Monkeying with Success: SurveyMonkey’s Brand Shift


The Gist

  • Strategy shift. SurveyMonkey’s rebranding strategy aimed at the enterprise market.
  • Brand balance. SurveyMonkey leveraged both “fun” and serious aspects.
  • Lessons learned. The rebrand highlights key considerations for business strategy.

Brand. It’s an elusive thing. But you’ll know you’re doing it right when it performs at the critical moment when buyers are shortlisting vendors. 

The goal? To be instantly memorable within your category when decision makers are preparing to buy.

It’s a position SurveyMonkey has enjoyed for many years. I say “online surveys” … you think what? Alongside SurveyMonkey, Google Forms might be on your list, you may know another vendor such as Typeform, and probably very little else.

SurveyMonkey has achieved what others are working hard to attain: the lofty status of brand category leader. One where its competitors can only hope to place silver or bronze.

SurveyMonkey’s Fleeting Rebranding Strategy: A Shift to Momentive and Back

Which could be why, a 2021 rebrand to Momentive — the name of its parent company — turned out to be somewhat fleeting. Just two years later, in June 2023, the SurveyMonkey brand was back.

A 2021 Forbes interview with SurveyMonkey then-CMO Leela Srinivasan shed some light on what fueled the rebranding strategy — in short, a concerted effort to chase the enterprise market with a wider range of business software than just surveys.

Using its own software to survey more than 21,000 people in seven countries, the company’s personality was found to be: “simple,” “helpful” and “fun.” But the company told Forbes that “fun” wasn’t helping with the enterprise category it was trying to reach.

While the brand’s popularity was on-par with Google and Salesforce, it failed to align with enterprise software. So the SurveyMonkey name was kept for the self-serve business but Momentive would become the enterprise brand.

Related Article: Why ‘X’? What Lessons Does Twitter Rebranding Hold for Marketers?

Leveraging Brand Strength: The Possible Challenges for SurveyMonkey

We can all grasp the rationale. But when moving into a new market or segment, a business with such a powerful brand should be able to leverage its strengths to make it easier to succeed. The ability to expand into new markets more easily is one of the classic arguments for branding after all.

The problem comes when your brand is a hindrance, when it becomes something you have to overcome. We could assume that, when push came to shove, SurveyMonkey felt the strength of the existing brand to small business customers was an unassailable obstacle in making the move into the enterprise. 

This could have been because all the positive brand strengths for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) and consumers tarnished it as unsophisticated. And that would make it difficult to offer an enterprise solution at, say, 10 times the price. Here, the SurveyMonkey name may have simply been deemed too much of a liability.


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