Crafting a brand identity for a $15M Startup from the ground up

What name and identity best reflects the future values of a company leading the way in Industrial Cybersecurity?
Role
Designer, Project Manager, Visual Designer
Services
Branding, Design Thinking, Web, Workshop
Summary
I worked closely with Denexus CEO to create the beliefs, goals, and purpose of a startup, including a brand name, identity, product division, and launch date. Through a three-phase process of understanding, thinking, and solving, we developed a new name and brand that matched the values established during the process. This was validated through design hypothesis and user testing.

The challenge. The ask.

At the start of the project, there was no company name and José M Seara was just beginning to create the beliefs, goals and purpose of the Startup. He was trying out various strategies and business plans to get his Startup going. I was fortunate to team up with JM, and we had multiple meetings and workshops to figure out a name for the Startup, its identity, how to divide its products and how to launch the brand.

I divided the project into three steps. First, I will figure out what is needed, who the competition is, and what the rules are. Second, I will come up with a name for the brand. Then, the last step is to launch the whole brand.

The process

Understanding

During the inception session, we asked CEO José M Seara about the requirements for the brand name, the values it should embody, the differentiation from the competition and the scalability of the brand. These questions helped us to establish a basis to start with an agreed list of do and don’ts.

Benchmarking

We started with some business documents and did some research on the security and energy industry in the US. With the benchmarking carried out, we came to the conclusion that the leader in the security and energy market within the United States, ENEL, is the great reference for the project. This information has helped us to define what type of name, discourse and visual design we should look for for the new brand.

Meetings and Workshops

We have been meeting frequently, talking and doing many Design Thinking activities. Staying in touch was very important so I could learn what JM knew and understand his ideas to turn them into the future brand.

Thinking about new naming

I use my own framework to generate names from various vectors and then score them heuristically. Several naming typologies were chosen that match the PTM (Massive Transformation Purpose) values.

For name generation and design thinking activities, I have been using the MIRO tool since its beginnings, which has allowed me to take full advantage of its capabilities and benefit from my work. This has enabled us to work efficiently and collaborate agilely with the client.

I found that in a synesthetic (Synesthesia) way the letter X would work very well with the new brand. Also the letters T and S together.

🚫 Descriptive
✅ Evocative
🚫 Invented
✅ Lexical
✅ Acronyms
🚫 Geographical
🚫 Founders

Brand Naming categories selected.

Synesthesia

The letter X is a great choice for the brand. T, S, or two consonants together also work well.

Naming Framework

The names that won were checked using my naming framework which shows which domains fit the business needs, can be used in different places, are easy to remember and spell, can be used in many languages, and are connected to the brand’s values. We chose the names with the top score: those that had the most free domain extensions, had social networks, met the heuristic score, got a good customer score, had good word of mouth, were memorable, easy to spell, multilingual, and had a connection to the brand’s PTM.

Solve. Learn.

Design

Many names were presented, along with the meaning of the name, availability, tagline and PTM. Like this:

Names selected

We chose three names: DENEO, DENEX, and DENEXUS. They all match the brand values we made during the process.

Various design options were proposed, based on the winning names, and the results were evaluated with the customer and then a guerrilla user tested, with a bunch of potential users, was carried out to validate the design hypotheses.

Validation

DENEXUS won.

It’s time to expand the brand. To Design.

The assets like brand voice, website, stationery, motion graphics, brand images, social media, videos, product brochures and presentations to raise financing and achieve the objectives set out in the project.

And then launch it.

What more?

@ Under a Non-disclosure Agreement.

Some of the details in this case study may be kept secret to protect the client's intellectual property.