Katana is an ERP software, built in response to absurdly complex solutions, which are out of touch with the needs of a rising segment of small to medium-sized manufacturers.
Globally, manufacturing continues to grow and it remains a critical force in both advanced and developing economies. But the sector has changed, bringing new opportunities and challenges to the process. Saving resources and being sustainable are one of the most prominent keywords in Industry 4.0, yet many manufacturers still rely on spreadsheets or outdated, expensive software. Here’s where Katana comes in. Their flexible, plug-and-play ERP software eliminates worries about internal processes and it is as easy to use as the best-in-class leading software tools, making smart manufacturing accessible for everyone.
Until 2021 Katana had put minimal effort into branding and their simple visual identity back then was enough to only attract micro manufacturers. However, their goal was to now reach bigger companies and for that, it was necessary to have a more thought-out brand and website.
Our main goal was to help Katana’s team with a new brand that reflects their vision and builds a strong identity to keep the company culture alive as they grow at the speed of light. During the rebranding process, we dipped our toes into the idea of a new name but realized during the interviews phase that the name is already perfect with a nod to the craftsmanship and precision of great masters. As Japan is the birthplace of lean manufacturing, the name Katana is a homage to these roots, and the new logo and logomarks bring more of this background story to light. As we moved with small but sure steps towards the clearly identifiable brand identity system, it came vibrantly into life in an array of digital, print, and environmental mediums. The playfulness of the whee character and the familiarness of the new logo got a great response from the internal team, and it all went off to make its mark inside the team.
The branding process started with hands-on workshops to refine the mission and map the target audiences. Katana also interviewed their team and clients to gather some more valuable insight. As the brand is scalable, the team has regular design and copy review meetings to ensure visual consistency and stylistic language. The development process has also been agile and iterative, and the main principles have been scalability and optimization.
The newly refreshed brand provided a great foundation for the website but we can’t forget the role of the new information architecture and content overhaul. The website has over 70 (crazy!) different modules to accommodate their need to build new pages as they go, 5 different hero templates, and 10+ completely unique page templates. We collaborated with animators and focused on movement and micro-interactions and despite all that content, the page speed is over 90 on the desktop.
For Katana, the challenge is to keep up with the fast-moving manufacturing world and keep its SaaS product updated according to its clients’ needs. In a world where many ERP tools look and feel like creations from the early days of the Internet, Katana is not only following the trends but rather creating them in the modern ERP world. Katana reached out to us, looking for a brand and a website update, and as they say – the rest is history.
Katana believes that creating great products and software is exciting and inspiring. With the new look, their brand matches the energy – it reflects through the colors, the logo, the whees, and every marketing material. The brand is as playful and human as the people behind the Katana, bringing a fresh tone to the otherwise very traditional and conservative industry.
Katana’s company continues to evolve rapidly – within and without. Their customer base is expanding as well as their team. Maintaining a strong identity as a large team is vital to keeping the company culture alive and a strong, consistent brand system has a vital part in it. The new brand has strong core elements but is flexible enough for its different target groups and various marketing materials.
After the launch of Katana’s new brand and website, the proportion of SMB (small and medium-sized business) manufacturers, compared to micros, surged by about 20%. Consequently, the share of monthly recurring revenue (MRR) generated from SMBs experienced a corresponding increase. This shift established the SMB segment as Katana’s primary revenue source, aligning perfectly with the intended outcome. From June 2021 to August 2022, an impressive 300% surge in MRR emerged from SMB customers, underscoring the success of Katana’s brand and web in both attracting and retaining these valuable customers.
The newly designed Katana website was strategically constructed to effortlessly expand the distribution of high-quality, consistent brand content. This approach not only facilitated enhanced SEO strategies but also contributed to a remarkable 280% upswing in monthly organic traffic since the launch. Additionally, the website’s optimization led to a notable 200% escalation in the count of top 10 ranking keywords on Google SERP.
Our favorite feedback from Katana’s team was that the Whee was so well received some of them were ready to have it as a tattoo.
We felt like NOPE designers were a part of our team. We could turn to them to ask for an opinion or help with anything. After the project it was like someone was missing from our daily work.Oliver Vesi, Head of Marketing Katana Technologies OÜ