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How to Rebrand Your Company Using Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers, Homeland Security, and Guy Kawasaki

David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos are two of the smartest young entrepreneurs I know. I featured them in my book, Upstarts! and since then, I’ve watched them do a brilliant job of rebranding the company formerly known as GotVMail (RIP) as Grasshopper.  I asked David Hauser to tell you about why and how they did it. And yes, I did receive the grasshoppers and yes, I ate them. Think Nestle Crunch.

By David Hauser

My partner, Siamak Taghaddos, and I worked for six years to build up a successful company with a solid product offering, happy customers and a strong SEO strategy. But two years ago, we realized that our company, then called GotVMail, had outgrown its identity. We sold virtual phone systems to small businesses, but wanted to expand into a global brand, offering a suite of products for entrepreneurs. However, rebranding a company is a huge and risky undertaking: it can cause confusion in the marketplace; upset existing customers; and jeopardize the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build up.  GotVMail is now Grasshopper, and we think we managed the transition pretty effectively. Here’s how we decided to rebrand, and the strategies that drove our success:

To rebrand or not to rebrand?

The name GotVMail worked to help build our brand as a virtual phone system; however, it didn’t describe us. We were more than a just a voicemail provider; in fact, we wanted to grow into a “brand for entrepreneurs,” offering services such as a simple recurring billing system and a word of mouth tool. Realizing our name limited our ability to grow was the first sign we needed to rebrand. As GotVMail, no one knew what we did. We were spending 15 seconds of a 30 second radio spot spelling out our domain name, and even then people were still confused. We wanted a name that was recognizable, had a domain name we could purchase and was not heavily saturated in the marketplace by other brands. We came up with Grasshopper because not only did it meet our requirements, but grasshoppers have an uncanny ability to take large leaps, do really well for their size and are always on the move - just like entrepreneurs.