We connected with Nicole, Executive Creative Director (ECD) of Intuit — and former Communications Lead with Women in Leadership & Design — for a fascinating look at her experience leading the recent Intuit rebrand. In Part 2 of this special two-part WILD Portrait series, Nicole takes us through the incredible process, intention, and result of the whirlwind 9-month brand evolution project. We loved comparing notes with WILD’s recent rebrand!
Don’t miss Part 1 of this series, when we hear about Nicole’s professional path and experiences, her views on leadership, and her wide-ranging interests from 80’s hair metal to anchovies.
Please introduce yourself and your current role.
Hello WILD Community! I’m Nicole, I currently serve as Executive Creative Director (ECD) of Intuit’s Brand Storytelling and Experiences, where I lead multidisciplinary creative teams to deliver cohesive end-to-end global brand and marketing experiences.
I’m an East Coast native living on the West Coast, remodeling a retirement home in Hawaii. I tour every mid-century architectural gem I come across and, like my ancestors, find a way to put anchovies in everything.
We’re seeing a lot of amazing press on the Intuit rebrand, and wanted to hear your perspective and experience going through it. Can you start by talking about your role in the rebrand?
Yes! I had the honor and pleasure to drive this project, and lead this change.
Who else was involved and how?
So many people. We had a very small core team of designers, brand marketers, and researchers. We bolstered this internal team with the insanely talented brand design studio, Moniker.
With a shift of this magnitude, the rigor and discourse of collaborating with brand, marketing, and design leaders across the organization not only made the work better, it also assured a quick approval in the end, and got everyone excited about rolling out the new identity.
Why was the decision made to rebrand?
Intuit is a 40-year-old tech company with a spring in its step.
With significant progress based on its platform strategy, a few major acquisitions, and big swings in supporting communities, Intuit has profoundly grown as a company and has fundamentally evolved as a brand from what it was even just three years ago.
With this shift, the time was right to reestablish our visual identity to better reflect our current positioning and stature, and to imbue more meaning into the Intuit brand.
What aspects of the brand were reconsidered?
Brand positioning, personality, a new logo, a new core color (Super Blue), and a new visual identity system.
What approach did you and the team take to pursue the rebrand? How did you decide on that approach?
We had nine months(!!) to complete this project, so our planning and approach had to be foolproof.
We started with internal and external interviews, followed by a series of design sprints which included qual and quant research along the way. At key milestones, we connected with stakeholders across the ecosystem to share progress and get their diverse perspectives.
This wasn’t my first large scale ecosystem wide project, so the structure and learnings from past initiatives informed the approach.
How did you and the team decide on the ultimate direction for the look and feel?
Research played a critical role in paving our path.
At the project’s onset, we conducted a series of interviews with our most senior leaders across the organization. Through these interviews, the creative team teased out current and desired perceptions of Intuit, learned more about the deep connection our organization feels for our 40-year journey, gained new insight on how our customers and their needs are changing, and uncovered a swagger that we hadn’t seen before.
Another clear insight was the pride people felt in Intuit’s deep roots. The legacy of the current identity was paramount to the company Intuit had become. We were making a meaningful evolution into the future while staying true to who we already were.
All of these insights helped us focus the design effort. We knew our solution balanced both intention and emotion while still honoring our past identity.
How was the communication and rollout figured out?
For our internal audience, our bold goal was to launch the new brand identity at our Q1 State of the Company. We proudly met this goal!
Post launch, we did an internal roadshow to go deep into the process and strategic approach with teams, so they could understand our new identity in their minds and feel it in their hearts.
We also collaborated with our Comms team to develop an external launch plan, which was deployed within the same week as the internal launch.
What were some of the key moments or inflection points during the process? Why were those moments important? How did you navigate them?
We knew our intention was to honor the past, while making a meaningful evolution into our future.
Through our research we also learned that Intuit is a brand of “ands.” A brand with a storied history of being forward-thinking and innovative while also human and authentic. This emotional versatility created a really interesting design territory to explore. How do you develop an identity that instantly conveys a dynamic progressive technology focus while conveying the human-centric side of approachable and caring?
We constantly checked the creative against our intentions, evaluating the design concepts on the weight of each emotion. We kept on track by getting crisp on our brand attributes (and their emotional connotations) and always going back to them to evaluate the work.
What was your favorite part? Why?
Is all of it a fair answer? It was a giddy 9 months. Every interview, synthesis session, design sprint, creative review, every stakeholder presentation all were such deep conversations about the core of our identity, and that’s such a rich territory to coach and lead through.
Any challenges or lessons learned that, knowing what you know now, might have gone differently?
With a nine month timeline, there really was no room for error.
My high bar for creative excellence, plus my ability to galvanize teams, foresee challenges, remove barriers, and collaborate effectively across the organization, helped us stay on track.
Anything else you’d like to share from your experience with the Intuit rebrand?
This truly was a career highlight for me. I’m so proud of this work, the team behind it, and the impact we were able to have for the Intuit brand. Through this effort, we’ve made an innovative, modern, and confident leap forward.____
As Women in Leadership & Design (WILD) redefines paradigms of design leadership, we elevate the perspectives of the creative leaders in our midst. “WILD Portraits” shares the distinct stories of Bay Area women and non-binary design leaders, highlighting each individual’s unique path and point of view. Together, these profiles provide a sketch of the state of design leadership and how it’s evolving.