One Mozilla story, we’ve come a long way

November 3, 2009 § 8 Comments

One of my obsessions has been telling the Mozilla story better. The most important elements of this story centre around topics like: ‘why we exist’ and ‘what we’re building’. Yet, we sometimes get caught up in ‘how we’re structured’ — which tends to confuse more than clarify.

We’ve come a long way on this front: we’re getting better at telling the world a simpler, more unified story about Mozilla. All around I hear people talking confidently about ‘Mozilla’ — the project and the community with a mission to create a better internet. And I see fewer public references to all the different pieces that make up Mozilla. This is important.

One core element of this is simply leading with the word ‘Mozilla’ rather than focusing on structure. It’s worth pausing to call out a few specific examples. You might not even have noticed them.

1. The marketing team came up with new ‘About Mozilla’ boilerplate text for the Firefox 3.5 launch:

Mozilla is a global community of people creating a better Internet. We build public benefit into the Internet by creating free, open source products and technologies that improve the online experience for people everywhere. We work in the open under the umbrella of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. Everything we create is a public asset available for others to use, adapt and improve.

This tells the big picture Mozilla and mission story well, and is a useful tool for any org, team or community within Mozilla. It doesn’t focus on which entity is doing the talking, which the old one did.

2. We’re now using the same business card logo and design across all parts of Mozilla. This may seem small — but it’s critical to remember that all of our small decisions add up to tell a bigger story. They’re important.

3. The main page of no longer highlights Mozilla Corporation. It simply talks about our products (the main idea) and about ‘Mozilla’.

4. has was relaunched earlier this year with an even stronger focus on our mission and our community, and a clear framing of how our products fit into bigger commitment to building a better internet.

The bottom line in all of these examples: we should use a single, unified Mozilla brand across all of our public communication. While Mozilla is diverse and made up of many pieces, there is still one core story to tell about who we are and what our mission is.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that Mozilla is made up of distinct legal organizations performing distinct functions. This is part of who we are and it’s something we’re transparent about. We obviously need to spell out full organization names like Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation when talking about this aspect of who we are. It’s also necessary for certain functions tied to one org, like taking donations. But we shouldn’t tie communication about our mission and what we do to names that essentially describe our structure. If people want to understand this aspect of Mozilla, the best place to point them is the recently updated ‘organizations’ page on

One last point: it’s amazing to see so much community creativity offered up to shape and improve how Mozilla’s story gets told. Any time I’ve asked for ideas on this topic, I’ve been deluged in the best possible way. I am truly grateful and astounded. David Boswell has offered to help to develop things like a style guide, slide templates and a sponsorship kit as a way to keep the ball rolling on some of the threads above. He’s also started a ‘list of one mozilla tweaks’. There is an open invitation for you to get involved. We need help make these things happen.

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