The biggest potential issue with Mailchimp’s rebrand is that it doesn’t strongly connect its new marketing message to the value proposed by its existing portfolio of products and services. The pitch for customers to be bold and creative presents a vision that is perhaps too wide and ambitious to resonate powerfully with real customer goals in the present. It seems as if Mailchimp is paying more attention to who or what it wants to be to its customers than to what customers expect and desire from its offerings.
Take a look at Mailchimp’s current products. To be fair, the email and landing page templates are key offerings that are indeed geared towards creative empowerment, but how easily does something like segmentation inspire boldness and creativity? In contrast, how many of these products and services are concerned with helping businesses reach people in better ways? (Hint: literally, all of them are about that.)
At present, the primary marketing message (and as a result, the look and feel of the rebrand) seem somewhat out-of-touch with what Mailchimp actually does (or rather, what it has done historically). With email marketing having been the company’s bread and butter and the central touchpoint for its customers since its inception, it’s not hard to imagine some other directions the rebrand could have gone in.
The concept of mail and traditional postage’s historical role in cementing human connections are ripe with readymade marketing metaphors for how a business can improve communications with its customers. Plenty of the playful design language that the agencies ultimately landed on can be housed under marketing messages more concerned with what the company actually offers: business solutions for reaching people.
When it comes to examples of brands that have navigated this divide adeptly, I think back to the popular G Suite advertisement which imagines Hall & Oates collaborating on the lyrics to Maneater in Google Docs. The message resonated well with customers because it included the spirit of originality and playfulness that Mailchimp is clearly after with this rebrand. However, it did so without deviating from the central value prop of the product: collaborative word processing.
More Than Email
At this point, it’s pretty clear that Mailchimp is seeking to define itself beyond the confines of the email marketing niche (they even said so). It also seems somewhat ironic that they chose to focus on inspiring and enabling creativity when that focus is disconnected from the parts of the business which practically extend beyond email: connection, automation, and optimization.
David Martinez also made a solid point about the rebrand appearing to understate the company’s success in the email marketing niche. Mailchimp’s new approach doesn’t seem very reflective of the actual impact and scale of one of (if not) the largest email marketing platforms on the web experiencing daily growth on the order of 14K+ customers. The rebrand may be just as incongruent with what users want and expect out of the company’s products.
Is it fair to ask why Mailchimp feels the need to aggressively outgrow its roots? Is the company failing to embrace its own stated brand value of staying true to itself? It’s great that Mailchimp wants to inspire originality in brands that adopt it for marketing, but what if that’s not the value prop that customers are connecting with?