Press This: Rebranding in Public

by | May 10, 2023 | Etcetera | 0 comments

Welcome to Press This, the WordPress staff podcast from WMR. Each episode choices guests from around the staff and discussions of the largest issues going thru WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the authentic recording.

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Report Pop: You’re being attentive to Press This, a WordPress Community Podcast on WMR. Each week we spotlight individuals of the WordPress staff. I’m your host, Report Pop. I support the WordPress staff via my place at WP Engine, and my contributions over on TorqueMag.Io where I get to do podcasts and draw cartoons and academic motion pictures. Check out that out.

Changing your company’s identify after a couple of years of making up believe and recognition can always be tricky. If your company’s emerging successfully, even though, occasionally you’ll have outgrown what the original challenge was once, and it should neatly be time to reconsider a rebrand.

And that’s what we’re gonna be talking about in recent times. Our customer is Devin Walker, a commonplace manager at StellarWP, and the co-creator of GiveWP.

Devin, welcome to the showcase. We’re gonna be in contact to you about iThemes rebranding as SolidWP, on the other hand previous to we do, I believe this is your first time on Press This, at least the main time since I’ve been web web hosting. Can you merely remind our listeners, how did you get started with WordPress?

Devin Walker: Certain. Yeah. Howdy everyone. So yeah, my identify’s Devin Walker. I’ve been throughout the WordPress world for roughly 14 years now. Started in 2009 after finding my method via different Microsoft technologies like SharePoint, and then getting over to Drupal and then Joomla for just a bit bit, and then finally WordPress and then came upon my area there.

Started out construction web sites with an corporate, pre-custom put up sorts, which was once crowd pleasing. And then I take into accout lifestyles got more uncomplicated after custom put up sorts and I moved on from the corporate and started construction some explicit particular person plugins, doing some white label works, nevertheless working with consumers. 

And from there I realized, hello there, I in reality revel in construction plugins and I did a couple skilled ones once more in 2012, 2013. That did adequate. And from there now we have been construction numerous nonprofit web sites and there wasn’t in reality a tool that experience compatibility their need exactly. They have got been all soliciting for a fundraising platform that’s native WordPress. So one day partnered with Matt Cromwell, my longtime trade partner, nevertheless to at the present time.

And in 2013, 2014 we built GiveWP and presented it at WordCamp San Diego in April, 2015. Since then, it’s been a in reality easiest go back and forth and been our main focus. In recent years, we’ve expanded our focus just a little, which we’ll get into. On the other hand yeah, that’s just a little about how I got into WordPress.

Report Pop: Yeah. Well, let’s get began with that vast bullet stage. iThemes is now known as SolidWP. What prompted that modify?

Devin Walker: Yeah, so no longer officially however. We’re if truth be told doing a rebranding in public assortment these days where we’re bringing folks along the journey of that. 

On the other hand to respond to your question, what if truth be told prompted that modify? We in recent times took over the iThemes brand in August of 2022 final 365 days. And when we took it over, we weren’t specifically given the instructions, Howdy, pass rebrand this.

No, we were given the instructions, do your issue guys. On the other hand we want to make this brand organize for success for the next 10 years, correct? And, iThemes as a symbol that’s been spherical for longer than I’ve been in WordPress for roughly 15, 16 years now. And in every single place that complete time, it’s changed identities reasonably just a little.

I indicate, the identify implies it all started with matter issues which it did and has had a in reality easiest catalog of over 200, nearly 300 matter issues. On the other hand since then, it changed focus reasonably just a little. And now, fast forward to this 365 days or final 365 days when we made up our minds to rebrand it. The primary flagship product is a security offering, correct?

So iThemes protection, it’s got a million full of life installs. And then our next hottest plugin is a backup answer, Backup Buddy, which has been spherical for 10 plus years. And then finally on absolute best of that our SaaS platform, which does web page, uh, maintenance and keep an eye on, which is referred to as iThemes Sync. Actually great and robust platform that has 60,000 full of life installs on the satellite tv for pc television for computer plugin. 

Those are the three core possible choices and we didn’t in reality even advertise matter issues anymore. So in reality it become obvious. We want to find a new identity for this brand. We need to set it up for success sooner or later, and we need to find a not unusual foundation that all these producers can live beneath.

