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Why We Had Brand Refresh

Spring is here, and with it comes a new look for 41 Orange!

In January we celebrated our 5th anniversary as 41 Orange. Our company has grown a lot over the last five years. We started as a two-man show, working out of the second bedroom of our little house in North Park. Today we’re a venture-backed agency, among the top HubSpot partner agencies in North America, and have grown an amazing, smart and driven team.

But that’s not what you would have seen when you visited our old website.

We had outgrown our design, and it was time for a refresh to reflect where we are today. Enter our new brand!

It’s vibrant, fresh, sharp and impactful -- all the things that we want to be and exhibit as a company. We’ve graduated from stock images (I cringe admitting to that) and have actually produced our own photographs to utilize on the site. We also took a UX-forward approach to our website redesign. We started with the experience we wanted our visitors to have, created elements around those interactions, and then built out the rest of the site.

We love the new look and feel, and especially the small interactive elements that bring the content alive.

It is in every way us.

What’s in a brand...

The focus on our brand got us thinking about what it’s like for other companies to refresh their image. What is that crucial tipping point to making a decision? When is the right time to rebrand?

Most of the time, a rebrand is a well-planned, data-backed effort that’s welcomed by customers and company staff alike. Other times…well, do you remember when The Gap decided to switch their iconic logo? Don’t feel bad if you don’t. That decision was reversed a week after the new logo was launched. Oof.

We’d like to think we put a bit more thought into our rebranding efforts. The changes we made - from updating our marketing collateral to making changes to our website, even remodeling our office - were the result of hours of research, sparked by the desire to teach both clients and prospective employees about our mission, our people, our expertise, and what to expect when working with (or for) 41 Orange.

First you need to brand…

Of course, before you can re-brand, you’ve got to brand. Branding is, in a way, like jazz: hard to describe, but you know it when you hear it. It’s impossible to think of a successful company that doesn’t have a fully developed brand, and perhaps that’s why it can be difficult to define.

Certainly the classic definition of branding - the creation of a logo, symbol, design or name that’s easily identified as belonging to a specific company - helps, but it doesn’t quite cover everything that goes into developing your company’s brand. You can’t trademark a voice, tone or style. But tackling the basics of branding is a great place for a company to start. And it’s a necessary one.

Developing a brand is crucial to a company’s success; at the very least, it serves as the foundation of your advertising efforts. Here’s what else a strong brand brings:

  • Recognition: Having a strong brand means that people know who you are. When you see a Nike swoosh on the side of a pair of sneakers, you don’t need to ask who made them.

  • Trust, Growth and Business Value: Strong brands are usually trusted brands; consumers and customers often ascribe dependability to popularity. Billions of people have eaten a McDonald’s hamburger simply because they know those ubiquitous Golden Arches, and thus McDonald’s became what it is today. We’ll leave the debate over who makes the best fast-food burgers for another post. (The answer, of course, is In-N-Out.)

  • Happy, Engaged Employees: A quick glance at LinkedIn is all you need to know that employees who work for companies with a strong brand are proud to be associated with that brand. That benefits the company in two ways: it helps attract and retain talent, and it turns your employees into brand ambassadors, who’ll advocate for your organization to their business and social networks.

…and then you need to rebrand.

Many companies will never feel the need to undergo a rebranding process, and a few never should. (Looking at you, Coke.) But it’s a good idea to assess your brand from time to time; most successful companies will tweak or even completely refurbish their brand if it’s not firing on all cylinders. Why look at rebranding?

  • Your business has changed. Perhaps you’re launching a new product line. Perhaps there’s no longer a demand for some or all of the services you provide. If there’s a change to the mission, the brand will likely need to change with it.

  • You’re not connecting with your target audience. If your brand isn’t sparking interest, it’s time to reassess. That missed connection might take the form of the wrong customers approaching your business, or it might take the form of your existing customers looking at other companies in your niche. Either way, your brand isn’t doing what it should be.

  • It’s just outdated. Nostalgia and retro-chic aren’t typically the best inspirations for your brand. There’s a reason that there are very few truly iconic brands - and even those have played around with their brand presence, sometimes brilliantly. One wonders what Kentucky Fried Chicken founder and symbol Colonel Sanders would think of comedian Norm Macdonald or Goodfellas star Ray Liotta playing him in TV ads. The truth is that audience’s tastes and needs change and evolve, and your company needs to craft its brand strategy and brand identity to reflect those changes.

Final Thoughts

Branding is essential to creating a successful business; rebranding is a key factor in maintaining that success. Having gone through a rebrand ourselves, we can speak to the importance of knowing when to look at making changes to the brand, how to develop an effective rebranding strategy, and how to implement that strategy.

Maybe it’ll help to think of a rebrand as a kind of spring cleaning. It’s sometimes a hassle, usually time-consuming, and you have to get rid of stuff you used to be fond of…but in the end, you really do end up making the old place look new again.

And boy, does it feel oh so good!

About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Samantha is the COO and co-founder of 41 Orange, inc, a marketing agency. She is also currently a member of the Board of Directors for San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Balboa Park’s resident classical ballet school since 1945. Hailing from the agency world, Sam has worked with Fortune 500 tech, financial, and consumer brands, including Intel, Petco and LPL Financial, to shape their online presence and reach their target audiences more effectively through social media and beyond. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, emphasis in public relations from San Diego State University.