The story behind the Momentive brand launch, logo, and new identity

INSIDE MOMENTIVE

Karen Budell
September 30, 2021

It’s still exciting to say: We are Momentive, a leader in agile experience management.

Before, you likely knew us as SurveyMonkey, a pioneer in feedback and survey software. (Never fear, SurveyMonkey hasn’t gone away: It’s still our flagship surveys product, but it’s no longer the name on our front door.) Over the course of two decades, we expanded from survey success into areas like brand and market insights, customer experience, employee experience, and enterprise feedback management. And as our enterprise business grew, we began to outgrow our original name and the “fun” and “playful” brand associations that presented an obstacle for having a serious conversation on a sales call. 

Making the bold move to rebrand and reposition our company gave us the opportunity to better align our brand with the breadth and value of our solutions and our company’s priorities. Momentive offers intuitive solutions that empower every decision-maker to move fast, with confidence. Our AI-powered platform boosts their ability to make the right call with smarter, accessible insights. We designed our new brand identity to reflect all this and our vision—to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices.

As you’d probably expect, renaming a 20-year-old company is no small task. The journey to get here was an exciting, inspiring, and data-driven team effort. We put an enormous amount of work into it and had a leg up when it came to strategy: we had the solutions we needed to inform our decisions right within our portfolio.  

How agile market research helped us choose our name

Momentive empowers decision-makers to shape what’s next—and our brand and market research solutions helped us make one of the biggest decisions for the next chapter of our company. Our new name gives a nod to momentum, movement, and forward thinking. But we didn’t land on this moniker overnight. Our 14-month rebrand journey included 10 quantitative and qualitative studies across 7 countries, with over 22,000 respondents. As our brand research lead Inga Vailionis said: “Choosing our name was both an art and a science.” We forged a path based on data and insights, but we also had to make the final call. 

With a 20-year legacy at stake, it was crucial to understand market sentiment around the SurveyMonkey name, gather feedback from key internal and external stakeholders, and ensure that we kept the best parts of what made SurveyMonkey such a strong brand and award-winning company culture.

We began with almost 1,000 potential names, which we narrowed down through trademark knockout searches, internal debates, and extensive research. We tested our top 10 contenders to understand each name’s pronounceability, characteristics, attributes, associations, and category fit: 

  1. In qualitative interviews with enterprise users, we started by asking open-ended questions to understand perceptions. We were looking for gut reactions to understand emotional responses, as well as likes and dislikes. (This was done without revealing what the name was for.)
  2. Next, we revealed that the name was for a customer experience management company and asked about how well it fit that concept, how well it stood out in that category, and how it compared to competitors.
  3. Finally, we explored the associations, attributes, and fit-to-concept for each name in a quantitative study. This included probing for attribute polarities, asking whether the name was more unique or generic, playful or serious, startup or enterprise, etc.

The results from that last step were particularly helpful when viewed alongside results from an earlier brand tracker survey, which found that users described the SurveyMonkey brand personality as “simple,” “playful,” and “fun.” In contrast, respondents’ typical reactions to “Momentive” emphasized traits like speed, action, and results—much more in keeping with our continued enterprise momentum and value prop. 

Of course, name validation was just a fraction of the research. Our name also needed a gut check: Did it resonate with stakeholders? Would it map to our goal to move up market? Would it box us in or allow for flexibility and new opportunities? Momentive was ranked high by respondents and checked all those boxes and more. Most importantly, it was a name that we felt could serve as a big, expansive canvas for us to paint a bold new brand story. 

How we developed the Momentive brand

Momentive became our new name and a guiding light as we explored our creative direction. We defined the audience we were trying to attract as “reshapers”: business decision-makers who are facing their own hard questions and using insights to make big decisions. We focused on messaging that highlights what is core to our company priorities and product capabilities: 

  • Speed and agility: With our solutions, customers at all levels of expertise can get insights in hours or days, not weeks or months.
  • AI, redefined: We bring together the best of humanity and technology. Our automated insights, including industry-leading sentiment and text analysis, help customers make sense of their data and take action with confidence. 
  • Amplified voices: Our products are designed to understand people's perspectives. We’re committed to elevating voices—especially those that might not otherwise be heard—and empowering people to embrace new ideas, advance equality, and push for equity in both business and society.

Our logo represents the intersection of human perspectives (the curve of the yellow quarter circle) and technology (the sharp blue triangle)—the value we bring to our customers. The shapes overlap to create Heritage Green, which pays tribute to a color that’s long been part of our brand.

Across the board, the visual elements that bring our brand to life are similarly rooted in our rebrand research and our defining principles. Our color palette is built around that signature Heritage Green, but combines with an unexpectedly softer palette of tints and shades. We also prioritized accessibility as part of our ongoing  commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and our vision to amplify individual voices. 

In fact, amplifying individual voices is a core inspiration for our design principles. We made it a point to showcase real Momentive customers in the hero images on our website. As Jarrod Ballou, creative director of brand design at Momentive, said, “Our customers aren’t just impersonal logos, we’re showing them as human beings who are changing the world with our AI-driven solutions.” Our photography focuses on that authenticity: candid shots, diverse and inclusive narratives, and people with unique styles that signal real customers and employees, not stock photos.

Getting those details right is a big part of brand design, and a creative challenge that is always evolving. From sales decks and email banners to 40-foot tall building signage, Jarrod and his team are exploring exciting ways to represent the Momentive brand identity and shape what’s next.

“Other brands age and get pushed more corporate, more traditional, and, in a lot of cases, more generic,” he said. “Our rebrand research told us we were doing some things really well. From a design standpoint, that meant we could pull some of that brand equity forward and cherry pick what we honor from the old brand and where we stretch ourselves with a new visual identity.”  

When we relaunched as Momentive on June 9, 2021, that was just the beginning. There’s still a lot of work to be done; we’re still testing and conducting research, and measuring the impact of our rebrand is a top priority. 

As Momentive, we’re tracking our brand health consistently and long-term. We moved from a biannual wave to using our always-on brand tracking solution. This allows us to easily monitor brand awareness and our brand conversion funnel over time, on a monthly basis, and base our decisions on the most up-to-date data. We can also compare Momentive to other brands in the landscape to get a sense of how we stand out. And we can keep a close eye on our brand attributes and associations to see if they shift as we evolve our marketing strategy.

So, yes, it’s still exciting to say: We are Momentive. The data and insights surfaced from our solutions helped us get here—and they’ll help us continue to make bold, confident steps as we continue to evolve our brand and our company.

Karen Budell is vice president of brand marketing at Momentive.

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