We tossed numerous names spherical, on the other hand finally came to visit SolidWP in November final 365 days. So we’re pretty proud of the identify and we’re taking numerous steps now in that rebranding effort. 

Report Pop: You realize, that’s true. When I recall to mind iThemes, I recall to mind web site design and web site toolkits. But when I recall to mind iThemes the company, it’s the security and the backup, correct? Like these items that don’t have anything in reality to do with matter issues anymore.

They have got been merely kind of like, “Howdy, we’ve got this one trusted product and, while you liked this product from us, you may additionally believe the ones other products as well.” 

On the other hand they don’t necessarily are compatible beneath the themes identify keep in mind that. If it’s very important to easily tell me briefly, how did you land on SolidWP?

Devin Walker: So we took a take a look at what we do offer and in reality protection, backups, maintenance, updates, and a few of these possible choices that we’re taking a look to make larger moreover throughout the as regards to long term, are very core to what every web page needs. And I keep the usage of the word foundational, correct? Potency, protection, maintenance, backups.

The ones are problems that every web page needs as part of their foundation, and what does every foundation need to be, correct? It will have to be pretty forged. And so I thought it was once a in reality cool word too. I indicate, I’m guilty of the usage of it reasonably just a little and might be, uh, part of my SoCal slang. On the other hand I’ve always said that’s in reality forged or something like that.

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So when understanding names, we’d have favored a web page that was once available, a web page that made numerous sense, was once catchy, nevertheless had a WP in it, and this merely are compatible all of the ones bills. That’s in reality what it were given right here all of the manner all the way down to.

Report Pop: Roughly taking into consideration of that SoCal linguistic nature, I believe forged evidently sounds upper than like BasteWP or something like that. 

Devin Walker: Stoked WP [laughs]. We can have long gone with that.

Report Pop: S you mentioned that you just’re rebranding in public, and I want to concentrate additional about that. Can I make a pull request to SolidWPPs rebrand file? Is it like a GitHub repo kind of issue that you just’re doing?

Devin Walker: Well we will have to consider that, we’d love out of doors contributions from the improvement perspective. We could always use additional building, however it’s in reality about bringing our shoppers and shoppers along the journey with us and making sure nobody’s left behind and their voice is heard.

And being very open and democratic about all of the factor. So showing previews of what the UIs are gonna look like, bringing other people in on alternatives that we’re making regarding the web page and the nature of where we’re gonna take our training offering, and in reality along side and being attentive to our shoppers on account of, 0ver 15 years, we’ve accumulated reasonably just a little of them.

And so we’d have favored to make sure that we’re no longer gonna be making imaginable possible choices that the majority of folks don’t believe. And so it’s in reality about being open and transparent with it while moreover admitting to some of the hurdles we’re tackling and if our timeline slips or things like that, we’re merely gonna be very open with it. And I believe everybody will respect that and spot it. 

And it’s kind of a construction now to build in public. We’d have favored to do our private twist on that and rebrand in public.

Report Pop: It without a doubt gives the vibes of early get right to use video video games on Steam where they’re in reality transparently showing works in expansion, first level. There’s numerous artwork that they have to do to even get {that a} good distance. They have to have the game and have kind of a foundation built.

On the other hand then they’re evidently in the hunt for to pay attention to feedback, what do other people like, what do other people want additional of? So I’m kind of getting that vibe proper right here.

Devin Walker: Totally. I indicate, I’m satisfied you presented up Steam on account of I’m on steam such a lot too, and among the ones video video games on no account see the light of day. I will ensure that this may increasingly increasingly more see the light of day. 

It’s in reality about bringing that journey along and showing off what now we have now. So we merely recorded our third video this morning with me and Matt, on the other hand we’re bringing in numerous staff individuals and, merely to find us on YouTube on SolidWP. We’ve a playlist going. You’ll leave comments on there. We’re taking note of comments and it’s pretty a laugh.

Report Pop: We’re gonna take a to hand information a coarse spoil and when we come once more we’re gonna keep talking to Devin Walker, commonplace manager at StellarWP regarding the contemporary rebrand that SolidWP is doing, and we’re moreover gonna discuss simple tips on how to know when it’s time in your company to consider doing a rebrand, and while you’re already fascinated with that, some pointers that Devin can proportion along the way in which through which.

So keep listening. We’ll be correct once more.

