It was shortly after the relationship between Storm and BrandDNA was made official that we made the decision. A decision we felt we would recommend to any client in a similar position. Stop wasting energy supporting two brands and focus your resources on one.
It wasn’t that there was problems with the old brands, we loved them, and still do. It was that we had a new offer, that couldn’t be successfully represented by one or the other. So nearly three years ago, on a planning weekend down the Mornington Peninsula, we made the choice. It was time for Storm and BrandDNA to fade away and be replaced by a brand that truly represented the new brand design ethos of the new company.
Now, rebranding is always a difficult process. A brand identity is such a financially valuable and emotionally precious part of any organisation that changing it is nothing less than a rebirth for that organisation. Whether the rebrand is a catalyst for the change to come or the final flowering result of a period of evolution, it will be a challenge. There will always be key stakeholders, opinioned interested parties, meddling well-meaners and general others who’ll need to be appeased to keep the process moving forward. So, when it comes to rebranding a creative organisation, the difficulty can increase exponentially, when it comes to a creative branding agency rebranding itself it can get very, very challenging.
The biggest challenge was that we’re all experts in branding. Combined, we have hundreds of years of experience in branding every conceivable entity. We know the strategies, we know the theory. We’ve certainly got the practical experience. So we thought the rules we’re different for us. We thought we could short-circuit the process, get straight down to creating a next generation brand for a next generation branding company. Diving straight in created some interesting elements but nothing of substance we could agree on. We couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
What’s in a name?
Hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds of names. We considered thousands of names, some lasted seconds, some days, some months, one was even registered, one nearly caused revolt, but none we’re right. The process lost momentum, we we’re distracted by the day to day of creating successful brands for everyone else and let our own branding process slide. It wasn’t till we realised we we’re cheating ourselves and our new brand, by not imposing the rigour and discipline we apply to other brands. The first thing we tell any client is that to create a successful brand you need absolute clarity about what your trying to achieve. We thought we could skip it because we knew better. It reminds me of one of my dear mam’s sayings ‘Nearer the church. Further from God.’
Being truly true
It was only when we gave the project the respect it deserved and ourselves the time to apply the process we’ve created to craft brands for our clients. We started to get results we really liked and results that were clearly bringing the brand to life. We had a brand essence, values and personality we all agreed on. Our brand essence ‘A brand inspired design obsession’ set the standard. We had a name that embodied the balance of our creative and strategic talents, while resonating with the true emotional power of strong branding. We became Truly Deeply. An organisation obsessive about creating brands that evoke powerful emotional connections with customers.
Now we had our name and a great brand descriptor ‘Re-imagining Brands’ we needed to focus on the visual language that would bring our brand to life. Our brand decode process enabled us to have a strategic direction as to the visual style the brandmark should take. We conceived of a brandmark with the traditional cues of blue chip consulting agency, softened and embellished to reflect our creative obsessions. The brandmark was crafted from Hubert Jocham’s beautiful Narziss Drops font (before Hubert created all the different weights). To accompany the brandmark we created a series of stunning illustration, our menagerie of fantastic creatures.
I can reveal now, no animals were harmed in this re-branding. These illustrations are the part of the identity that really brings the brand to life. They’re magical, intriguing and have an artistic quality. There’s a different one on everybody’s business cards. They’re a natural talking point. For me, it’s their ability to be interpreted, sometimes in surprising ways, that keeps them fresh and entertaining. It’s funny, now, to think how concerned we were about them. We thought they could be too challenging for our clients, too gory for some of the more sensitive souls. But every one loves them, some clients collect them, wanting to know if there’s more they’ve missed out on. I’ve only heard one comment in the months we’ve been using them about them being bloody, and that was from a local government client naturally averse to anything not certified politically correct. Here’s the full collection for your viewing pleasure:
If a job’s worth doing…
Creating a great brand is a difficult process. You can trim budgets and push boundaries. But if you don’t do it properly, with the respect and diligence it deserves, you can’t expect to get the results your brand deserves. Spend the time and effort at the start getting your strategy and thinking resolved and the creative will flow, forming a brand that will be a truly powerful expression of your essence.