Interview with Pete Eyre, Managing Director of Vevox (previously Meetoo)
Vevox, based in the UK, has recently been launched following a huge re-branding exercise from their previous identity as Meetoo. Vevox provides real-time audience engagement for meetings and events. Peter Eyre of Vevox spoke with MDI explaining the reasons behind the change, the challenges they faced and the impact it has had.
Vevox has been launched recently as a re-brand of Meetoo, why the change?
Confusion and confidence essentially. Late 2018 it became clear it was the right thing for our customers, and therefore the right thing for us. We have a VERY engaged user base as you’ll see from out Trustpilot Reviews, they communicated that the similar spelling of the #MeToo movement was becoming a distraction and even a barrier to use. In parallel as #MeToo moments broke around the world and news outlets made naming typos we received calls, mails and unprecedented amount of sign ups from people clearly not looking to hold better internal comms meetings, these issues were not going to solve themselves.
What was the most difficult part in making the decision?
The hardest part was taking the leap… proposing the change to our clients and colleagues. What if opinions were divided, what if people believed we should/could just ride it out? However, the data and feedback were compelling, and they were all on board, excited in fact that we were being proactive in managing the situation.
How long did it take from the decision to the launch and what were the main hurdles?
3 months, from no name at all to launch! Ask anyone what their biggest criticism of a workplace or work project is, and it usually boils down to poor communication. Living and breathing our mantra of every voice deserving to be heard and that well managed groups can make better decisions, we put our own product through its paces to engage with the whole team. Everyone felt involved, understood the creative process and knew their role in the delivery of the project. The result was of course some adaptations along the way but certainly no major hurdles.
How did you inform your clients and what were their reactions?
Our goal was that every one of our free or paid account holders (of which there are many thousands) whatever their level of usage, would know about the change before we made the switch on the 21st March. Providing excellent customer service is a point of pride and differentiation for us, so getting this right was vital to us. We started with key enterprise clients and the Universities early in January (before we even had the name) and worked from there. We communicated regularly by phone, email and through the product dashboard. Reactions were positive, understanding, supportive, thankful for the communication and in some cases relieved… some were under pressure internally to stop using our product because of the name but hadn’t wanted to upset us as we’re nice people!!! It’s brought us even closer to our customers for sure.
What inspired the name Vevox, was it already part of the company somehow?
Years ago, I was in a business that got bought out by a large corporate. We were passionate about our brand and businesses, so when their ‘expert’ arrived from the big smoke all suited and booted (we were in shorts and flip flops using old doors as desks) to patronise us with marketing speak and explain the poetry behind our new pantone, we rebelled!! (Silently of course... they didn’t open any channels for feedback!).
Avoiding this was top of the agenda! Brainstorms, word clouds, pub chat, 100’s of ideas and a transparent process lead us to Vevox. It’s strength, simplicity and reference to Valuing Every Voice (Vox- latin for voice), instantly struck a chord with the team and worked well with test clients so it stuck.
Since this change, what lessons did you learn and what would be your advice to other companies facing a similar challenge?
Involve everyone and communicate. Unleash their creativity and ideas early and ensure they are bought in to the change.
Make a comprehensive plan… communicate progress regularly, be open and honest about any challenges.
Agree and share the criteria the name must meet so that all understand why a suggestion may or may not work. We made a huge list of criteria to measure all suggestions against and categorised them must have, nice to have, no need to have. Everything from "is the .com available" to "would you wear the T shirt to the gym?".