A rebrand project from Quill Creative Studio: get a behind the scenes look of our rebranding process.
As any business-savvy professional knows, having defined processes is key to creating repeatable and consistent outcomes. Since the creative process of every branding agency is typically viewed as a “trade secret” and shrouded in secrecy, not many people know how it’s accomplished. In this post, we’ll take you on a behind-the-scenes look at one of our recent rebranding projects. We'll discuss why rebranding is important, what led this client to consider rebranding in the first place and how we approached each step of the way: from defining the strategy all the way to documenting the brand and launching it successfully. By getting a peek behind-the-curtain at our rebranding agency, we hope to create better understanding and appreciation so you’ll know what to expect during a proper branding process.
A shift in the market that led to rebranding Harry Miller Companies.
For 100 years, the Harry Miller family of companies had been supplying appliances to the greater Chicago region. Coin-O-Matic, their commercial laundry division, hung their hat on distributing one particular manufacturer and the Coin-O-Matic name naturally became synonymous with that brand. In late 2019, there was a shift in the market and the Harry Miller family of companies wanted to make sure that their brand wouldn't be lost in the shuffle. To summarize, Harry Miller Appliances and Coin-O-Matic had to firmly establish their foundation in order to ensure that they could stand on their own, regardless of the brands they distribute. They knew a capable rebranding agency was needed to move things forward.
Brand Strategy and Identity
Research and Brand Positioning
Following some initial conversations that revolved around goals and objectives, we began the process of brand positioning research and discovery. We had lengthy discussions with the key stakeholders and analyzed their current brand, how it had evolved over the past 100 years and then surveyed numerous customers to get a better understanding of how they perceived the company. This allowed us to develop an accurate portrait of customers including their demographics, emotional triggers, and behaviors. Armed with this information, we were able to start developing messaging that would differentiate them from their competition and reflect an authentic and unique brand position.
We also knew that there was a century's worth of brand equity that we needed to maintain and evolve. With such a rich history, there was no shortage of inspiration to be gathered from their collection of photographs, branded collateral, advertisements and promotions from years past. Not only was their history beautifully preserved and documented but it was also dripping with personality. What we found was that this history was impactful, important, and influential to where the company was today. The biggest issue was that it was being hidden from team members and customers alike. We knew that we needed to bring this history to the forefront of the rebranding project and pair it with modern design elements so it felt like a legacy that remained relevant. This ended up being the basis for brand positioning since no other competitor had a legacy as rich as theirs.
Creative Brief Development
With all of the brand positioning research and findings in hand, our team began to develop a creative brief to be used as a roadmap for the brand identity development. This document outlines specific goals, establishes target audiences, and communicates brand positioning that will be brought to life through visuals and key messaging. This brand strategy document is filled with visual inspiration and is informed by the authentic personality of the organization, intended brand position, messaging and target audience. Of course, we also ensure that it'll appear different and stand apart from competition.
The creative brief was then presented to the stakeholders at Harry Miller Appliances and Coin-O-Matic. They were thrilled with the research and findings as well as where we wanted to take the brand identity. It was important that they be a part of this process since it impacts everyone from executives, sales people, customers and more.
Brand Identity Development and Stress Testing
With the approval of the creative brief, our team got to work developing the brand identity. The wire framing begins with laying out the presentation to ensure we have enough real-world applications to stress test the visual identity and messaging system. Everything is designed as if it were going into production, but we show the work as photo-realistic mockups so everyone can get a sense of how the visual identity will appear in reality.
For this rebranding project in particular, we created a flexible system of logos for Harry Miller Appliances, Harry Miller Companies, Coin-O-Matic, and of course we created a badge for the 100 year anniversary.
After stress-testing the visual identity system and tweaking as needed, we felt that we arrived at the perfect solution, met all of the project requirements and were ready to bring the stakeholders to the table. They were bursting with anticipation and once the meeting started, they were thrilled to see all of this effort come together in one cohesive presentation that showcased their history and brand personality in such a fresh and visual way.
Brand Identity Documentation and Launch
With all approvals in hand, it was time to document the brand identity and create a style guide. This comprehensive branding guide is for everyone from salespeople who need to know how to talk about the new brand positioning, to designers who need guidance on using approved fonts, colors and imagery. It also outlines usage rules for when and where each element can be used to maintain consistency. We then got to work on bringing the requested brand collateral to production.
It's always recommended that organizations wait until everything is staged for launch so it's a clean transition to the updated brand identity. One of the biggest benefits to leverage during a brand launch is free publicity. Industry publications, business magazines, and even newspapers will likely publish an article especially if a press release is sent their way. When you make a splash with the brand's introduction, you'll almost certainly generate some organic sales as a result.
Rebranding is a process that many organizations go through once a decade. It can seem to be an overwhelming and daunting task, but if you have a creative partner that understands the importance of research, planning, and stakeholder collaboration, it can be a very smooth and exciting process. Having a current and well-defined brand identity standards is critical to a positive consumer and employee experience, and it will ensure that everyone from the CEO down to the summer intern uses the brand in the same way.
Ready for more than just a sneak peek at how our branding agency operates? Let’s talk!