Brand identity matters: How 4 Chicago tech marketers put a face to their companies

by Andreas Rekdal
September 21, 2017

Marketing a tech company is no easy feat. In addition to breaking down complex concepts for non-technical audiences, tech marketers need to highlight the human side of their companies and make them feel approachable. We spoke with marketers at four Chicago tech companies about how they make it happen.


NowSecure is a cybersecurity startup that specializes in mobile technologies. As an increasing number of attackers shift their attention toward mobile, it is more important than ever for the firm to keep its tech on the cutting edge. But for chief marketing officer Brian Reed, working with NowSecure has also been a reminder that the industry is as much about people as about the technology itself.

How would you describe NowSecure's brand identity and voice?

NowSecure is a trusted advisor in mobile security — like a wise, well-informed friend. Our founder literally wrote the book on mobile security and forensic analysis and has brought together the smartest minds in mobile app security testing and protection. With nearly every human on the planet using mobile devices and apps, mobile has become a top target for attackers. Because mobile moves fast and mobile security threats shift rapidly, the world’s largest brands and businesses turn to NowSecure software, services and research to keep them safe.

What's your favorite thing about it?

The brand fuses wickedly smart people from all around the globe with advanced technology to protect the world. Our unrivaled threat research, software engineering and penetration testing teams are infinitely curious and love applying the attacker’s perspective to push the limits of mobile devices and apps. Their mission is to protect the planet from the bad stuff on mobile, so they seek out any and all mobile vulnerabilities and exploits. Then, they educate people about the latest mobile threats by publishing research, speaking at events, building open-source projects, expanding our testing tools and services, and working with organizations to address them.

How has it shaped how you think as a marketer?

NowSecure shapes two areas of my thinking as a marketer and product guru of more than 26 years. First, working with brilliant people, amazing technology and raving-fan customers reiterates that the technology industry is about people — not just tech. Our brand identity has evolved to include people and their stories in image and video. Second, it’s about “the need for speed.” Mobile evolves at an amazing pace — new innovations, threats and customer needs arise every day. Our brand identity reinforces speed and as the speediest mobile appsec company on the planet, we help customers securely navigate mobile faster.


Enfusion makes cloud-based software used by the investment management industry to manage orders, operations, risk and reporting. To marketing manager Alicia Verason, the opportunity to get creative on behalf of an established brand in a niche market is one of the biggest perks of the job.

How would you describe Enfusion's brand identity and voice?

One word — entrepreneurial. Enfusion’s founding partners still run the company and their entrepreneurial attitude flows across the organization. All employees are given lots of responsibility and strong performance is rewarded, regardless of tenure. The spirit of entrepreneurship pushes us to continuously innovate and provide the best products for our clients.

What's your favorite thing about it?

Enfusion is a rapidly growing firm, with an established reputation in a niche market. I’ve enjoyed the creativity that goes into expanding our reach.

How has Enfusion’s brand identity shaped how you think as a marketer?

My time at Enfusion has taught me to take a holistic approach to marketing and focus on everything the company has to offer: company culture, employees, products and so on.


Online consignment shop provides fashionistas with near-endless virtual aisles of gently used items. For chief marketing officer Rich Lesperance, the best part of the job is the chance to do right by the environment while connecting with a network of fellow thrifters.

How would you describe's brand identity and voice?'s community shares three values. Discovery: we live for the thrill of finding something unique. Thriftiness: we believe that every dollar counts, and buying gently pre-owned items can add up to big savings in the long run. Re-use: we care about finding good homes for things and keeping them out of landfills.

What's your favorite thing about it?

The best thing is that we are helping the environment and making the world a better place. It sounds corny, but it means a lot to our customers and our employees, and it brings us together as a community of thrifters.

How has Swap’s brand identity shaped how you think as a marketer?

The best marketing comes not from companies, but from customers. In the early days of social media, there was this realization that your brand isn't owned by you, and that your role is to facilitate conversations. Now that has extended well beyond social media to everything we do as marketers. Every email, every commercial, every promotion is geared towards inspiring our passionate customers to share our brand.


Narrative Science makes natural language generation software that translates data sets into plain-English narratives. To VP of marketing Katy De Leon, the company’s vision of more streamlined collaboration between people and machines speaks of an innovative, more exciting future.

How would you describe your company's brand identity and voice?

Our brand identity and voice reflect our inherent attributes and personality traits through everything we do and the everyday actions of our people. Our brand speaks to the humanity of our technology, and the people, potential and future it empowers. It also demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between humans and machines and how our customers are reaping the benefits of this partnership within their businesses. Whether we’re talking about our solutions or highlighting a customer’s success, we want to tell rich stories that engage audiences with insight, meaning and relevance — just as our own products do.

What's your favorite thing about it?

Our tagline: “How the future gets written.” It tells a rich, powerful and layered story about Narrative Science and our platform, Quill. It highlights Quill’s literal function — writing stories from data — while also communicating on a more metaphorical level how we ultimately help create the business stories of the future by empowering people. It captures our unique value and personality while being both aspirational and memorable. It speaks to our people, our partners and our customers, and inspires a vision for the future that’s exciting, innovative and full of possibility.

How has it shaped how you think as a marketer?

For me, the evolution of our brand has solidified the importance of letting it organically come to life with input from many different constituents. It cannot be a “top-down” exercise. Our employees, customers, prospective customers, partners — a mix of people in different roles and industries with varying levels of exposure to Narrative Science — have shaped who we are today and what our brand represents. It is bigger than any single one of us. It’s important that our employees have a voice and feel ownership of who we are and what we stand for.


Images via featured companies.

Does your startup have news to share? Send us a tip or tweet us @BuiltInChicago

Chicago startup guides

Best Companies to Work for in Chicago
Inside the Best Software Engineer Jobs in Chicago
Tour the Coolest Offices in Chicago Tech
Inside the Best Sales Jobs in Chicago
Your Guide to the Best Perks at Chicago Tech Companies
Your Guide to Healthtech in Chicago
Inside the Best Data Science & Data Analyst Jobs in Chicago
Inside the Best Marketing Jobs in Chicago