It’s another big day for Flexport. Today, we’re introducing a new brand identity for the company.
Logo: new. Colors, fonts, and patterns: new, new, and new. From our website to our warehouses, our airplanes to the stickers lovingly adorning our MacBook Airs, we’re refreshing how our customers, partners, employees, and the world at large experience Flexport.
Importantly, at the core of our visual transformation, we’ve crystalized our brand story. Through our new design system and new content, we are more powerfully expressing our disruptive vision and value proposition to make global trade easier and more accessible for everyone. In this post, we’re excited to share some reasons why we’ve made this evolution and what it means.
Why change? Because we’ve changed and grown. A lot. And, with our business poised for continued expansion with our recent billion-dollar round of funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, our brand needs to become even more expansive and sustainable as well.
Candidly, as we’ve grown, we’ve found that our visual design has been a bit limiting. While its simplicity and clarity have served us well, we felt it’s missed a critical element of what makes us so special: our passion and humanity.
Clients love our breakthrough technology for the unparalleled visibility and control it delivers. They love our dedicated teams – which we call “Squads” – just as much (or even more) for the proactive relationships and reliability they offer in an industry with notoriously poor customer experience. Our brand needs to convey both the high-tech and high-touch nature of our business.
Beyond that, it needs to support the broader story of what we’re building to carry the freight forwarding and logistics industries into the future – with energy, dynamism, and passion. What we’re building at Flexport is an Operating System for Global Trade that brings together the technology, logistics infrastructure and supply chain expertise described above. More than just technology, the Operating System for Global Trade is a strategic operating model for global freight forwarding that gives businesses what they’ve never had before with their freight forwarders — deep visibility and control from origin to destination, fast and reliable transit times, and low and predictable supply chain costs. (Learn more about the launch of the Operating System for Global Trade from my esteemed colleague, CMO Jeff Thomas).
In late 2018, we partnered with digital and branding agency Firstborn to help us explore what our visual identity should be, and how that identity and our evolved brand narrative should be applied through a new logo, design system, and website.
Our discovery process, which included key stakeholders from across our business globally, revealed a wonderful dramatic tension at Flexport. We are brilliantly born of contradictions: technology-powered but human-centric, disruptive to the antiquated freight forwarding industry yet also deeply trusted and proven.
At the same time, we defined the voice and character of our brand, choosing our words very carefully to describe how we want to behave and be perceived:
Our new brand design system comprises:
In our rebranding, we’re also living our brand through Flexport.org, which uses our technology and client network to help deliver humanitarian aid. Some companies simply discard or destroy swag that bears their old branding. We’ve chosen instead to donate the unused apparel in our HQ to those who can benefit through Compass Family Services, which helps San Francisco families facing homelessness secure stable housing and attain economic self-sufficiency and family well-being.
In a New York Times piece on the success of the iPod, Steve Jobs said that design is “not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” And the new Flexport brand is already hard at work!
Today, we’ve launched a reimagined Flexport.com. Given more than a design facelift, our website now more broadly communicates our vision and value proposition for the Operating System for Global Trade. It boasts more robust information about not just our ocean, air and trucking logistics services, but also our supply chain services, including Customs, Trade Finance, and our unique Carbon Offset program through Flexport.org. And it more prominently features our most important strength as an organization: our people.
The site is a big step forward in telling our brand story. But it’s just the beginning, as we have laid the foundations for publishing ongoing thought leadership content and a far more expansive Careers section to support our culture and recruiting efforts, as the business continues to grow. Keep an eye out for more coming there.
We’ve also introduced the vision for the Operating System for Global Trade more broadly by launching our first global brand advertising campaign, including a full-page ad in the business section of The Wall Street Journal.
This ad (and additional digital communications running on WSJ.com and across the web) is the first in what will be ongoing communications that build and grow our brand within our industry and the business world at large.
Thank you to the Flexport marketing team and our in-house creative and digital development teams, Firstborn, our media agency Retina, and everyone across the entire Flexport organization who has helped to contribute to the development of this new brand. Stay tuned as we continue to roll out our brand design and bring the story of Flexport and the Operating System for Global Trade to life.