We love change. Said no one ever.
We’re here to change that.
At Ardoq we do love change. Our whole drive as a brand and company is to help make change loveable and sustainable for our customers. In our own growth journey, we've learned how to embrace change and adapt it, and now we're very excited to unveil our latest significant transformation: we are rebranding.Ardoq’s old look was born out of practicality and has humble roots that stretch back to the very beginning in 2013. Our founders, Erik Bakstad and Magnulf Pilskog, knew they needed a logo of some kind but digital architecture, not graphic design, was their forte. So they found a suitable logo on the internet, bought it for $200 and moved on, satisfied with the savings for their fledgling start-up. This made sense for a fresh new company of 4 people treading uncertain ground.
Now, Ardoq has scaled considerably. In 2021 we were named a leader in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Enterprise Architecture Tools, confirming our vision for next-gen, data-driven tooling. Our 2022 $125 million funding round put us in the perfect position to supercharge our global expansion, thus enabling 190 Ardoqians to collaborate across the globe.
So we found ourselves in need of a look that matched how we see ourselves today and, most importantly, what we want to become.
Why We Are Rebranding
Given our accelerated growth and change trajectory, we needed to realign our brand to reflect our new vision and strong values. The energy and excitement of life post-pandemic made it the perfect time to dive into a daring new change for the whole organization.
What may look like a simple logo switch on the outside is actually a 7-month journey with countless discussions across the company to ensure this new brand made sense for Ardoq. The entire rebranding process had to be anchored by our purpose and ambition, which also involved defining exactly what our brand meant to us first.
Ardoq has shaken up the discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) that emerged in the 80s and offers a more modern perspective that seamlessly aligns with the increasingly digitized market. For most companies in the past, major changes used to come around once every ten years or so but now it’s continuous and accelerating. We have developed a cloud-based product that tackles the complexity of the interrelated aspects of an organization, seeing EA as a way to understand the whole organization, not just the technology. This means making an accessible tool that liberates businesses from relying on teams of consultants to use it.
This is the unique position Ardoq has evolved to take within the EA space by packaging and presenting critical information in a way that is accessible. For example, product development isn’t just about building a powerful platform but the entire user experience, including how the customer feels when using the product. Generating insights and information is powerful, but it’s only half the problem solved. The user experience has to make sense and this was a huge driver in the launch of Ardoq Discover, our latest product module that enables impactful decisions at every level of the organization.
Defining and Redefining Ardoq
We worked closely with The Brand Project, a Norwegian-based branding agency, to provide guidance and expertise. Their deep knowledge and experience in rebranding with tech companies such as Microsoft made them the perfect partners to ensure that our strategy as a business was embedded into our new visual identity. Over several months, The Brand Project conducted extensive interviews to develop a foundation for the discussions about who we were, who we are now and who we want to be in 5 years.
“Everyone has opinions and thoughts, and it’s crucial to incorporate them to create a sense of ownership and collaboration within Ardoq.” - Erik Bakstad, CEO and Co-founder
Unlike many other companies, rebranding was not defined by any one team or department. 16 Ardoqians from across departments became the core fusion team, bringing in varied talents and perspectives. Staying true to our values, we wanted to ensure the rebranding was a democratic process.
The Brand Project’s CEO Robert Leinders-Krog noted that involving our talented team of Ardoqians brought a perspective he hadn’t experienced before. For us, the large team underscored our commitment to democratizing decision-making. We wanted to own this change because it’s more than developing a product. It’s defining how we see and understand ourselves as Ardoq.
As part of the rebranding project, we wanted to clarify our mission, as Enterprise Architecture means different things to each department and, sometimes, each team. We wanted to simplify all the complexity. After 7 long months, we have crystallized the purpose of why we are here and articulated our ambition.
New Enterprise Architecture
As disruptors, we’re building a tool for change on Enterprise Architecture principles, but in a new way. “The old way” has a dubious reputation: It fell into the trap of creating “the perfect model”, creating and following the perfect framework, and lost sight of the critical outcomes organizations care about. We’re moving towards new Enterprise Architecture and focusing on what matters.
Driving Profitable Transformation
Our customers need to achieve sustainable growth while maintaining a profit margin. Our goal is to have a laser focus on our customers’ outcomes, namely the outcomes that will help them survive and thrive. This lays the foundation for our ambition as we are building this company - to Drive Profitable Transformation - With New Enterprise Architecture.
Profitable transformation? That almost sounds like utopia, too good to be true. Very few associate change with profitability - most of the time, change equals profit loss. As a growing company, we know firsthand that change can be hard. Change is often a difficult, inefficient process, coming with a price tag of employee churn and concluding in failure.
How are we planning to make that work - to enable our customers to “Drive Profitable Transformation”? This is the big question that forms the foundation for our purpose as a company.
The Purpose of Ardoq
From the beginning, we’ve known that the people of the organization, the knowledge workers, and the subject matter experts have the best insight and understanding of the business’s challenges. Enabling these people will bring them aboard change initiatives.
Breaking down complexity and increasing transparency through visualizations as well as crowdsourcing helps people become part of the change. Striving to capture detailed human insights on an aggregate scale is the foundation for many of the critical features in our core product.
We want to help people move away from fearing change to being a part of it, enable them to understand it and be positive about the future - and maybe even grow to love change.
The New Look
These bold statements encapsulate what we are and how we will be going forward with a new look to match. We wanted this new look to mirror our growth from a start-up with a promising product to a well-rounded tool that gives organizations the confidence to drive change. We kept our main color but adjusted the shades to show that just like our offering, it’s a journey of iterations and not a revolution. The rebranding embraces our principles and values with a new logo representing simplicity of design while subtle variations in our color palette are bold and playful.
Our focus on a transparent process also extends to how we’re rolling out this new brand internally. We had an open call for volunteers to champion our brand in every team and these newly appointed brand coaches are helping to turn our rebranding into an everyday reality. They are vital in helping us understand what needs to be done on the ground, answering questions, and leading initiatives.
The rebranding is just the first step. We have the vision, and now we continue to change with our people at the heart of it, driving it throughout the organization. We’re thankful to our enthusiastic brand coaches, one in each department. They represent the rebranding and are our evangelists, and advocates for the new brand.
They cheer for the new brand internally, taking responsibility to note down necessary changes within each team, answering questions, and helping out with whatever comes up, from handing out new jumpers to leading internal initiatives.
To the Future and Beyond!
While Ardoq has crossed significant milestones from an investor and financial perspective, the ones we want to celebrate the most are centered around the heart of the company: our people. In April 2022, Ardoqians from around the world gathered in Iceland, many meeting each other for the first time.
The core mission of Ardoq is bringing brilliant people together, and the rebranding process has been just that, reflecting our strengths, growth, and confidence to take us forward into an exciting new stage.
Want to be a part of our Bold, Caring, Driven company? Join us for your next career challenge.
Sigrun is the VP of Marketing at Ardoq. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, most recently as CMO of Microsoft Norway, her extensive knowledge of growing B2B software firms is crucial to develop Ardoq's brand and lead generation in the next stage of our growth journey.