Thinking about embarking on your own brand evolution? Congrats! It’s a time of excitement and trepidation—and if you’re reading blogs about how to do it right, then you’re already making great choices. We’ve worked with quite a few brands over the years, but we feel like we learn something new every time we take on a refresh. Our own, for instance, was full of feels and learnings.

Lesson 1: Creative directors make terrible clients.

This is especially true with CDs and other creative leaders who were part of the initial brand development—because sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye to the old and embrace the new. (And let’s face it: Listening to everyone pick apart a brand that’s near and dear to your heart can be pretty painful.) Even if you are ready to move on, you may have very specific ideas on how to evolve it. But a good leader is supposed to inspire others to come up with new approaches, not tell them what to do. So, the cognitive dissonance is real. But as long as you’re open to having candid conversations, it’ll all work out. Honest.

Lesson 2: It’s okay to have abandonment issues.

If the idea of changing your brand leaves you feeling forlorn—your emotions may be justified if you’ve built brand equity with your clients. 100% of our business development comes through client referrals, so our brand name and personality is incredibly important to us. The first thing we needed to do was investigate which elements were reinforcing our rep and which elements could use some polishing. We want to come across as fresh, modern, positive, and fun, so we kept what still felt like “us” and gave the others a makeover to match.  

Lesson 3: Sometimes you just have to land the plane.

We’re a tight-knit team with deep respect for each other’s opinions and ideas. One of our core values is all about being brave, as we welcome everyone to weigh in on creative, no matter their role at the agency. That’s wonderful when it comes to the early stages of ideation—but we discovered along the way that we were never going to get 100% consensus on every palette color or logo bug. It’s important to identify the stakeholders to make the final selections. In an effort to get it done, we embraced the three Ds: debate, decide, deliver.

Lesson 4: You can have it all, but not all at the same time. 

First and foremost, our brand is about doing great work for our great clients. So, as much as we enjoy exploring and tweaking our own brand, our priority is always going to put client needs over internal projects. The good news in this regard is that we embarked on a brand evolution, not a total rebrand. That meant that we could think about what we wanted to refresh now and what we were okay with extending later. (Hint: We’ll continue on our journey with more elements in 2023.) 

Lesson 5: Establishing limits sets you free.

We set out to run our refresh just like we would for a client brand refresh, with allocated resources, schedules, and deadlines. While you’d think that we’d let the team go hog wild, it’s actually good that we didn’t. First off, as we mentioned, we need to put client work first. But even though it sounds counterintuitive, we’ll let you in on a secret: the more restrictions, the better the results. We may think we want unlimited budget, time, and runway, but it’s easy to take off in too many directions. But give us limits, and our creative problem solving brains shift into high gear to find the right approach.

This is the second installment in our blog series on our brand refresh journey, so stay tuned for more insider tips and stories. Viva la evolución!