Stepstone becomes Lumesse – Focus on People not Software

Today Stepstone Solutions, one of the largest providers of talent management software solutions, changed their company name to Lumesse. While everyone has their own opinions of naming and branding strategies, I personally believe that this is a very valuable move.

Stepstone, a company with more than 1,700 licensed customers, is a large global software company. The company spun off from Stepstone ASA (one of Europe’s largest job board networks) last year, and then acquired the recruiting software firm Mr Ted.  Today the company is one of the most globalized of all talent management software companies and continues to grow in Europe, the US, and the far east.

What’s in a name?  A lot.  In this case, the company is clearly repositioning itself as a company which “helps people” and “inspires talent” – not “sells software.”  If we look at the positioning of other major players in the market, each major company is starting to stake out a place.  SuccessFactors is focusing on “business execution,” driving a message that talent management and collaboration software drives alignment and execution.  Taleo is focusing on “talent intelligence,” driving a message that talent management software gives HR and business leaders the information to make better decisions.  Kenexa talks about “HR Success Multiplied,” focusing heavily on enabling the HR team. Saba talks about “people performance” and Cornerstone talks about “empowering people” – both using the word “people” to personalize their message and appeal to the softer side of HR and training buyers (but in a fairly vague way).

So Lumesse, one of the more creative and exciting names to come to this space, arrives with the image of light, sensuality, fun, and collaboration.  I personally think the name takes a company which had a very hard edge (Stepstone actually used to have rocks as its logo) and make it soft and easy to work with.  The name connotes fun, and I believe the company actually is having fun in its rebrand.

Ultimately a brand becomes real through your own experience with its people and its products.  In this case, I think the name is part of the company’s broader strategy to spend more time focusing on helping organizations build teams which are more highly engaged and have more fun.  While this is not always where software companies spend their time (they have to build, sell, market, and support software first), it is a strong move in a new direction – and bodes well for Lumesse’s strategy to accelerate its global growth.