Why Companies are Making the Vanilla Switch

Posted by Sarah Robinson-Yu on Feb 19, 2019 10:02:50 AM
Find me on:

4 minute read

Forum Software

You scream, I scream, we all scream for Vanilla ice cream!

Everyone loves a good ol’ fashioned scoop of vanilla. The feeling of carefully selecting any and all toppings and crafting the perfect masterpiece! It’s nothing more or less than a true expression of yourself...well...until you guzzle it down!

Vanilla is for everyone, even all you vegans out there, like me. Don’t worry my friends, Vanilla ice cream is also available as a non-dairy option.

And to be clear, when I say “ice cream,” what I mean to say is “community forum.” Why? Because we all want a Vanilla Community Forum; some of us just don’t know it yet.

Now, there will be two groups of you reading this.

The first group of you will be happily enjoying your ice cream, all the while saying, “[we] switched providers and reduced costs; we increased our return on investment without negatively impacting anyone in our community by the change!” (Well, actually that was Acer specifically, when they made the Vanilla switch.)

The other group of you will be looking at all these delicious toppings and saying, “I don’t have a Vanilla Forum, please tell me more about it and how I can get one!”

Well, alright! I’ll oblige with your request for more information, since you asked so nicely.

Why Vanilla?

At Vanilla, we don’t mess around; we know that a one-size-fits-all mentality doesn’t work for a community that aims to enable engagement and brand loyalty. No two communities are the same, so why should your forum be?

Our goal is to give you a solid foundation and provide you with the tools, expertise and knowledge to easily mould and shape your community forum to fit your members’ expectations and your brand identity.

This leads to the first major reason why companies are making the Vanilla switch.

Customizable forum software


How your community looks is important because, let’s face it, people do judge a book by its cover. That’s why at Vanilla, we offer greater customization than any other hosted community platform. We put you in the driver's seat and give you full control over everything.

Folks, I’m talking real customization. Vanilla isn’t a pick a template and that’s all you get type of platform; the kind where “customization” is selecting a few different colours and maybe choosing a cool icon from a selection of 10 options.

That’s not customization. What other platforms offer is essentially the equivalent of letting you select “the fruit of your choice” from a “fruit only menu.”

Vanilla offers a rich theming platform that allows you to seamlessly blend your community look and feel with the rest of your website or make a beautiful and unique stand-alone community. If your brand is important to your web presence (and it should be) then you need this level of customization.

Now, I know that some of you might not know what to do with all these possibilities; I mean, it can be overwhelming! Where to even begin? Well, this actually brings me to our secret ingredient: our Success Team.


The SuccessTeam makes Vanilla one of a kind. This team is dedicated to ensuring your success in every way and any way you’d like your forum to go! From on boarding, to migrating, from troubleshooting to helping make your custom vision come true - every win for you is a win for us.

Let me touch on this point of migration though, because I know that some of you have a fairly large community. Your community might even be so well established and have so much data that you think making a Vanilla switch just isn’t possible.

Well, it’s actually a lot more easy than you’d think.

Let me tell you a story about our friend, Lulu Press, an online self-publishing platform, boasting over 2 million publications.

A Sweet Story

You see, Lulu once had a delicious “caramel sundae” community platform. While caramel wasn’t their favorite topping, it got the job done - but then their provider started throwing on some bananas and peanuts (aka feature creep). Since Lulu wasn’t able to customize themselves, they couldn’t remove these new toppings. The kicker - Lulu was allergic to both bananas and peanuts!

Lulu’s community was huge, made up of over 1.5 million members. So when they knew they needed to make a switch, it certainly wasn’t a decision they could take lightly. It took them three years of research and discussions to find the best option since they wouldn’t settle for anything but the best: they made the Vanilla switch.

The migration of 1.5 million members, hundreds of thousands of discussions, comments and content was a piece of ice cream cake for the expert migration team at Vanilla. Not only was all data delivered safely and in tact, but there was no service interruption either.

Even Sweeter Results

Companies who have made the Vanilla switch are seeing a huge return on investment (ROI) - but let’s go back to our friends at Lulu.

After they made the Vanilla switch, they knew to expect low costs and a high-functioning and powerful forum, but they also saw an incredible reaction from their community members.

Members were actually spending more time in the community and more users were able to find their forum because it was more SEO friendly. Ultimately, they were able to deliver the type of easy navigation and access to information that their community wanted.

The Vanilla Switch

If you’re thinking that it’s about time for you to make the Vanilla switch, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our Vanilla recipe book to find out more about how beneficial and easy it really is.

It’s as easy as One, Two, Switch.

Topics: Migration

Related posts

Subscribe to the Community Corner Newsletter and get expert insight and analysis on how to get the most out of your online community every Friday.

Search this blog

Recent Posts

community playbook

Have an Article for Vanilla's Blog?

Send us an email to pr@vanillaforums.com with your topic idea and we'll circle back with our publishing guidelines.