Report Pop: Welcome once more to Press This, a WordPress Community podcast on WMR. I’m your host, Report Pop. I’m talking to Devin Walker, Customary Manager at Stellar WP and a co-creator of GiveWP and several other different other products you’ve nearly for sure heard of. We’re talking regarding the contemporary rebranding of Stellar WP from iThemes and Devin, we discussed how y’all are doing it, you’re testing or well testing, I dunno if that’s the right kind word, on the other hand you’re doing this in public.

You haven’t if truth be told, as of recording, officially transformed however. It sounds like you’re nevertheless iThemes throughout the method of rebranding over to SolidWP, which is a in reality crowd pleasing method to take a look at this. 

The thing I was teasing previous to the spoil was once that any other people listening might be in a similar situation where their company has performed well enough that they’re no longer specifically a security company or an SEO company or something like that. However it definitely’s tied to their identify. 

And I’m merely kind of all for advice you’ll have. Let’s get began with this, what have you ever ever came upon prior to now with the rebranding public that you just think might be helpful to other shoppers who’re fascinated with rebranding?

Devin Walker: Well, there’s numerous quite a lot of issues that come to mind when you ship that question to me. I believe the first thing I’d say is determining whether or not or no longer you will have to rebrand or no longer shouldn’t this kind of lot be about how your profits and the way in which that’s been working. Further so how your challenge has changed and your products fit your brand and your identity.

Does what you advertise nevertheless reflect your original challenge observation and what the brand identity you formed to start with? I’m sure it’s a balance. It’s always a balance between that and profits and where you want to go with the product. So it’s no longer like a cookie cutter manner, whether or not or no longer you will have to differently you will have to no longer.Equivalent with updating logos and so on and so forth. 

For Give WP for instance, we most likely won’t ever substitute the identify for that or the logo. It merely fits. It’s been our challenge. It’s always gonna be our challenge. Till there’s something that happens sooner or later that I will’t foretell these days, on the other hand for iThemes, it was once a lot more obvious that this needed to happen.

Protection product sales had been great, backups had been great, on the other hand there’s an entire bunch of legacy products to be had available in the market nevertheless putting spherical. That merely needed to pass. We purchased a product known as BoomBar. It’s essential to nevertheless acquire it on hasn’t been up-to-the-minute in a long time.

Very legacy product that merely needed to pass. There’s a couple additional like that. So that was once causing some of the identity crisis, I in reality like to say. And then some of the naming too, once more in 2007, 2008, it was once in reality cool to place a I previous to a word. It was once a cool Apple issue to do. So iThemes was once a in reality cool space identify, nevertheless is a cool space identify, however it does showcase its age now and it’s obvious.

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So that was once any other telling factor there. So I’d say, you could have to sit down down along side your leaders, your stakeholders, your staff. And in reality make a decision if it’s the pathway you want to go and do an analysis on it. Make a choice your favorite analysis and spot how it comes out at the end.

On the other hand that’s kind of the process we went via there. 

We’re finding out numerous classes along the way in which through which. That’s why we’re doing the rebranding in public and citing a couple of of that throughout our presentations, on the other hand some of the original first classes I’ve came upon is that the way in which will have to be in a phased manner. 

For this sort of massive enterprise like this, now we have been in reality relying on a lifting of the curtains once all of the artwork was once performed, and it become additional obtrusive as time went on that we in reality couldn’t do only a grand expose like that. We had to take a stepped manner from the entire thing from the web page migration, the licensing, the industry platform to the products themselves, how they’re deployed. The, content material subject matter updates, banner updates, the entire thing. There’s such a large amount of parts to it. 

And till you could have a big staff or employ a third celebration advertising guide, like an corporate or an SEO specialist that imply you’ll get to that finish line, and also you’ll be 100% sure you’ll push that red button and the entire thing’s gonna switch over, I believe a phased manner is much more good to having success with it. 

So that’s what we’re gonna do for either side of this rollout. We’re gonna do it in phased approaches. So these days now we have now just a single internet web page up on with a blog that’s all regarding the rebranding effort. iThemes is still up, nevertheless the original content material subject matter.

We’re nevertheless posting on And then one day we’re construction out’s web page and we’ll start to roll that out one day, and do a bit rollout of the SEO. There’s over 1100 posts on the iThemes blog, a couple of of which rank very extraordinarily throughout the search engine. So we wanna make certain we don’t rock that boat. 

