Enabling the Network Effect
Ripple provides the technology that enables banks to move money effortlessly across borders, faster and cheaper than traditional methods. Using an innovative blockchain approach, Ripple has enabled a growing network of global banks to enable transactions to settle in seconds rather than days.
A byproduct of Ripple’s early technology success was brand complexity. Ripple had developed several products to enable different business use cases, as well as a digital asset called XRP to facilitate cross border transactions. So many moving parts began to create internal and external confusion. In order to successfully grow their network, Ripple needed to orchestrate their approach, clarify their capabilities, and communicate their value.
The strategy involved proactive planning for Ripple’s expanding business and suite of products. We identified the following core challenges:
- The Ripple name was used in many ways, creating confusion as to what it really stood for.
- Individual initiatives and capabilities often took their own line when creating names and logos. This created a lack of connectivity between them.
To resolve these challenges, and to facilitate proactive planning for an expanding business and suite of products, we recommended establishing a three-tier brand hierarchy:
- At the top, Ripple’s primary initiatives would be master-branded, to indicate systemic fulfillment of the Ripple promise. We developed the name RippleNet, to describe the powerful network effect that Ripple enables through its technology, currency, protocols and services.
- A second tier, called Ripple-endorsed, would enable Ripple to attach its brand to partner initiatives and joint ventures.
- Finally, we recommended that any product, currency or capability that enhanced the power of the network, or existed completely independent of it, receive a brand-invisible treatment, since it would either be within context of, or separate from, RippleNet.
This three-tier architecture laid out clear guidelines for where each initiative and product fit, and enabled Ripple to focus its message on the high-level story of the network. We created a naming convention for establishing greater connectivity between product names, using the letter x from the currency (XRP) and attaching benefit oriented words for the business case each product enabled. The resulting names, xCurrent, xRapid, and xVia expressed their differentiated value while still combining to create a clear and related system of solutions.
Internal teams at Ripple adopted the new strategic framework, launching RippleNet and its three products to great industry attention. Network membership accelerated within the first six months of launch, indicating greater understanding and enthusiasm for their technology and approach. Internally, having guiding principles for product naming has eliminated friction between product teams and marketing over naming and product positioning.