Nextdoor says hello to new brand identity

Ahead of its one year Canadian anniversary, the neighbourhood-focused social network uses a "wave" to exemplify its mission.

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Hyperlocal social platform Nextdoor is adopting a friendlier, “neighbourly” global brand identity as its one-year anniversary in Canada looms.

Nextdoor is incorporating a lighter colour scheme, a subtle wave into its now-lowercase “n” and has dispensed with the green block miniature house, which it felt was more in line with the look of a not-for-profit.

nextdoor-logo1The social networking platform is based around neighbourhoods, giving residents a place to report on area news and events, have discussions about their community and get recommendations for local service providers. It came to Canada last fall and currently boasts a database of some quarter million neighbourhoods spanning 11 countries.

Nextdoor’s head of marketing Maryam Banikarim is the former CMO for Hyatt Hotels, joined the platform in February, just as the pandemic took hold. She notes, however, that this brand face-lift had been well in the works prior to her arrival, as the look had not evolved since it was launched in San Francisco in 2008.

The brand’s purpose, Banikarim says, is around cultivating a kinder world and building a community of experiences. As it looked at the opportunity to restate those ambitions, Nextdoor focused on aspirational keywords such as warmth, vibrancy, realism, relevancy and inclusiveness as guiding principles.

The reason the brand “fell in love” with the new word mark, Banikarim says, is because it is behavioural – a curl up on the “n” resembles a wave, an action central to a video promoting the new branding – and being a “neighbour is about behaviour.”

“When you have a pandemic…the people you end up relying on are those who are closest to you,” she adds, noting that site usage has been up 80% since the pandemic began. The local community support messaging is reinforced through social, as the brand is upbeat, focusing on kindness, testimonials and “local heroes” – Banikarim says one of Nextdoor’s key distinctions is being a community-driven platform, rather than “freedom of speech” platform for opinions, as Twitter and Facebook can be.

The site does, however, face some of the same issues as other social networks. Namely, it has come under fire for not-so-neighbourly behaviour by some of its user base, including grousing about things like the presence and behaviour of local homeless populations and general NIMBYism. Nextdoor does its part to curb this, Banikarim says, by keyword-flagging surly commenters with a “kindness reminder,” a pop-up to urge users to reconsider their potentially inflammatory language.

What Nextdoor tries to focus on is drawing in users who believe in its friendly mission to connect neighbours. Banikarim cites a Markham, Ontario user was profiled on Breakfast Television, who used Nextdoor to connect his two elderly neighbours that lived on either side, helping to procure groceries for them through community efforts.

In Canada, the platform celebrates its first anniversary on Sept. 23, and Banikarim claims there is data to back up her statement that Canadians are friendlier by nature. For example, the number of people who “thank” a neighbour for commenting on the site is disproportionately higher in Canada than the other 10 countries it operates in.

“Our marketing team in Canada does a good job understanding local nuances,” she says of the team, which is led by Twitter Canada’s former head of partnerships Christopher Doyle. It will be developing content, such as blogs touting the “global power of local,” tailored to the Canadian market around the company’s anniversary.