What goes behind the scene of a Brand Transformation? Today at Swedish App Scene, we are privileged to interview Helio to discover what it means to have a successful rebranding. This interview will be split into two segments, the Why and the How. This article will focus on Why Helio rebranded, and you may read the second part of the interview here!
Helio works with flexible office space and co-working, and has just rebranded from what was previously known as Summit. Today, Helio has eight locations with shared workspace and a community of hundreds of members. The latter spans from angel investors and eSport teams to start-ups in everything from drones to sustainable coffee.
As highlighted in our previous article on why start-ups might need to rebrand, we take this a step further with an interview with Eric Spongberg, Chief Product Officer at Helio.
Eric Spongberg, Chief Product Officer of Helio
Why is there a need for a brand transformation from ‘Summit’?
19 years ago, Summit started out as a co-working space during the dot-com era. One big floor with no walls, the first real broadband connection in town and a community Stockholm’s of the most innovative companies. We were one of the first co-working spaces in the world – even though the term was coined several years later.
Back then, it cost about 10,000 Swedish kronor per desk and our biggest member company was named Letsbuyit. Members are companies that rented the co-working space.
However, when the dot-com bubble burst, things started to change. Many companies were severely affected by the crash, and our members started to drop one by one. By 2002, almost all had gone out of business.
As such, we pivoted our business model to rent out our space for conferences instead, charging per day instead of month. This flexibility attracted many people, and we gained popularity as the go-to place for conferences in Stockholm.
It was not until 2009 that we went back to having members again. As things started to pick up, the business for having co-working spaces for companies started to increase. In 2016, the coworking business was our main business again – just like in 1998.
This is the story behind Summit. When you say Summit, people recognised it as a place to have conferences – only. We had grown out of our own brand. We are now a co-working space more than a conference location, and that is the reason we changed our name. This difference in our core business brings about a brand transformation for us.
What is the meaning behind Helio?
Helio originates from the word hēlios, which means ‘sun’ in Greek. We want a name where people can relate to it easily, without any language barriers. Currently, Helio is one of the most popular first name in Portugal and also the biggest mobile carrier in South Korea. In Sweden however, there is no meaning attached to it. Thus, this is an empty vessel strategy for us, where we took a familiar name and inject it with our own brand and meaning.
Therefore, Helio is chosen because of its familiarity and universal characteristic.
Our vision is that big ideas do not happen in isolation, and by clashing industries and people in one place, we can create an environment that can spark brilliance. We want to represent this through our new branding as well, both in patterns and colours.
What does it mean to have a brand transformation?
To have a brand transformation it’s not just applying lipstick. Beyond the physical makeup of the company, we need to work on the fundamentals inside out as well.
The whole process began by interviewing people, users, members. We want to understand what ‘office space’ means in 2017. Is it in line with the trend of the micro-gig economy where people want on ad-hoc projects on a more flexible timeline? Does that mean that they want to work in different types of environments as well? Will working independent for a long time become boring, unproductive and inconvenient after a while?
By thinking about the different professions such as consultants, freelancers and so on, we can project what kind of services are needed. For example, even if you are working on an independent project, you will want to have a community to fulfill the social need to hang out with people. Convenient office services such as printing will also be more convenient and less disruptive.
This transformation is also evolving rapidly. For instance, right now we are getting many questions from larger businesses who also want to move into Helio. Thus, we must keep this new target market in mind and contemplate how the user flow will change. How should we place certain furniture to facilitate the traffic within the office space? How can we make the booking of meeting rooms more frictionless?