Though we live and breathe design and communication every day, few experiences have reminded us of the true essentials of branding more than our recent effort to rebrand ourselves.
No, it wasn’t easy. And yes, it was absolutely necessary. "Our industry has been moving at such a rapid pace," says Chief Marketing Officer David Haut, "that we reached a point where our brand story and images – even our descriptions of basic services – didn't fully reflect the way our company had evolved."
Their Perception. Your Positioning.
Where to begin? With customer perception, of course. "So many companies get caught in the trap of defining themselves by talking only among themselves – when the opinions that really matter are outside their doors. We conducted research among our clients, colleagues and vendors, and instantly discovered a range of thoughts and opinions that helped to differentiate us within our industry. We trusted these insights because they came from ‘the horse’s mouth’ – exactly the types of people we want our brand to speak to."
In the words of Agency Founder and President Jason Cohen: "Authenticity is crucial to any brand or rebrand positioning, and that goes for us as well. You must be true to who you are, rather than trying to be all things to all people. As companies evolve and grow, it’s important to establish a common vision around what is truthful and real, right now. Customer perceptions can help you ‘take the temperature’ of your established business philosophies – and revise them to suit both your own evolution and your future potential."
Defining the Difference
For David Haut, "one of the most critical aspects of a rebrand is to establish a clear and concise positioning statement. For us, it boiled down to whether to call ourselves a marketing agency or a creative agency. That might sound like splitting hairs, but it really became a focal point. We’ve always considered ourselves a creative studio, but also a place where data influences smart design. We came to the realization that we were underplaying the amount of strategic thinking we put into developing and shaping marketing campaigns for clients. We needed to fully express how research and analytics plays an equally important role in our creations.
"After that decision, we realized it was time to completely rebrand our integrated marketing agency to reflect what the company is, what it does – and the distinctive value we offer to clients."
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Process, Process, Process
At that point, we became our own client, and well-established processes kicked in. In communicating who we are, we needed to think across all media touchpoints, using our authentic core values as a benchmark. We needed to tailor deliverables for every channel: website, business collateral, presentations, social media, online advertising, content marketing, SEO keywords, and more. Scopes of work were defined, and parceled out to team members with different skill sets. Writers to tackle messaging personality and tone of voice, art directors and graphic designers to explore visual motifs and brand identity, and strategists to tie it all together in neat packages conveying brand character and meaning.
For Design Director Rebecca Tremblay, "the key to visual communication for business is to constantly adapt – because businesses, by definition, always try to grow and evolve." Ultimately, our name helped lead the design. We liked "simple" as a concept because it’s about distilling things to their essence, and how being upfront and to-the-point makes marketing and messaging more successful.
"We needed to refresh our brand to reflect that frankness and willingness to engage in effective conversation with clients. We updated our logo and brand colors with an eye towards being more versatile, strong, professional, clean, and simple. We not only had to stand out, we also had to make the right impression. By refining our look and core visual communication, we could lead by example and show potential clients what we’re capable of working towards, together."
The website you’re looking at is the result of months of diligent teamwork. And we’re proud of it. What’s more, all the self-examination (okay, navel-gazing), the internal discussions (okay, arguments), the design iterations, the messaging refinements – they all made us more cognizant of the hoops our clients are bound to jump through in their own branding and marketing journeys.
And of the instincts and expertise we can bring to bear on their business hopes and dreams.
If you are considering launching or repositioning a new or existing brand or product, or simply designing new packaging, contact us for a complimentary consultation. We’ll begin the same process – and, we hope, deliver the same satisfaction – that we followed for ourselves.