Shakopee-based Entrust rebrands to emphasize its growing data security business

Shakopee-based Entrust rebrands to emphasize its growing data security business

The Entrust name is in the background of most of our daily lives.

We don’t see it, but the company ensures that a variety of digital transactions are done safely and securely.

Shakopee-based Entrust Datacard on Monday dropped Datacard in a rebranding to emphasize its digital security business.

A new tagline — “Securing a world in motion” — sums it up.

First a little history. Datacard was founded in 1969 by Willis Drake, an early employee of pioneering computer technology companies in Minnesota and a founder of Control Data Corp.

Datacard Corp. got its start by helping financial and retail companies quickly produce credit cards for customers. It added security products such as employee identification, passports and other secure personalized identification.

Datacard was publicly traded awhile before it was acquired in 1987 by the family investment office of Germany’s Quandt family, which also owns a big stake in German automaker BMW.

The family investment office has been a patient long-term owner and investor in Datacard. Management has not had to worry about the quarter to quarter financial pressure that public companies deal with or a revolving door of private equity owners.

“It gives us the latitude to invest long-term, make investments to grow the business, and then see them all the way through,” said Todd Wilkinson, who has been president and chief executive of the company since 2008. “A lot of the transformation in the company over the last 10 years plus has really come in large part because of that shareholder model.”

At that time Datacard, which largely relied on physical assets like card printing and issuance machines, began to develop more software and digital products through research and development and acquisitions.

Datacard in 2013 acquired Entrust, a provider of digital data security services tied to identity protection. In 2014, the company changed its name to Entrust Datacard.

As Entrust Datacard, company officials believed people either recognized one name or the other not that the two businesses were closely intertwined.

The idea for a rebrand had been brewing for awhile as the company drove further along the digital security path. But the hard work toward a brand relaunch started 18 months ago.

“We are a brand that consumers generally don’t know, but we are in their life whether they know it or not,” said Chief Marketing Officer Karen Kaukol, who led the rebranding effort. “How do we start to marry that technology story with that very real human impact we have on day-to-day life? That’s what we set out to do with the rebrand.”

The team sought professional advice on a new name but were told they already had one they should keep.

“Entrust is your brand promise in a word,” branding experts told Kaukol, she said. “Make it bigger, make it better, make it mean more.”

The rebrand launch hit a roadblock with the coronavirus pandemic. It was originally scheduled to launch in April.

Ultimately, the rebrand was about clear communication of the company’s products and services, which only grew in importance during the pandemic.

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation trends from telecommuting to e-commerce, stressing corporate IT security teams. Entrust’s suite of products helps solve security problems from a remote work team or computer purchases.

During the rebranding delay, some marketing plans were canceled. For example, the company originally planned to have some airport advertising for traveling IT executives and some in-person events for employees, customers and partners had to be moved to virtual formats.

“I’m really proud of our team in reimagining what a launch could look like,” Kaukol said. “We just had to recalibrate some of the more celebratory aspects of the launch.”

Entrust is a global company, but its largest location is its Minnesota headquarters where 850 of its more than 2,500 employees work. It has about $800 million in annual revenue.

The company hopes the brand relaunch lets people know Entrust’s full portfolio of services.

“It is really about us explaining our unique role in delivering trust to our clients in terms of protecting identity, payments and data,” Kaukol said.

The messaging is aimed at CEOs and chief information officers who are investing big dollars in their companies’ digital transformations. But it also is a signal to its own employees about Entrust’s focus going forward.

“We help people to move securely, we help your data move securely, we help payments move securely, we help you personally as you cross borders and travel to move securely,” Wilkinson said.

He added the company plans to be “an even more significant, an even more sizable growth technology company here in the Twin Cities.”

“You are going to hear more from us,” he said.

 

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