A galvanizing brand for Fission

Vancouver

Canada

Fission is an internet technology company that builds centralized, easy-to-use development tools and open-source components.

What came out of [Skyrocket’s branding process] really speaks to something incredible, where we learned something from the process that we can apply in how we think about our business.
Boris Mann, CEO

The challenge

Now that Fission’s product was market-ready, the team decided it was time to invest in brand development. Elements of Fission’s brand hadn’t evolved much over the time they’d spent developing their product. Years earlier, they’d worked with contractors to create a logo and website to get their message out. It was time for them to level up and to build a brand that reflected the new product and vision.

Fission had grown into a company committed to quality, innovation, integrity and putting users first, so they wanted a brand that reflected those values. Messaging was also a puzzle they needed to crack. Having built a highly technical product, Fission struggled with language that was too complex and jargon-filled. It was a challenge to market a powerful new development tool that many developers saw as too good to be true and to speak to investors and other stakeholders about what Fission does and why it matters in simple terms.

Fission needed a trusted, external perspective to simplify their message and to develop an authentic representation of their brand, so they hired Skyrocket to help them navigate this new territory. Fission chose Skyrocket’s Minimum Viable Brand, which includes discovery, use cases and product narratives, a brand refresh, a brand toolbox complete with digital assets, and a landing page, all in three months’ time.

An old problem, a new solution

In application development, frontend and backend developer roles have always been separate, and many frontend developers don’t have the skills to do backend development or server management. Bridging the divide between the frontend and back-end has been a problem that others had attempted to solve countless times before without real success, so it was no surprise that the market was skeptical.

Led by co-founders Boris Mann (CEO) and Brooklyn Zelenka (CTO), the small and highly specialized team of five built a tool that removes obstacles to development by leveraging critical new technologies. Fission’s tool would handle the backend protocols, systems, and setup required for app development, deployment, and hosting, so frontend developers could now maintain full ownership of the applications they developed and publish them quickly. The Fission team also launched an app store marketplace supported by their software kit that made it easy for developers to monetize their apps.

While the technology they continue to develop is cutting-edge and meets a functional need in the IT world, Fission’s value to the market isn’t limited to their products, platform or toolkits. Their greater value is in their big mission: to shift the paradigm of how the world looks at application development as a whole and the relationship between developers and end-users.

Diving into our strategy for Fission

How we think differentiates Skyrocket from our competitors. The following questions and concepts guided our work with Fission:

  • Evolutionary design, future relevance. How do you create a visual brand that stays relevant over time for a platform that evolves continuously? We didn’t want to introduce a brand new visual identity--we’d evolve the existing brand.
  • With so many parts changing for Fission, what would stay the same? The core people. To inform the logo design, we dove into the founders’ influences and who they look up to and admire to define their aesthetic. Once the logo was set, we’d add other elements of interest to flesh out the brand.
  • Fission needed to be approachable and creative, built for real developers, defying the stereotype. Through research, we identified that developers' experiences were pretty similar across the board. This learning helped us simplify the value proposition. To ensure we considered broader demographics among developers, the key persona we chose to represent the user in our framework was “Josephine,” a female developer.
  • What is coding really? We had to see the big picture and how the user fits into place. In our minds, full-stack developers weren’t people who were skilled at code--they became creators. Coding is fun. It is a creative pursuit. That understanding helped us speak to frontend developers.
  • What could we learn from users? We performed a web audit of the Fission homepage to see where we could improve usability and engagement.

Skyrocket delivers

Skyrocket did the hard work of deep thinking, validating hypotheses through research and testing, and applying our time-tested frameworks for brand development.

The specific deliverables and services were as follows:

  • Value proposition design - discovery workshop and value proposition canvas
  • Brand identity - including key messages and visual identity
  • Brand toolbox - Digital assets, lean usage guidelines, company pitch deck
  • Landing page

A simpler way to talk about Fission — brand story and product narrative

Since Fission solved an old problem in a way that was vastly different from past attempts, their team had found it difficult to explain what it is they do. Skyrocket worked with them to establish key messaging that was clear for all audiences--users and investors alike--using simpler language that speaks directly to the value that Fission brings to the market.

Messaging that speaks to developers and end-users

Storytelling to Fission’s core audiences would help the brand pique interest, forge powerful relationships and build report with the developer community and end-users. Before working with Skyrocket, Fission had found it difficult to weave both the developer and end-user stories into their homepage content, so they’d decided to speak solely to developers. This left a major audience untouched. Approaching Fission’s messaging problem from an external perspective, we were able to write stories that resonated with both developers and users and were accessible to non-natives.

Beyond the core message, Fission now had a blueprint for developing messaging on their own to connect to new audiences, to communicate how Fission fits into a customer’s life, and to introduce new product features.

Refreshed visual identity

Authenticity was important to Fission. Taking care to capture the essence of Fission from its leadership, Skyrocket designed a new look for the brand that was an evolution of what they had before, much like their product was ever-evolving, their brand would also. The brand system included a logo, colours, and fonts. The improved Fission logo had symmetry, roundness, and flow and could be used as an icon. The expanded colour palette enabled Fission to add pops of colour that would attract attention and use colours to accent designs. For typography, we included two fonts to cover usage in open-source and non-open-source applications.

A landing page and web components

Skyrocket launched a landing page featuring Fission’s new brand and messaging. Our designers also built out components for Fission to use in developing their full website and platform, including icons for the product features list. These components made it easy for Fission’s team to apply the brand across their digital presence seamlessly.

Company pitch deck

For companies like Fission, a pitch deck is an essential tool. Skyrocket set Fission up for success with a well-branded deck that clearly articulated the company’s vision, product, and opportunity through language and graphics. Fission could speak to investors without struggling to find the right words.  

What changed for Fission?

When our work was complete, Fission felt empowered.

Fission had a new brand that better represented who they were today that will stay relevant as the company matures. Fission could differentiate itself through visuals and messaging that was a sincere, authentic representation that was also marketable. The team had an action plan for what came next. With brand guidelines, they could begin implementing design and content changes across their website and platform.

They no longer needed to question who they were or how they want to show up in the world because they’d done the work of figuring that out with Skyrocket. They could easily talk about what it is they do and the value they provide without that constant need to test new messaging. That clarity gave them the freedom to focus their energy on relationships with users, investors and stakeholders and engineering a better product.

Understanding would open doors. No longer put off by language that was too technical, everyone interested in creating applications could understand and get involved. With easily accessible language, Fission could tap into the full creator audience and generate the impact they desired.

When Skyrocket’s mission was complete, it was clear to everyone that Fission was bigger than a solution to a problem, they were a team invested in shifting a paradigm that no longer served and are building a community of individual creators as they go. We were honoured to be part of that work.

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