Dashlane Brand Refinements | Software Branding

Subjective opinions about a multimillion dollar brand's advertising and positioning.

February 5, 2021

This is part of a 5-piece case study on Dashlane. Be sure to check out the previous pieces for more insight.

Part I: Positioning

Part II: Messaging

Part III: Visual Identity

Part IV: User Experience

In my last article about Dashlane, I foreshadowed what could be done better about the brand experience. Keep in mind, I love this product and I use it daily. It has greatly impacted my life and I hope other people will use it so they can live a simpler, safer life online. These suggestions serve as takeaways for other software companies working through building a brand and (if anyone from Dashlane ever reads this, it'll hopefully inspire them too).

There is only one critique that seems to be present in Dashlane's branding efforts: their advertising, specifically the integration of humor.

Humor is awesome and every brand can flex different emotions when trying to resonate with an audience. The key is to make sure it all points to the same emotion at the core. For Dashlane, those core emotions appear to be premium experience, sophistication, expensive, and bordering on elite.

Check out this ad they released for the Super Bowl in 2020:

The ad is evocative, however the humor conveyed seems a bit more childish and playful than Dashlane's other experiences. Dashlane's website is a straightforward, easy to understand information piece that demonstrates the reasons why this brand charges a premium price.

It's 100% possible to be humorous and expensive, but it's a bit more complex that zealous acting and funky plot scenarios.

What's the solution? I hate to bring them up as an example, because they're used so frequently, but Apple's Mac vs PC campaign is a flawless example of how to execute a humorous, yet premium ad. The refined structure of the ads gave them an elevated feel and the actors appear authentic. Not a whole lot of showmanship, but still entertaining.

If this is something your brand struggles with try this example: find a TV character, movie star, or otherwise well-known figure and mirror the emotion they bring to the table. Guaranteed they have specific phraseology, joke patterns, etc, that you can emulate.

Remember, as long as the marketing efforts point to the same place, you are on the right track to building a brand. Don't deviate from your compass.

More you say?


If you're going to make a better brand, you must say goodbye to a piece of yourself.


When training for an athletic event, we subject ourselves to pain in hopes of getting better. We strain our muscles to the point that cells begin to breakdown. Another way of thinking about this, is that a they die. However a new, stronger cell or group of cells takes its place.

Without the initial expiration of the first cell, the new ones can't exist.

The same goes for your brand. If you are going to change the way people feel about you, or at the very least continue to build and improve upon it, you must say goodbye to the parts that have grown weary.

Some examples of what this would look like:

Cutting services or offerings that don't align with your positioning.

Changing your name to better reflect your brand's character.

Refining the culture of your company to foster the brand.

Creating a unique identity that is totally different from the previous one.

Letting go of toxic people who don't align with your values.

Having the courage to throw it all away in the hopes of creating something greater.

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Time Categories

A small change in my calendar settings that led to big insights.


One of my closest friends lives in London, but he's in San Diego now for his sister's wedding. It was a pleasant surprise. I hit him up and he told me he'd only be in town until tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow evening!? Dang, that's not a lot of time to get together.

I checked my calendar and saw a bunch of scheduled items. All of them are black, so there's no distinction between them. How could I have scheduled so much stuff on one day?

Cue color coding. I created some alternative colors to use to showcase different meeting types I have. Red for in-person and green for digital meetings.
Sure enough, I have three red items today. That's a lot of meetings in a very short amount a time. Don't get me wrong, I love people (a lot more than most designers, I'd think), but this showed me that I'm spreading myself thin for time. This burns the most when I don't have flexibility to see friends from out of town because of it. Something had to change.

So I set a rule: if I see two red/green slots in one day, that's it. No more. A red flag, if you will.

Color-code your calendar.

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