AI’s potential to be realized by a diversity of data pulled together in a centralized healthcare map.
TL;DR: We’ve changed almost everything about our brand except the name.
At a company offsite back in January, I was asked, “what was the most difficult decision you had to make since taking this role?” Without hesitation, I answered, “deciding whether or not to evolve the brand.”
Walk into our offices (back when you could do such a thing) and you would see many people wearing Komodo gear each and every day. I know this is pretty common at tech companies, but at Komodo, it signals something deeper. As Dragons, we love our company and our culture. We love our mission and our values. And that affection is underscored by how passionately we identify with being part of this team.
A difficult decision indeed.
When most people think about a brand, they immediately think about the logo — the swoosh, the apple with the bite taken out of it, the curlicue G and E that are reminiscent of a lightbulb filament. And to an extent, that’s how our Dragons thought about our brand, too. But a brand is more than its logo. A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, when taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another.
And that philosophy — that a brand is more than just a cool design or an interesting logo — drove the strategy for this project. The question we asked ourselves was not “is this the right logo?” Rather, we sought out to define: What is the essence of a Komodo experience? How do we infuse our brand into our products and services? What is our personality and style? How do we introduce our company to others?
Two things were determined from the outset. First, the company’s name would not change. And second, if nothing about the brand ended up changing, that would be fine. In fact, there was a fair bit of early skepticism that we could improve upon where we currently were as a company. After all, the name, the logo, the stories we tell about ourselves, were very popular with our Dragons.
But as you know since you’re reading this, change obviously happened after all.
So what is Komodo Health?
It all started with a question. As I was onboarding during my first few weeks with the company, I interviewed over 30 of our Dragons and I would start with this (seemingly) simple question: What is Komodo Health? Surprisingly, I received almost 30 different answers. After some careful assemblage of the core ideas woven into each Dragon’s response, the collective agreement was that “Komodo creates software applications that draw from the largest linkable map of human health in the U.S. Our clients use this software to reduce disease burden and improve patient outcomes.”
That’s certainly an excellent answer, but one that is very functionally oriented. As an organization we have very aspirational goals. Our mission is lofty. Our values are optimistic and essential. It was clear from a foundational level that we needed to find the words and the images to reflect how we thought of ourselves.
We honed in on four key areas for exploration. Our Origin Story – how and why we named the company; Our Mission – the dent we want to put into the universe; Our Purpose – why we exist; and Our Identity – the ways in which we appear to the world.
Our Origin Story
Every Dragon will eventually be asked, “Why did you name yourselves Komodo?” The original answer to this common question had a small, but glaring flaw. In the original version, the story revolved around the many vexing problems — or dragons — to slay in healthcare, with data and modern software as the conquering hero. But Komodo does not want to slay the dragon — WE ARE THE DRAGON! And as Dragons, we aspire to be a benevolent force for good. As a result, we modified the tale of our founding to a more representative account of the powerful, positive role we wish to play in the world. Here is how we now define the power from which we were born as a benevolent force for good:
In every fable, every fairy tale, there’s always a proverbial “dragon” that the protagonist needs to overcome in order to emerge victorious. But dragons in stories are often misunderstood – feared instead of revered. When the power of the dragon is harnessed, heroes are born, quests are triumphant, and the ending is always a happy one. Given the importance, and difficulty of our mission, we named ourselves after the last living dragon – the Komodo Dragon – recognizing that it will take the power, wisdom, and just a touch of magic that only a dragon can provide, for us to successfully achieve our goals.
Our mission statement is one of the things that all of our Dragons are most proud of. It anchors our work, focuses our strategies, and codifies our ethos. The original version of the mission read as follows: To reduce the global burden of disease through the world’s most actionable healthcare map. With ample exercises to pressure-test this mission and consider alternatives, it is clear that the original mission remains central to who we are at Komodo. However, to reinforce the power and importance of it, we parsed out the “how” and “where,” simplifying the statement for greater clarity.
Our mission is to reduce the burden of disease.
Simon Sinek, British author and motivational speaker, said it best: “Every organization on the planet knows what they do. Very few organizations can clearly articulate why they do what they do.” A brand’s purpose is one of the most important facets of its brand. This work started with an essential question, what does Komodo do? But that question did not codify why does Komodo exist? As an organization we spent a fair amount of time honing in on the words we chose, the lyricism of our phrasing, and the essence of the idea. We sought to articulate a purpose that is rooted in our mission, reflective of the value we create for our customers, and representative of the transformative effect we wish to have upon the world.
Our purpose is to breathe life into data.
Every word was painstakingly chosen. So let’s unpack them:
Breathe – An active encapsulation of health, vitality, and vigor
Life – The humanization of our mission
Into – The alchemy and transmutation of our work
Data – The backbone of everything we do
The Komodo Brand Identity
Which brings us to our logo. The original Komodo logo, which was conceived when the company was first launched was a basic mark that served as a placeholder for the komodohealth.com website domain.
Around 2017, the company introduced its first logo redesign with the introduction of the “eye” logo.
The logo was designed to have four dots representing the connections we make between various points of data. That connection was then infused with an insight, represented by the eye. The typeface was modern and clean, and that logo has served the company well during its growth and evolution.
As we went through the process of design exploration and discovery, we wanted to develop a logo that would be referential of our history, while infusing the new concepts that represented our present and our future. As such, there were three core ideas that drove the design:
Insight - The ability to perceive and understand (which builds upon the previous design)
Transformation - To create something new from the expected
Breadth and Depth - The dimension and quality of our data Bringing dimension to the ‘dots’)
The ideal design needed to capture our ability to see what others don’t, the alchemy of innovation in what we do, and the depth and breadth of the healthcare map we offer. And after an extensive series of design explorations we finally arrived at our new logo:
As you can see, we’ve kept the idea of the eye at the center, referential of the insights at the center of everything we do. The mark itself is now three-dimensional, to bring representation to the breadth and depth of our data. The hexagon itself is made of a number of geometric elements, which, when combined, are an indication of how we combine powerful, but distinct datasets together in ways no one else can. We’ve modernized our color palette and our typeface to create a distinct and ownable design. And finally, we added one other small touch. The placement of the word “HEALTH” is referential to the shape of a key, representing our ability to unlock unique capabilities with our software.
Over the next few days, you’ll start to see how we’re bringing our brand to life across all Komodo experiences. With a consistent brand origin story, mission, purpose, and identity that build upon each other, we believe our new brand gives us a more cohesive identity, one which builds upon the foundation of the company, and one that will serve us well as we grow. So this is not an end, but a beginning.
We love our new brand, and we hope you do too.