Creating Collective Value for an Industry Leader
LinkedIn is the world’s leading professional networking service. having amassed half a billion users in more than 200 countries around the world. In recent years, the company’s growth has been spurred by an increasing number of acquisitions. These new brands and technologies have broadened LinkedIn’s scope beyond its core identity, but they also resulted in customer confusion around LinkedIn’s offerings and user benefits. Many members were questioning the value of visiting LinkedIn. In keeping with its “Members First” mantra, LinkedIn’s leaders sought ways to manage this increasing complexity, and deliver a clearer and more meaningful message.
Marshall Strategy was asked to create a strategic brand architecture and nomenclature system for LinkedIn’s consumer products and services that would support one clear promise:
Helping members accomplish more in their professional lives.
We guided LinkedIn through a process designed to rise above the “product first” mindset that pervades customer-centric technology companies, and to establish a clear, usable system for organizing and naming its offerings. The principles upon which we based our recommendations were:
- Cut through the clutter. In some cases, multiple products with different names or user experiences provided the same benefit. We recommended ways to consolidate offering names, resulting in a cleaner, simpler portfolio of offerings.
- Set clear definitions. It if helps members accomplish more in their professional lives should carry the LinkedIn brand. If it relates to this promise but exists as a separate user experience, it becomes a sub-brand. If it doesn’t support the LinkedIn promise, it should have a separate identity.
- Establish objective criteria. We designed a framework for identifying which offerings require names and, if they do, how to name them. A set of simple formulae helps product teams develop names by describing the outcomes they enable using clear, descriptive terms.
We delivered the resulting strategy as a set of guiding principles and tools for use by product teams.
The guidelines were well-received by product and marketing leadership at LinkedIn. The principles and guidelines help teams take an objective and disciplined approach to naming offerings, and keep the entire LinkedIn portfolio simple, clear, navigable and coherent