And then moreover with the products and the rollout there, being very wary about that. There’s numerous problems with the licensing that can pass mistaken that we don’t want to as well.

Report Pop: Yeah, I was merely testing your plugin repository listing for iThemes Protection on And I believe plugins kind of have this issue where it’s in reality hard to modify the URL as quickly because it’s kind of landed. And by chance, I don’t know if this was once planning from the start or a sign from any other rebrand, on the other hand luckily y’all’s URL is Upper-WP-Protection on there, so no iThemes to clean from the URL at least.

Devin Walker: No iThemes. Yeah, so it’s funny, iTheme Protection was once were given from if truth be told Chris Wegman, who you mentioned pre-show, way back throughout the day. Prior to me being all in favour of any of the ones producers. They rebranded it iThemes Protection and now we’re gonna rebrand it over again. In order that you’re correct, that url, that on no account changes it doesn’t subject what.

Report Pop: That’s a laugh. So kinda speaking of the ones acquisitions that have took place, you’ve got been co-founder and co-creator of GiveWP, which was once later were given by way of Liquid Web. I’m wondering what that experience of having your brand join any other kind of massive legacy brand, what that taught you and kind of the goods and the bads you kind of came upon from that experience.

Devin Walker: Yeah, so, oh man, I in reality like talking about this. It was once reasonably the experience. About two years prior to now now, we joined Liquid Web, on the other hand the entire process started spherical two and an element to two years and eight months prior to now. From initial conversations that we started having with Liquid Web to getting into the LOI segment, letter of intent, to getting via to due diligence, to if truth be told completing due diligence to final signing, that process took spherical seven, 8 months and.

There’s numerous backward and forward in there. I’d say take that process as gradual and as in moderation as you’ll and include as many just right other people like felony pros who’ve performed this previous to, via that process to bear in mind to’re crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s. on the other hand prior to even having that conversation, you will have to assemble a trade that’s able to be were given.

So, put up selling or being were given by way of Liquid Web, I’ve had the risk to sit down on the other side of the table now and analysis reasonably a few firms and spot beneath the hood, in case you’ll, of what’s going down there. And there’s numerous things you see which can be eye-opening that you just don’t like to see throughout the WordPress world.

A couple examples may also be massive lifetime license product sales. My boss likes to call an entire life licensed drug on account of we seem to in reality find it irresistible in WordPress. I concentrate the explanation, well why would I get a one-time subscription price now once I would possibly simply get 3 years prematurely, 4 years prematurely? Well, when you pass to advertise the trade, there’s no longer extra regimen profits while you gain that initial profits. So it approach no longer anything else to that trade that you just already collected that money and it’s now sitting in some bank account that they won’t ever have get right to use to. 

The second isn’t any purchaser wisdom or promoting record by any means. Privacy advocacy is a in reality excellent issue, and I believe it has its place like in on the unfastened plugins. Like we gotta abide by way of the rules, on the other hand after they get began turning into a paying purchaser of yours, I believe it’s winning to gather as so much particular person wisdom and purchaser wisdom as you’ll and market towards them.

In reality, don’t do anything shady, on the other hand that’s worth something to a imaginable acquirer. How so much wisdom do you could have? What are your promoting lists like? What’s the crowd spherical your product like? Are they engaged? Are they no longer engaged? In evaluating certain firms prior to now, I’ve spotted many that take a first-rate stance on no longer collecting any of that wisdom the least bit, no longer understanding anything about their shoppers, no longer even having any renewals or subscriptions or anything like that, and it makes it in reality a lot much less attention-grabbing evidently shoppers when that’s the positioning. 

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In the end, SaaS portions are always in reality nice. Further proprietary code bases are in reality nice. And then profits proportion gives with different price gateways. So while you’ve were given some type of industry aspect to your plugin, are you collecting profits proportion from your gateways on the once more end of that and essentially making a living when you sleep.

So, with Give WP, we did nearly $350 million on the whole processing amount via multiple gateways final 365 days alone. We got an exquisite excellent decrease out of that, and we didn’t will have to do anything to get that decrease. Besides make certain our plugins are up to date, make certain we’re working with our shoppers in reality well and maintaining the device and doing all of the stuff we typically do.

