That's all that we care about. Um, thank you for sharing that. That's awesome. Can you speak a little bit to maybe what you've been able to do now that you couldn't do before?

[Noelle London]

Yeah. I think, you know, we're talking a little bit about our values as Illoominus. I mean. I think that there's also a reason why companies are using 16 different systems and there's a reason why HR is so noisy because it's so painful and it really does feel like, um, you know, everybody's desk is on fire.

And so there's a lot of pain to solve. Within this space, we definitely haven't figured out, uh, the best workplaces yet. Um, hopefully with some of the Illoominus’ insights that will help. Um, but that's to say that, you know, we don't claim to have it all figured out and we don't do everything at a Illoominus.

There's so many pieces of the puzzle, just solving this huge problem. So I think that it's really important that, you know, again, we create collaboration across different like-minded groups that are tackling different parts of the problem. So I would say that, you know, directly, partnerships is a really big part of our strategy and the ability to put our brand next to leading brands within their particular domains so that we're creating joint go to market offerings.

We're referring business to each other and suggesting customer referrals, things like that. I think that us having the new rebrand helped us to level up to the partners that we want to work with. Um, that are like-minded and us being able to put our brains next to each other and feel really good about that partnership.

Um, so it's funny. Even one of our recent partners that we, um, did a release around. It's like they have the diamond. Um, it's Hanover. They're a talent sourcing firm out of the UK. And it's like, they have the same diamond at the end of Hanover as we have at the, at the diamond of the firefly for Illoominus.

And it's like, we didn't even know that until we put our prints next to each other. So, I think that there's some, um, I think that that really does make a difference like partnering up, um, and elevating our brand to the place where we want it to be. Um, I also just think like what that's allowing us to do is get in front of additional customers, get in front of additional markets.

And so we're definitely seeing the impact of that. Um, and just the caliber of pipeline that we're building.

Um, but I would also be curious back to you, Bill, if they're kind of particular things that you think about when you are looking at ROI for rebrands for early stage companies.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. Great redirect back to me. Thank you. Uh, so I'm happy to hear that. Um, basically what you're seeing already, being able to actually sit on a stage with those kind of partner brands and feel like you should be there. Even from a perception level, people saying like, yeah, sure. We'll partner with you. This feels legit.

That's really important, especially in those early years. What we see and hear from ROI brand is, is a challenging topic, but having said that, we hear a lot around recruitment as well to kind of build on top of what you've already said.

When a company comes out at any scale and it is able to tell its story well, and it is able to connect and create alignment within the organization, the recruitment is that much easier and better.

You're able to get the talent to say, that's the type of company I want to join. They really know what they're doing there. They actually care enough to create a consistent brand. Again, going beyond just visuals, specifically.

I think a lot of people do expect to be able to move more upstream to feel a little bit more like to get their act together and get a higher clientele, but they don't expect the recruitment side and the internal alignment, um, kind of rally that can happen too. You can have some very long tenure team members that maybe have lost a little bit of steam, a little bit of drive, and you come out with a new clear vision for the organization and are pulling it forward in that way with the brand.

Everyone picks up the flag again and they're like, yes, this is exactly what I needed. Some wind in my sales. So we see those two things and hear them a lot.

[Noelle London]

Cool. Again, going back to the people. It's interesting.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. A hundred percent. Okay. So last question, last question is if you were sitting down with another founder like yourself and they were skeptical of investing in brand, what would you tell them?

[Noelle London]

Yeah. Say, man, it feels like you have so many priorities all at once, right? But I think that, um, I think that the key thing that we thought about, and that we've also noticed is that as a B2B company, you were talking about, there's a lot of big tech companies that are established brands that are out in the market.

There's that saying like no one ever got fired buying IBM. Um, you know, and so it's easy for someone to say, let me go with something that I know. And so what you have to do as a B2B company is you've got to establish credibility fast and investing in a brand will also help you to establish that credibility and credibility equals traction and traction at the end of the day is the number one thing that you need as an early stage company.

That's your most important asset. It's, you know, momentum builds on momentum, customers build on customers, investors want to see it. So, I do think that it is. It's a game about building credibility as fast as you possibly can. And, I do think that it translates into sales and it translates into revenue, which is all of our goals at the end of it all.

[Bill Kenney]

Yes. Well said. I will just reiterate ROI and the investment sometimes can be hard to measure, but if considered through some different lenses, then purely, can I track that sale to this investment I made two years ago in a rebrand that could be very hard, but that's not the lens we would suggest people look through.

Um, and we just talked about some of the other lenses that they should look through and listening to people like yourself, that have gone through it, right? Not just me saying, Hey, cause I run a brand agency brand is important, right?

That can become a tired message. So another reason why we do these interviews is so that people can hear exactly from the people that have gone through it and seen both sides of the coin and are able to share their experience.

So with that, thank you so much. First of all, for applying for Odi, it was a pleasure to work with you. We couldn't be more proud to lift up what you're building and to make that as successful as it can be, because we need more of that for sure.

Uh, and thank you for taking the time out of growing your business to sit down and relive all of that with me.

[Noelle London]

Yeah. Thank you all. You are an incredibly important part of our journey and of our story. So thank you so much for believing in us. And, uh, for coming along for the journey with us. Um, we super appreciate it and are forever grateful.

[Bill Kenney]

We love the journey. It is literally what we're up for is that journey and it's fun to go through it with new people. Um, so it was a pleasure to go on that journey with you.

[Noelle London]

Awesome.

[Bill Kenney]

Thanks again.


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