Jun 20, 2017 / by Nick Bell

Where do we come from? Who do we want to become? These universal questions run through every communicator’s mind as they build brand equity and tell their brand stories.

These are also the questions we’ve been asking ourselves at Cision, where we’ve brought together the most trusted brands in the communications industry to build a platform where they can live as one.

After growing so quickly and acquiring many big names like PR Newswire, Gorkana, Bulletin Intelligence and more, we quickly realized we needed a unified brand, something that PR professionals could easily recognize and relate to.

Thus, we’ve refocused our brand image to better reflect our vision, which is to elevate the art, science and impact of the communications profession:

So how did we do it?

Our recent blog post How to Effectively Communicate Your Re-Brand outlines some best practices for companies looking to change their look, and I’ll build on that by taking you through the Cision journey to get to where we are today.

Start with Self-Reflection

Our brand is rapidly growing through mergers and acquisitions as well as through technological innovation. We spent some time examining ourselves as a company and quickly realized that one unified message was warranted if we wanted to build on the brand equity we already have in the marketplace.

We believe the launch of our IPO was the perfect time to refresh the Cision brand as the essential communications technology partner for our customers. We’ve brought together the most trusted and respected brands in the industry, and now we want to make it easy for our customers to recognize us. We want to partner with PR professionals and enable them to communicate like never before — from start to finish.

Listen to your Customers and Employees

How do your customers, potential customers and employees perceive your brand? How do you want to be perceived? Does that match up?

We conducted extensive customer and employee research. This included 25 stakeholder interviews that spanned six countries, ranging from Sales, Insights, Product Development and HR, as well as top marketing executives inside and outside of our organization.

We conducted customer focus groups and surveyed more than 1,500 Cision employees to gather input on how we currently perceive ourselves within the Cision brand family and how others view our collection of brands.

The culmination of our research efforts uncovered that we are a collection of many different brands. This realization helped us decide that moving forward, Cision should be the master brand for all our services. Having one master brand brings together many different families, and provides easy recognition for our customers in the marketplace. It also unifies us and strengthens our company culture and identity.

Build Your Future Identity

First, clearly articulate your vision and your mission. Ours is this:

Mission: Cision empowers communicators to identify influencers, craft and distribute meaningful stories, and measure the impact.

Vision: To elevate the art, science and impact of the communications profession.

Next, tell your story. Here’s ours:

Communicators are in the business of telling stories. Yet, since the digital revolution began, the communications profession hasn’t had much of a story to tell when it comes to measuring its value to an organization.

To prove their value, regain their stature and increase their share of budget, communicators need to do things differently. They need to demonstrate success. They need to measure return on investment. They need metrics that matter.

That’s where Cision comes in.

We took the most trusted and respected brands in every discipline of the communications profession and built a platform where they can live as one.

Together we enable communicators to identify influencers, craft and distribute meaningful stories, and, for the first time ever, measure the impact on the bottom line.

Today Cision is a single company with a single mission: to be essential to all communicators who want to improve their work and improve their value. How?

  • By innovating relentlessly.
  • By delivering seamlessly.
  • By performing honestly.
  • By focusing on our customers obsessively.

And by demonstrating unmistakably, that the communications profession doesn’t just deserve a better seat at the table, it belongs at the head.

Once you’ve thought out your business purpose, what you want to achieve and how you want to help your customers achieve it, your next step is to build out the design and content framework that will become a guide for the company.

Brand Design:

Logos, color palette and typography should all be decided upon. We evolved our old logo by integrating a “beam” of light into the design. The Cision beam symbolizes what we enable our customers to do, to bring light to meaningful stories and distribute them to the right audiences so as to make a difference for their companies.

With a nod to our past, we included orange as the beacon which also shines a light on where we want to go, and we want to take our customers with us.

Once your main logo has been decided upon, photography style, techniques and best practices should also be outlined. Complementary assets can then be built out from those initial decisions, including:

  • Email signatures
  • Templates
  • Animated logos
  • Brand videos
  • PowerPoint templates
  • Letterheads
  • Office signage
  • Supplies

Written Content:

Whereas design helps illustrate the visual brand, content is equally important for building out the brand story and providing a guide so the entire company can speak with one voice, and tell one cohesive, unified narrative. We’ve already discussed vision, mission and story development, here are other content pillars to consider building out:

  • Brand archetype
  • How the brand speaks
  • Personality and values
  • Editorial guidelines (voice, tone, style, keywords)
  • What channels we want to speak from
  • Talking points
  • FAQs

Lastly, start an inventory across the marketing teams where you itemize out all of the places where brand changes need to be made, as well as stakeholders involved in making the change.

Communicate with Stakeholders

You’ve determined the reason for your brand and built out the assets and the story behind your new brand vision. Now’s your chance to communicate it with your employees and customers. Here’s what we did at Cision.

First, I gained internal executive feedback and alignment, adjusting the brand refresh roadmap where needed. Next, the marketing team mobilized to identify and roll out all possible changes on day one, with a timeline for the remaining changes to be completed.

Then we held an internal “town hall,” a global team meeting to inform and align with employees. We explained the reasons behind the change, took questions and provided an open-door policy for feedback.

As our previous blog post states, “Having your employees on board is imperative to your re-brand marketing success. By spending considerable time on preliminary research and speaking with employees, customers and other key stakeholders, brands can be confident in their decision to make the right changes for their business.”

Share your Vision with the World

Here came the fun part for us at Cision — now that we had executives and all our employees onboard, it was time to share our rebrand with the world. We took to our channels — updating web properties, social handles, writing this blog, and much, much more. We kept it lighthearted and fun, just like our customers like it. We realized that this is an ongoing process that is vital to unifying not just our brand, but is also vital to the whole communications industry. Next we’re going to take it to Times Square:


We are determined to elevate the value of communicators in the marketing community. We are ambitious, disciplined and fearless, allowing communicators to conquer the disruption of the industry and make a positive impact through storytelling.

We invite you to join us on our brand journey, and we wish you the best of luck with yours.

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About Nick Bell

Nick Bell is the VP of Marketing Communications at Cision. With more than 20 years of technology marketing experience, Bell has held executive-level positions with marketing technology firms including Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua and Adobe. Bell has a proven track record of developing award-winning and ROI-based marketing programs, media relations, and brand strategies. Bell holds a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @nbell94102.