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Why We Love Startups

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On June 13th 2014, I got a call from a guy in Birmingham who had a novel business concept, and he wanted to meet to discuss naming and branding.

Now, our agency has the word “branding” in its name, so we get calls like this all the time, but little did we know that this particular call was the beginning of a very exciting time for us and our company.

We had not heard of Bill Smith when we first sat down with him at our office even though he had been involved with a couple of very successful businesses. He explained the core insight that would fuel this next business concept (paraphrased): When people want to buy something, they want it right now, and they want it delivered to their door. Plenty of other companies were and still are trying to crack the code of same-day delivery, but there was something about this guy.

Logistically, the business would utilize the in-store pickup feature that most big box retailers such as Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Apple have. Once an online purchase is made, one of a network of independent contractors or “shoppers” would pick up the item and deliver it to the customer’s door.

Bill told us that he had recently purchased a domain name, but he wasn’t quite sure about the name. The domain was shipt.com and although it was nice and short (only five characters long), we weren’t sure about the name either. Just a year earlier, Kmart had run a wildly popular campaign featuring shoppers saying, “I just shipped my drawers” and “I just shipped my bed.”

We all agreed that we would include naming in the scope to see if we could find a name that would beat Shipt.

We created a list of 800+ possible names and presented 11 options complete with rationales, pros and cons — this was more names than we had ever included in a single presentation.

The final selection was GoGetter (gogetter.com). Everybody was excited about the name. It had positive attributes and the domain was attainable through the domain reseller market, so we began the process of making the purchase through our go-to domain escrow service, Sedo.com. With that sorted out, we dived right into working on logos for GoGetter.

Pictured left to right: Paul Crawford, Bill Smith, Carlee Sanford, Natalie Asman, and Bill’s father

Weeks went by and the seller never responded. After exhausting every way we could think to make it happen, it was clear to everyone that we had to move forward.

With the benefit of perspective, Shipt was always the best name. It’s difficult to think of it being anything else.

Shipt opened up entirely new visual possibilities for the logo and the branding. Right away, it made me begin thinking about spaceships and flying saucers —how they beam things up and down and travel at light speed. The first spaceship logo I sketched was awful, but eventually I landed on one that had the right feel to it. I tried the mark in red, but green just felt right because aliens are green.

Shipt launched in November of 2014. By December, the company nearly went under.

It was then that Bill decided to pivot to grocery delivery and created a solid proof of concept. In the months that followed, Shipt caught the eye of Target which acquired the company for $550 million in December of 2017. Shipt’s decision to keep and expand its headquarters in Birmingham is a source of pride for everyone who lives here.

 



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