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Blackbird takes off: Tech company LeetGeek is flying high with a new brand name

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Ben Corbett and Richard Stafford, Blackbird (Photo: Ryan Schembri)

Fast moving, award winning South Australian based tech company LeetGeek recently announced its new brand identity: Blackbird.

Founder and managing director Richard Stafford, 29, and Director Ben Corbett, 35, have guided the fast-moving company to step out of ‘the IT’ norm and re-emerge as an organisation focused on providing tech solutions to some of the most prestigious organisations in SA.

“Blackbird is about helping consumers and corporations realise their potential, with tech solutions as the tools to enable that transformation. We deliver a confidence to our customers that allows them to strive forward in their endeavours and do what they do best,” says Director Ben Corbett.

In 2012 the young entrepreneurs were number one in CRN’s Fast 50 and were BDO Fast Movers winners in 2011 and finalists in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Now with an annual turnover of $7 million, the company has significantly grown since its inception in 2007, when it initially commenced trading as a clothing company.

What exactly does Blackbird do?

Ben states that to date, the company’s focus has been on service to customers and developing the right company culture. Growth was a side effect, with the biggest percentage increase being in 2012 in the education space.

“It was Apple who encouraged us to move into the education space because of the success we had had in the corporate market. This gave us some of the biggest growth in the history of the company, but at a cost of being labeled as the ‘Mac Guys’ in the market, even though the Apple engineering accounts for less than a third of our professional services work. This rebrand gives us the opportunity to set the record straight on our true capabilities.”

Blackbird provides strategic consulting and delivers both on premise and cloud technology solutions determined by a client’s specific requirements and desired outcomes. Their services range from consultancy, engineering, helpdesk, private cloud, telephony, bespoke Internet connectivity.

They also have excellent relationships with some of the biggest vendors in the world including Aerohive, Apple, Citrix, EMC, Microsoft, VMware and Veeam with the company describing itself as “solution-agnostic”. Current clients include The Maras Group, Prince Alfred College, Haircare Australia, Martins Brand House and Guidera O’Connor.

Who are the people behind LeetGeek?

The company formerly known as LeetGeek was originally founded in 2007 by Richard Stafford (managing director) whilst he was working at the creative agency Martins. He formed the company with the idea of selling T-shirts with Geek slogans. He even went so far as getting a trademark for the original logo in the clothing category!

The idea never really took off and it wasn’t until the following year when Richard left Martins to become a sole trader in the field of IT, that he starting using the LeetGeek company for invoicing customers.

Ben Corbett (director) moved to Adelaide from the UK in October 2009, having originally worked as an IT manager in a Visual Effects studio in London, and met Richard in December.

Ben was struggling to find the type of job that he was after in Adelaide, so he decided to grab any job while he worked out how to start his own company. On meeting Richard, it became very clear that both shared very similar passions around people and culture, both based on previous places of employment.

Ben figured that they would be better working together rather than against each other and suggested that they become partners. A few long meetings later and Richard accepted that proposal.

What inspired Richard to start LeetGeek? Why rebrand to Blackbird?

Richard originally started LeetGeek after gaining experience as both an engineer in an IT services company and also as an IT manager in receipt of IT services. He felt that there was a great opportunity to do things better and he also took a focus on integrating Mac and PC systems, having gained much experience in this field at Martins.

“One of the reasons for the rebrand was that due to a large amount of integration work that we had undertaken, we became known as ‘the Mac guys’ even though Apple engineering barely made up a third of our professional services,” Ben told Anthill.

“The problem is that we may have been working on a large amount of non-Apple infrastructure behind the scenes but the users themselves used Apple client devices; they therefore associated the work that we did with the devices that they used (as it all falls under the umbrella of IT).

“Deciding to change the name was the easy part; but deciding on a new name required considerable more work and we called in the experts. I met Tom Williamson from KWP whilst on a charity trip in Uganda and after going through our challenge and talking about thinking of a new name, we engaged with KWP to assist us on my return.

“The first part of the process was really deconstructing what we are all about; why Richard and I get up in the morning to run this business. I reckon someone quipped, ‘because we like fixing things’ and every one joked but on reflection we realised that actually that is not what excites us at all. On further assessment we concluded that it was not getting the technology working that we cared about but helping people realise their potential through use of technology.

“Whilst the difference is relatively subtle we all agreed that this was what we were passionate about. So in thinking of a new brand we started putting down associative words. Potential. Soaring. Empower. Challenger. These started coming out and when we thought about what sort of space this brand would occupy it was very clear that in an abstract sense, it was clear that we wanted to be up high, to be flying.

“When we started to compare brands that worked in a similar fashion of realising potential we reflected on Nike; both from a narrative, style and messaging. We decided to take pointers from this brand; a sharp simple mono chromatic logo that could be easily applied in many situations, bold typography and application. When some names started being thrown around in discussion, someone said Blackbird and that was clearly the one.”

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