We are. But unlike a lot of tech companies, we’ve shed that stuffy corporate blue image and climbed out tech’s ivory tower. Kintone isn’t about tech for only those who understand code—it’s for everyone. And we’ve got the giraffe to prove it.
So why do you have a giraffe?
Her name is KT. Nicole Jones, Senior Marketing Manager of Kintone, explains how we ended up shameless animal lovers: “It started with Cybozu, our parent company in Japan. Cybozu has a very quirky Japanese culture. Their [Tokyo] office is filled with various animals, including a giant giraffe…we wanted to honor our heritage and their values.”
“About a year ago, we went to this culture conference,” said Nicole. “I knew we needed a different approach from our regular marketing [tactics]…our booth was very B2B at the time, so I bought KT to change things up. She came in a huge box. We unpacked her and Song, one of our employees, fell in love with her and gave her the name KT.” KT is now a regular at Kintone marketing events.
Can I hug her?
Of course. But you can’t take her home with you.
And what’s with the heart logo?
Kintone’s iconic heart logo appeared as part of the company’s rebrand in early 2017. Previously, it was a yellow cloud reminiscent of Goku’s famous Flying Nimbus (named 筋斗雲, pronounced Kinto’un). But as Kintone’s presence grew in the United States, it came time to re-brand the company’s visual look for a global audience. “We have a very strong brand identity in Japan…but here in San Francisco we wanted to do something that was really authentic to the kind of company we are building here,” said Nicole.
The company set upon developing a new logo, one that reflected Kintone’s values while distinguishing it from its competitors.
“We did a long process of interviewing our existing customers and stakeholders within the organization. [We asked them about] the ideas and feelings they had for Kintone,” said Dave Landa, CEO, Kintone.
The result was the “building blocks heart.”
The Building Blocks—Kintone’s software allows people to build really powerful software solutions using different components. Think Legos, except for adults doing business. The blocks represent the functional, accessible nature of Kintone’s platform.
The Heart—The heart reflects the experience business users have when they build a solution to their business problems in Kintone. “Being able to customize the way their business operates gives [users] a real sense of joy and love,” said Dave. “They get to take control over their business in a way they couldn’t before.”
What do you mean by “love your data?” It’s data.
If you can love a faceless Pixar lamp, you can absolutely love your data.
“Kintone enables people to bring all their data to one place and collaborate and use it in ways in new ways,” said Dave. “[As a result], your data becomes much more usable and lovable. You can do your job quickly and more effectively.”
He recounted a Kintone client, McCormick distillery, who turned to Kintone after frustration with their outdated methodologies. “They have a lot of older systems after being under the same ownership for many generations. Things were still being done on pencil and paper in some cases,” said Dave.
Kintone coordinated with them to help build a sophisticated solution for their product order process that their employees could use. “It came together so quickly they were just astounded. And within weeks of the first [build], they were coming back saying their sales team and other departments wanted Kintone to create their own business processes.”
Why all the animals?
Animals have an important meaning in Kintone's world: they represent the playful spirit and diverse nature of our users (and team). At Kintone, we believe diversity—both in people and work styles—is what makes companies great.
Also, we think tech could use a little more monkeying around!
Why is Kintone’s branding less “tech” oriented than other similar brands?
First, because almost no one is doing it. It’s easier to stand out in a crowd when everyone else is wearing suits and you’re in a bathing suit and pool floaties.
Second, because it’s aligned with who Kintone is as a company and who its product is for.
“There are a couple reasons that we chose this position over the hard “tech” route,” said Dave. “One is that our product is very much meant for business users…the core of our solution is meant to democratize technology so that anyone can create a solution, not just people with technology knowledge. That’s really the essence of Kintone.”
Another is Kintone’s value of “flexibility,” both in the Kintone software and as a company philosophy. “Our internal value system is focused on this concept of flexibility,” continued Dave. “You’ll hear the HR head at Cybozu talk a lot about this idea of ‘a hundred people have a hundred different ways of working.’ It’s our role as a company to try and support those ways of working…we have to work with everyone to understand what their ideal [work-life] scenario is and how that fits in with our overall goals as an organization.”
Kintone’s software is meant to express that flexible approach by being accessible and adaptable for anyone, no matter what their technical acumen.
Kintone’s branding may be a bold step in an unusual direction, but that’s just the way we like it. Join our band of merry rebels and learn how to take control of your data with Kintone’s free trial.
About the Author
Michelle is the Content Marketing Specialist at Kintone. She is a content marketing expert with several years in content marketing. She moved to San Francisco in 2015 and has experience working in small businesses, non-profits, and video production firms. She graduated in 2012 with a dual degree in Film and English.