Vancouver-founded Vision Critical sheds name, rebrands as Alida

New logo for Alida, which went by the name Vision Critical since its founding in Vancouver in 2000. The company is now headquartered in Toronto. | submitted

What happened: Vision Critical gets a new name following 10-month-long rebranding process

Why it matters: The name-change comes after the Vancouver-founded company shifted its HQ to Toronto last year

It’s safe to say executives and the board at Vision Critical Communications Inc. have a new vision in mind for the company’s brand.

The Vancouver-founded firm is shedding its 20-year-old name and taking on the moniker Alida, effective September 23.

The company, which specializes in collecting and analyzing customer experience data, moved its headquarters from the West Coast to Ontario in December 2019 following the hiring of a new CEO and a new president of products, both of whom hail from Toronto.

While the rebranding might appear as if the company is shaking off the remaining vestiges of its B.C. heritage, CEO Ross Wainwright does not believe that to be the case.

“We kind of see Vancouver and Toronto being bookends. We really have a dual HQ strategy,” he told BIV, adding the company will continue to do a significant amount of hiring in its Vancouver office.

The company was founded in Vancouver in 2000 by pollster Angus Reid and son Andrew Reid.

Angus Reid stepped down as Vision Critical’s executive chairman in 2014 following disputes with the board, and eventually sold his remaining stake in the company for $44 million in 2017.

Andrew Reid had served as CEO until 2012, when he took on the role of chief product officer and was replaced by then-COO Scott Miller.

Reid the elder went on to launch the Angus Reid Institute in 2014, while Reid the younger now serves as CEO of Vancouver-based Rival Technologies Inc., which uses chat, voice and video tools on mobile devices to gain insights into consumer behaviour.

“We wanted a more modern identity. We want to drive market differentiation. We want companies to look at our business in a different way. And we felt that it was a good time,” Wainwright said.

He began thinking about rebranding the company during his first week on the job back in December 2019.

The CEO said he loved the name “right out of the gate” when it was presented to him by the Toronto firm tapped to lead the rebranding process.

The Alida logo is stylized with the “A” appearing as a delta sign, while the new colours feature gold contrasting with black.

“When we look at all the different companies in the customer experience management space, it's kind of a sea of sameness, nothing really stands out, nothing's differentiated. And we immediately felt Alida really stood out,” Wainwright said.

The corporate name Vision Critical Communications Inc. will remain for the time being as the company does not wish to interrupt deal cycles coming in at the end of the next fiscal quarter.

And Wainwright said he’s not concerned about the name-change creating any brand confusion in the short term.

“I talked to some other CEOs that have gone through a rebranding. And for companies that have a strong heritage, good relationships, they actually don't really miss a beat,” he said.

Alida chief strategy officer Nicole Kealey said the Vision Critical brand “in the past has been confusing to other folks.”

“We want to make sure that our sales team is swept off their feet with inbound demand, we want to be incredibly attractive to young generations of talent who are seeking us out. And we really want to be focused on leapfrogging our competition in the CXM [customer experience management] category with a focus on innovation,” she said.

“Alida has Latin origins, which means verity, truth, reality and actuality, which is the ultimate goal for brands tapping into their real source of truth, but their customers.”

Meanwhile, Wainwright said he’s proud of how his company has quickly adjusted from a primarily office culture to one that’s been working remotely amid the pandemic.

In July, Vancouver-based venture capital firm Vistara Capital Partners announced it was investing US$20 million ($26.6 million) in the company to help accelerate its growth plans.

“We doubled down on innovations where companies were pulling back on their investment,” Wainwright said, adding he’s targeting a return to company offices in January 2021, depending on guidance from the jurisdictions in which the offices are based.