I still remember the day when I suggested to our company's co-founder, Jason Leonard, that we should change our name from Landlord Web Solutions (LWS) to Rentsync, which at the time was the name of our flagship ad syndication product.
His response: "I like it."
Not exactly what I had expected.
Because changing a company's public persona and brand isn't something you should do just because it "seems like a good idea" or because your gut is telling you to go for it.
People have a hard time embracing big change, especially when it comes to brand identity and messaging. For LWS, this would be huge.
But after my initial conversation with Jason, what followed was, well, a lot of the same, "Good idea!" "Yes, let's do it." "When are we making the change?"
Great, our plan to reposition the company under the Rentsync name had received initial buy-in, but secretly, this was not the first time we had thought about it. This change was long overdue.
In fact, I remember the day, in 2013, when Jason gave me my first demo of their – at the time – new ad syndication product called "RentSync."
And I remember thinking to myself back then, "I like the sound of that name."
So, after getting the buy-in needed to move ahead with the brand repositioning, I was excited to help LWS transform into Rentsync.
The only problem was that even if it were the right thing to do, one of my golden rules as a chief marketer, is to never suggest rebranding or relaunching a new marketing website in my first year.
As of today, I've been at "Rentsync" for exactly one year and 16 days. Phew!
Repositioning LWS to Rentsync
First, I'd like to make something clear; "becoming" Rentsync is not a rebranding exercise.
The word "rebrand" might leave you with the impression that we've changed our logo and colours. I can assure you this goes much deeper than that.
Going from LWS to Rentsync is a deliberate move to fundamentally "reposition" the company and its mission.
To reposition means to reorient. To hone in, to focus. It means moving unanimously in one direction while giving the outside world contextual clues to help them figure out what you do, who it's for and why they should care.
Good positioning creates market leaders, but great positioning can create "category kings." Rebranding is simply a by-product of repositioning, not the other way around.
So, after almost ten years under the name Landlord Web Solutions, LWS is changing its public persona and entire product suite to Rentsync. Furthermore, our in-house services team will now be known as Rentsync Studios.
As of July 2, 2020, Landlord Web Solutions will be "doing business as" Rentsync or to use some legal mumbo jumbo "Landlord Web Solutions Inc. d/b/a Rentsync."
Why, after all this time, would an established company do such a thing?
In 2010, LWS was correctly positioned because it provided "Landlords" with "Web Solutions." But over time, LWS has outgrown its original market position.
The positioning had stayed the same, even when the products and services offered changed along with the market.
Specifically, we at LWS faced a similar situation many companies find themselves in:
1) We evolved. There was a disconnect between what the company was doing versus what it had plans to do. Meaning, we started as a web design shop for landlords but had become something much more.
2) Our markets and clients had changed. The company's brand recognition is not the same in the U.S. as it is in Canada. Furthermore, the word "Landlord," central in the company's name, is used to represent the small single-family investor in the market. Currently, we work with some of the largest multifamily operators and property management companies in North America.
3) It had too many names and sub-brands. In my first 90 days at the company, I spent a lot of time listening and talking to people. During that time, one thing stood out: prospects and clients would refer to us by different names. We got: "LWS," "Landlord Web Solutions," "Landlord Web," "Landlord Solutions," "Web Solutions," "LIFT" (the previous name for our CMS), and of course, "Rentsync" (which clients used a lot).
We're on a mission
So as part of the repositioning strategy, we've decided to change our public persona to Rentsync to capture our new philosophy, value proposition and expansion efforts—and with a new name comes a new mission and vision.
Our mission: To help our clients transform their marketing from a cost centre to a revenue driver, and as a result, increase the value of their assets. Whether our clients want to increase occupancy, rents, or optimize their portfolio — maximizing their marketing investment comes down to making better decisions on where to advertise and reducing the time it takes to go from lead to lease. Overtime, Rentsync will give them the tools and services required to do both.
Our vision: To be the leading marketing solutions provider for the multifamily industry in North America.
But despite all the changes that have and will occur soon, one thing will remain the same; we're still the same merry band of talented individuals driven by coffee and respect for a company that has given us so much.
Same, same. Just better.
VP Marketing, "Rentsync"
P.S. At this time, I'd also like to thank everybody on the Rentsync team for making my first year at the company "one for the books"! I'd especially like to thank my amazing team: Leigh-Ann Frommann, Robyn Scobie, Nicolina Savelli, and Matt D'Avirro, for all their efforts in making this rollout a reality.
But a special shout out must go out to Kristen Cardwell, who created our refreshed logo and designed our new website! All of the illustrations you see on the site are custom done by her. Kristen, we can't thank you enough for all of the long hours and hard work you put in!
Finally, I'd like to give a big thanks to our development and QA superstars (Stan Sychevskyi, Gabe Quintana, Tom Boccinfuso, Josh Barber, Max Saglimbeni, Rick Pelletier, Matthew Felice, Allie Langohr, Bhavani Elangovan, and Michael Mottola) for the fantastic work on rentsync.com, which was built on our next-gen CMS framework. You guys rock!