Marlena Sarunac and Lubna Hameed

A Brand New Brand! But why?

August 13, 2021

Particle Health recently underwent a brand transformation, and we’d like to take this exciting milestone to let you in on some of our process and thinking.

Most startups begin as an MVP: a minimum viable product. The MVP grows from a lil’ MVP to a big strong startup, with countless iterations on product, engineering, operations, and growth support. A large component of growth comes in the form of marketing and design. As the startup grows big and strong, more marketing and design stakeholders enter the picture to nurture its growth. 

And one inevitable day, those folks will come to a collective groan: we gotta rebrand this thing. 

A startup’s first crack at branding is never great, and it almost never entails best practices for marketing, communication and design. That’s OK! This is simply the reality of an early-stage business with endless competing priorities. But once the business is ready to make the definitive leap from contender to frontrunner, it’s time to start bringing in a team that’s exclusively obsessed with all the details that bring to life a startup’s personality, culture and position in the ecosystem.

Particle Health recently underwent this transformation, and we’d like to take this exciting milestone to let you in on some of our process and thinking. 

First: how did we know it was time? 

We realized Particle was at a key inflection point, both from the standpoints of growth and brand awareness. Our flywheel was just gaining traction as the marketing strategy and operations were being built to support a major shift in our user experience: a brand new portal to shepherd access and implementation of our API. This meant that our brand strategy was not just limited to a digital presence across our website and traditional communication channels like email and social media. It was now a tangible part of our user experience. Strategically, the timing was natural to tackle the rebrand at this stage of our company’s growth—before we invested too much into a brand we knew couldn't scale up with us.

Tip: A key persuasive technique to create consensus for a marketing project at a tech company is to adopt engineering vocabulary that quickly illustrates your case. For example, by explaining that we were accruing “creative debt” we were able to effectively communicate the urgency of proceeding with the development of new creative assets while dissuading the use of resources toward the development of old brand assets. - Marlena 

Speaking of the old MVP brand assets, it was problematic for a few reasons: 

… And our logo simply did not feel modern or like it really stood out from the crowd.

Tip: Try dropping your logo on a page surrounded by peers or competitors. You’ll be able to see really quickly whether you need to level up. - Marlena 

Next, we set several mandates for our new brand. Here’s a sneak peek at the list: 

New brand mandates: 

  • Carries authority on healthcare data interoperability
  • Tells a strong story: who we are, who we serve, how we do it, and why companies should work with us
  • Is authentic, with a real voice that is conversational and approachable  
  • Feels modern, tech-driven, approachable, playful — but not silly
  • Translates well across channels — from website, to email to social channels like LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Follows Design best practices 
  • Is easy to scale, will grow with our company and won’t become dated 
  • Ultimately resonates with our target persona

Tip: If it looks good and feels good… you’ll get engagement. - Lubna 

Our goal, ultimately, was to step above the tired trope, avoid a corporate feel, and put Particle Health in a league of our own. 

And finally, without further ado, here 👏 she 👏 is 👏

Particle Health's new logo elevates our company as the modern alternative to the status quo. It also speaks to all of the underlying characteristics of our brand: authentic, collaborative, authoritative, yet simultaneously modern, tech-driven, approachable and playful (but not silly!) 

Most importantly, this new logo and design system follow design best practices and allows for easier scalability—music to the ears of anyone running marketing and design departments! 

Although our new logo is very gewd-looking, there’s actually much more to the rebrand. This was an important investment: we had to design for the future state of Particle. 

Tip: Design for the vision of your company in its future state. Don’t settle your design on what your company is now; you’ll outgrow it quickly! -- Lubna

As leaders in the healthcare data interoperability space, we are especially attuned to developing the best possible user experience. Our customers build the latest and greatest solutions that enable a better patient journey—and our duty is to equip them with the data they need in the most delightful experience possible. 

Rebranding without considering user experience is like giving a busted car a shiny, new coat of paint without fixing any mechanical issues. Similarly, the rebranding of the user interface plays an important role as well. Ultimately, the brand is not just logos, colors and typefaces—it’s a holistic experience that should inform every customer touchpoint. 

Tip: Boost your rebrand project by considering the entire brand experience. A rebrand isn't simply limited to creating colors, images and copy that are seen by your user. Don’t forget that the interaction with the rebrand—e.g. the brand experience—is critical to your user journey. -- Lubna

Generally, change comes slowly in healthcare because it can impact the health of millions of people. We all know that the user experience in many aspects has remained within the traditional standards of a decade (or more!) ago. This makes health tech design a beast. Despite the challenges of the industry, at Particle, we actually see huge opportunities for differentiation. For example, we focus on user-centric design. In some scenarios, it can save lives. In other scenarios, like at Particle, it can provide access to vital data to build the next healthcare solution. So how do we start not at the lowest standards set forth by current healthcare design but also not jump too far above and leave users with a jarring experience?

The answer is to design with user empathy. Despite the fast-paced nature of tech and emerging technologies, our design goal is always to find a balance between the innovative and novel while building the trust and credibility needed for a sensitive data product like our API.

By adopting tactics that focus on benefits, not features, we adhere to basic principles of human-centered design. We get to the heart of our end users by conducting user research to help us design better products with realistic strategies. 

Focus on benefits, not features

And that, friends, is how we conducted our rebrand. 

So, come take a closer look at all our ✨ shiny new things✨. Learn more about our focus to empower healthcare innovators, what makes our data so dang special, and how our platform works. Play for free in our Developer Portal. And if you have any questions, thoughts, or feedback, please let us know

Yours in all things marketing & design,

Marlena Sarunac, Head of Marketing

Lubna Hameed, Head of UI/UX Design