But if we’d on no account had that handle Stripe or PayPal, or identify the gateway, that profits would on no account had been there. So where’s profits at that you just may not be seeing it. I would possibly simply pass on and on proper right here. Report, , I’ll imply you’ll chime in.

Report Pop: Well, yeah, we’re coming up at our next spoil. We’re gonna come once more and wrap up our conversation with Devin Walker, commonplace Manager at SolidWP. We’re going to stick talking about rebranding your corporate or company, so stay tuned. We can be correct once more.

Report Pop: Welcome once more to Press This, a WordPress staff podcast on WMR. We’re talking with Devin Walker. We’re wrapping up our showcase, talking about rebranding in public. Devin, correct previous to the spoil, I asked you a question you got in reality desirous about. Give WP, which is a product that you just co-created, was once were given by way of Liquid Web, and likewise you kind of talked to us regarding the experience of being were given. I’m merely kind of curious even though. Can you tell us, was once there a conversation these days that now it will have to be Give Liquid Web or Liquid Web’s GiveWP? Was there some type of conversation about rebranding the product to fit with Liquid Web, which has numerous products beneath its sleeve?

Devin Walker: Well, that wasone of the problems we evaluated when first taking a look at this deal on account of we didn’t wanna mess with our brand. And one in all our requirements for taking a look at supplies or gives or imaginable acquisitions was once don’t mess with our brand. That wasn’t the main priority, however it was once pretty darn high up there.

The main priority, in the end, was once making sure our staff was once seemed when they most often weren’t merely gonna are to be had and gut the place. And then moreover a observe document of unveiling proof. The proof’s throughout the pudding. Right kind. So iThemes was once the main acquisition by way of Liquid Web in 2018, I believe. And when they were given right here to us, we spotted a whole lot of the crowd already in place.

I believe Corey, the founder, had left, on the other hand the rest of the crowd was once largely nevertheless in place. And they made each and every different previous acquisitions that the entire staff were given right here in place. And we spoke with those leaders and it was once all very transparent and made us in reality really feel very comfortable. 

In order that they didn’t mess with the brand. That was once the most important with us. It’s no longer gonna be known as, Liquid Give, or who’s conscious about what the heck it might be known as. And so that made us more than pleased.

Report Pop: And , we’ve discussed this iThemes rebrand to SolidWP, and likewise you mentioned that it’s no longer took place however, so it looks like technically, iThemes is still the identify we will have to be working on. I’m merely kinda prepared in this transition you’re talking about. How long do you think it’s going to be previous to you’ll solidly say SolidWP.

Devin Walker: Don’t worry. We’ve been the usage of that pun this kind of lot lately. It’s on no account gonna get earlier. Well, I’d say now we have now an excessively tight timeline. I hate giving specifics out, on the other hand I’d say mid to late summer season is our purpose. Mid being the earliest I believe, which would possibly nearly for sure the highest of this quarter.

Taking a look at the timeline now, I’m saying we’ll nearly for sure pass later somewhere. Early Fall is now what I’m taking a look at. There’s merely numerous transferring parts proper right here and you understand how problems pass with building and design.

Report Pop: Mm-hmm. Well, Devin, I in reality respect your time in recent times. Thank you this kind of lot for changing into a member folks on Press This, a WordPress Community podcast. If other people want to practice up with the industry that’s going down in public. Where will have to they pass to kind of see this alteration going down?

Devin Walker: Certain the very best place, merely pass to SolidWP.Com. There you’ll see all of the latest motion pictures you’ll read about our message to the iThemes shoppers, and then you’ll moreover sign up for our rebranding in public assortment publication.

Report Pop: That’s cool. Devin, thanks over again for changing into a member folks in recent times and on account of everyone who’s listened and cherished this episode.

Report Pop: Thanks for being attentive to Press This, a WordPress staff podcast on WMR. Once over again, my identify’s Report and also you’ll practice my adventures with Torque magazine over on Twitter @thetorquemag otherwise you’ll pass to where we contribute tutorials and films and interviews like this on a daily basis. So take a look at out or practice us on Twitter. You’ll subscribe to Press This on Pink Circle, iTunes, Spotify, otherwise you’ll download it directly at each and every week. I’m your host Doctor Well-liked I support the WordPress staff via my place at WP Engine. And I in reality like to concentrate on individuals of the crowd each and every week on Press This.

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