Re-branding is simple, right? Slap together a new logo, and you’re off to the races. Or…not. We recently went through a re-branding, and while the specifics are different for a race than for a technology company, there are some takeaways from our process events can relate to.
Step 1: Who are we?
We worked with a consultant, Peter Abraham, to guide our initial brainstorming process and gathered a group of employees who have some toes in marketing. Momentum can dictate the trajectory of a brand, and the goal of this session was to step back and evaluate what our company values and what we have to offer. We started with a status assessment:
- Identify our customers and their needs
- Evaluate trends in the industry and in technology
- Study communications and data to determine the view of us in the industry
- Collect visual assets currently in use
At the end of 3 days of discussion and debate, we came away with:
- Our mission statement. A short sentence distilling our purpose. Every action we take as a company ties back to our mission.
Our boilerplate. A paragraph-length explanation of who we are for press releases, etc.
- Our elevator pitch. The boilerplate distilled into two sentences.
- A value proposition. A further refined, one-sentence explanation of what we bring to the market).
- Our Core Values. The five tenets that guide how we operate our company internally and externally.
- Image Direction. A very rough sketch of how to visually represent the words above.
Step 2: Create Your Look
After the meeting, Meredith (one of our UX designers who also moonlights the lead on our visual brand) took over. The first assets she focused on:
- Logo. We wanted to design a fresh new logo that would evoke a sense of playfulness and simplicity. We decided that the color pink and a circle shape felt fun and modern; it also stands out when used as a profile icon or when layered over an image. Using a sans-serif font that has artfully rounded letters and stacked words felt visually balanced and clean.
- Colors. While we still love orange and blue, we wanted to expand our color palette to better organize our suite of products and represent the robustness of our technology. The addition of bright, yet gentle hues of pink, purple, and green (with orange and blue of course) affords us greater flexibility.
- Fonts. Prior to the re-brand, we deviated from the widespread use of Open Sans font families and settled on Roboto exclusively on our dashboard. For the re-brand, we opted to stick with Roboto for body copy and sought a substantial, bold headline font for our website and marketing materials. We ultimately went with Montserrat Black and are very pleased with the outcome.
- Photography. We wanted race and event photography that better captured the excitement and scale of endurance events and contacted the photographers for customers RaceDay Events and Vacation Races and asked them to search their archives. We collected our favorite images with a special preference for photos with lots of negative space, interesting lighting, and ones that were taken with a long lens. These photos reinforce our messaging and convey the epic nature of races and endurance events.
- Illustrations. We wanted to use friendly and approachable characters that our customers could relate to in order to visually portray the art of technology. We wrote a creative brief describing the project and deliverables and spoke with a number of talented artists. Our goal was to create a library of characters we could use throughout our website and interface and you will be seeing more of these illustrations as time goes on!
- Messaging. We expanded on the boilerplate, mission, and core values from our brainstorming session, and built out a set of descriptions and word choices for our various products. This can be referred to during any copywriting for consistency in language and message.
Step 3: Convince Your Team
Like many brands, our team was really attached to our brand. We knew we needed the rest of our company on-board with the new direction…
- Unveil: We showed off mock-ups of our pretty new look, with a *quick*, high-level explanation of why we chose the new direction. This Brand Playbook helped show off the new look.
- Time: Change is hard. No matter what we put into the unveiling, we knew it would take time for people to get used to the new look. Be patient – the more they see it in action, the more they’ll love it.
Step 4: Release Your Brand
There is no perfect roll-out with every image and every word updated everywhere in the world simultaneously. We have a philosophy of incremental change, and we approached this in much the same way: get the basics of the new brand out, and then continue to fine-tune and build consistency. Our priorities for a roll-out were:
- Website. A refresh to the stylization of the website: new logos, new headers, new colors, new fonts
- Social Media. Updates to social media logos and headers
- Publicize Change. A press release, a blog, and inclusion in our monthly newsletter to let the industry know why we look a little different.
- Across the Web. We built a list of conferences we sponsor, ads we run, email services we use, and websites we operate that would need the logo changed, new favicons, and potentially new language
- Trade Show Collateral. New signage and booth materials for trade shows
Step 5: Build Your Assets
We’re still in this step, continuing to add graphic assets and update the language about our company across the web. Some of our stage two goals:
- Additional illustrations and graphics to use on our website and marketing collateral
- Set Guidelines to ensure consistent use of colors, logo usage, etc.
- A brand page on our website, with downloads for partners who need our logo, etc.
- A new powerpoint template
- New apparel for our team and new giveaways for conferences
- Logo updates on automated emails and hidden pages on the website
Step 6: Continue, Forever
Repeat step 5. There will always be more assets to add to your library, and even when you aren’t re-branding from scratch, you should continuously make iterative updates year-to-year to stay fresh and relevant.