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Defying the decades-old perception of cybersecurity | #BehindTheBrand

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Earlier this year, Grizzly collaborated with cloud security company Zscaler to evolve and energize its brand as a catalyst of transformational growth, paving the way for it to become a loved and recognized technology brand.

We spoke to Grizzly CCO Greg Gibson to learn more.

What was the brief for the rebrand?

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Amidst a period of rapid growth, the Zscaler team needed to identify their true brand positioning and better articulate who they were in an increasingly crowded field of cyber security providers. The Zscaler team approached us at Grizzly to elevate its brand, with purposeful storytelling as an imperative, around a vision of security as a proactive platform instead of a preventative measure.

Our mission was to help uncover what was at the heart of their brand’s DNA and bring it to life in a way that was not only ownable, but true to the organization’s vision and mission. They knew that a focus on brand would be a big part of their next phase of growth.

They came to Grizzly because we had a deep understanding of the space, and have helped brands like Zscaler create new identities, brand platforms and narratives to architect the next chapters of their journey. With this rebrand, we believed that we could make Zscaler one of the most loved technology brands on the planet and completely redefine cybersecurity as we know it.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

As an agency, we wanted to evolve the brand and design language for Zscaler by putting its customers, experience, and differentiation at the heart of the story. The process was not only collaborative but also incredibly iterative. It involved workshops, stakeholder interviews, and hundreds of Zoom meetings.

We worked to ensure that the end result was representative of both of our teams’ input. From their creative team to their product marketing team to leadership, it was really about both of our teams coming together to craft the future of the brand.

Through this in-depth collaboration process, we unconvered the insight of security as a conduit. Not as a product but as a platform. Not as a means of stopping threats but unlocking potential. Our brand platform was born from this insight.

Describe the purpose of the brand and its target audience

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Zscaler is a global cybersecurity company that uses the largest cloud-based security platform on the planet to make doing business and navigating change a simpler, faster, and more productive experience for some of the world’s biggest, most innovative companies.

Chris Kozup, Chief Marketing Officer at Zscaler said: “The cybersecurity market is rife with brands focused on fear, uncertainty and doubt. Zscaler has a unique brand story to tell – focused on how cyber security can do more than just stop threats, it can accelerate digital transformation. The brand promise showcases its differentiation while emphasizing the positive outcomes our customers experience when partnering with Zscaler.”

What was your thinking behind the rebranding solution?

Our main intention was to focus on the evolution, not revolution, of the Zscaler brand – and give the Zscaler brand team a scalable design system to own for the next several years.

Through this work, we invited Zscaler employees, partners, and customers to “Experience their world, secured.” This is a platform that allowed us to ground our brand in security as an experience with the customer at the center of our story.

This human-centered messaging gave way to a distinct visual language focused on the experience and outcomes of security—using a halftone texture that we deemed our “Experience Cloud,” bold colors, immersive illustrations, and human photography, we focused on the positives that Zscaler brings to the world, rather than the industry standard of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

The flexible design of the ‘Experience Cloud’ is representative of the idea that zero trust exchange lies at the center of everyone’s digital experience. Security is not a product. It’s a mindset and an experience that shows up in our day-to-day as confidence, ease, or speed.

This helped us move into a category white space, separating Zscaler from its competitors and helping to further reinforce the brand’s purpose.

Did you learn anything new during the project?

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There’s Power in Co-creation — From day one, we worked side-by-side with the Zscaler team on strategy, messaging, design, and content production. There were no big reveals; no grand unveilings. We collaborated on an almost daily basis, making sure every stakeholder was involved as possible. Every decision that was made, we made together.

Adventure Is Born from Adversity — It took several rounds of thinking and making before we finally landed on a solution that made sense. “Experience your world, secured” wasn’t our first suggestion.

Greatness takes time and effort, and we made sure that we were diligent and thorough in coming up with a multitude of ways in. Chances are you probably won’t strike gold on your first try, and that’s okay. The beauty of the process is trial and error and pushing through to find ideas that truly resonate.

Push Past the Discomfort — More often than not, the best ideas are the ones that raise the most eyebrows. Throughout the process, we made it a point to present a range of different solutions—whether it was copy options or visual directions.

We started with what was most familiar to the Zscaler team and threw in some wildcards to see what worked best. If you’re not challenging yourselves or your clients, you’re not pushing hard enough. There’s no safety in standing still.

What was the biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?

What's really unique about Zscaler is its unseen impact and scale within the world of work. We're talking about 160 billion transactions secured per day by the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange. Cloud security is something that we all experience but don't necessarily see.

And to take something as abstract as the Zero Trust Exchange—this unseen force—and bring it to life both visually and narratively was a really exciting challenge for us. We solved this by representing customer outcomes; the moments and experiences at work that Zscaler enables with its one-of-a-kind technology.

Zscaler and the larger category were constrained by product-based storytelling focused on technical, reactive messaging rather than an aspirational vision for what security could enable. By showing what’s possible, we empower current and prospective Zscaler customers to bring their digital transformation goals to fruition.

What kit/tools/software were used to create it?

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Collaboration was critical, so we focused on tools that let the team iterate on each other’s thoughts and ideas. For design we leveraged Figma to build an entirely new visual language for Zscaler—including graphic elements, color palettes, and type.

For everything else like brand strategy and verbal identity, we worked primarily out of Google Workspace, Keynote, and Dropbox. And of course, none of this would have been possible if not for the many conversations we had with the Zscaler team over Zoom.

What details are you most proud of and why?

I think what we as a team are most proud of is the adaptability and longevity of this work. “Experience your world, secured” allows the audience to envision a new and achievable future.

This gave us permission to build a highly customizable brand identity. From our flexible messaging framework to our modular design system, everything we created is timeless, evergreen, and designed to grow with the brand.

What visual influences fueled your solution?

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Because the new brand was all about customers and what Zscaler’s technology makes possible for them, our visual language was very much inspired by humanity, giving the technology a more personal touch.

This meant making heavy use of a diverse color palette, a simple typeface, round shapes with soft edges, and lifestyle photography. Ultimately, because the brand invites people to imagine their own worlds, we wanted to establish a sense of approachability and relatability within our design system.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

At Grizzly, we define brand as the dynamic relationship between companies and culture. And this relationship is at the heart of how companies connect with people, how they provide value, and how they impact the world.

Zscaler’s new purpose and position as well as this new brand platform of “Experience your world, secured” represents an extraordinary opportunity to tell new stories and engage its customers, employees, and partners in new ways. We see this brand initiative as an integral part Zscaler’s future—how it'll continue to grow with authenticity, simplicity, and focus for years to come.

The initial brand campaign tripled its three-month impressions target at half the projected budget, and the brand expects to build on this momentum. We’re thrilled with how successfully the new identity has been received and adopted across the organization.

What would you do differently if you could do it over again?

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Absolutely nothing. We at Grizzly pride ourselves on working with Adventurous Brands™, and this means taking big risks. Inevitably, this leaves us open to failure, mistakes, and challenges along the way but we embrace them as a natural part of the process.

With Zscaler, there’s nothing we would do differently because everything we discovered and learned throughout our collaboration informed the work and made its impact that much more potent once it came time to go to market.

Credit list for the work?

Greg Gibson - CCO
Mackenzie Hodge - Senior Project Manager
Ben Yarling - Strategy Director
Guillermo Sarinana - Design Director
Jake Lenze - Strategist
Edward Tapia - Designer
Erik Sena - Senior Copywriter

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