As an agile software company specialising in Digital Asset Management within a crowded market, it’s crucial that we stand out from our competitors with a brand that really resonates with our audience. We know that a brand is about how people feel about you and how you feel about yourselves, so we focused deeply on introspection to beyond a logo and colour scheme.
Can you explain a little more about your role at Bright?
I wear many hats over here at Bright and as a result, I've been given the opportunity to get involved in some really exciting areas of the business. My main role and job title is Bright’s Marketing and Communications Manager which encompasses content strategy, our corporate brand, our employer brand, events management and internal and external comms.
First off - we’re always curious - how do you start your day? Are you a green juice cycle-to-work person or do you take the grab a coffee and leg it in approach?
It's more the latter I’d say. My husband gets up at stupid o’clock in the morning and so I tend to roll out of bed early too so that I can get into the office for about 7am. My morning routine involves the standard stuff; shower, getting dressed, makeup on and leaving the house. I’m a bit lazy (especially when I'm going into work for that time in the morning!) so whilst I have the best of intentions and try to walk in, a lot of the time I take the bus.
If I leave at a certain time its most likely that I will encounter my ‘bus nemesis’, which is always a good start to the day. Ultimately there’s a girl who I see at the bus stop every morning (it’s like the Truman Show), she always tries to get on the bus before anyone else and I try to stop her. It’s quite the game. I don’t think she knows that she’s my bus nemesis and for all I know, I’m hers.
Once I’ve arrived, I make tea, put on music in the office and go through my emails. Being that I do a lot of proofreading it’s the ideal time to focus whilst I have no distractions. Because Bright offers flexible working, getting in early means I can leave early. In summer it’s brilliant because I can take advantage of the sun, the beach and Brighton living - I literally can’t wait for summer.
Last year Bright went through a mammoth rebrand and you were an instrumental part of that process. You worked on the initial rebrand and then instigated a phase two - can you take us through the thinking behind this decision?
The second phase occurred mainly because I felt that something was missing. That thread that holds a brand together. We’d gone through the rebrand which was a huge deal for us because it was more than just changing the colours and getting a new logo. We’d solidified our brand vision and mission, agreed on our brand values and also agreed on a brand hierarchy for our products.
I think all of this potentially overshadowed the brand visuals - they were ok but there was just a feeling not only from me (but across the business) that we needed to elevate and evolve them to more of a premium and accurately reflect our brand.
We’d spent a lot of time designing the logo but I felt that we could use this more to our advantage in the rest of our brand visuals. Get creative and do something really cool. This is the connecting thread that I felt was missing.
It’s often tricky to find the ‘right people’ to work with who will fit your company ethos. How did you tackle the research phase of this and who did you end up working alongside?
You know what, it was sort of serendipitous and a lot of it for me was done on instinct. I’d been contacted by a guy called Tom Leach on LinkedIn who I’d worked with briefly before on a rebrand project. He’d purely contacted me to congratulate us on our recent rebrand and let me know that he’d set up his own agency in Brighton called Evoke.
I met with him purely to talk about potential design opportunities and then when I wanted to progress the project, he felt like a natural choice. The great part of this was that I already had our brand values ready and so he took all of the existing collateral and gave us feedback on what was in front of him. He put together a proposal with different routes to consider and we went from there. Gut feeling is one of those senses that i generally trust so trust yours! If you’re undertaking a rebrand from scratch though, it’s worth while spending the time and meeting at minimum of three companies or individuals for the project which you can draw together.
In your seasoned opinion, what are the main things to consider before starting and as part of a rebrand?
- Build your dream team and agree on your stakeholders for the project - by trying to rebrand by committee or going it alone with a singular vision will flop, because you’ll either never get anything done or you’ll end up with a brand and concept that no one is bought in to.
- Introspection - go back to basics to really understand who you are as a brand because what you want to come out with is much more than a new logo and colour scheme. Outline your target personas so that you know who your audience are to ensure your new brand resonates. Focus on what makes you unique both externally and internally. Your mission, vision and values should work for both your external brand but also for your employees.
- Do your research and be realistic about the sort and size of rebrand partner you want.
It’s tempting to think big - and you should but your budget is going to slip away much quicker at a big boy agency compared to a smaller set up. The emergence of co-working spaces such as Platf9rm are home to a wealth of creativity, skills and experience, so if you’re prepared to put in the effort and take time to meet with multiple people of then you may find the set of skills you’re looking for at a fraction of the price.
- Be clear about the deliverables and make sure you’re going to get a set of practical things as part of the output. What I mean by this is not just a set of brand guidelines and a few versions of your logo. Ensure you receive a tool kit with all of the elements you’ll need to apply the brand to your various channels and get a selection of application examples, to help future designers.
- Budget. If your budget is tight, make sure you prioritise the deliverables in the right order for what will be most valuable on the other side. For example don’t spend your money on an extensive guidelines document which no one will ever read. Be iterative. If you need icons designing, draw up a list of use cases and design them in batches.
- Have clear phases of the project for review/iteration and take time to manage this process otherwise the wheels can easily come off.
- Consider your working environment. Your brand is a living, breathing idea so it’s important to let this spill into your working environment but be mindful when you do this. No one wants to be held hostage by a brand so having your brand values plastered everywhere is not the way forward. Think creatively about how your brand values could be represented across your work space.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing. Can you share your top advice if you could go back in time?
- Spend more time on the planning stage. We didn’t spend enough time thinking about what we needed on a practical level. We got some great stuff out of the original agency, mainly the articulation of our brand values, vision and mission, logo and a colour palette. however after that we only had an extensive set of guidelines and a couple of images and a set of icons which were not that helpful.
- Be more assertive and try not to get swept along. The whole experience can become jading, it starts off with excitement, but after countless revisions and versions of logos it can get a bit tiring. Because of this I think we didn't push back enough on the design of the guidelines or spend time thinking about the stuff we really needed - and a lot of budget went there.
- Consistent stakeholder involvement. We didn't involve stakeholders consistently often because of time constraints. Post rebrand some stakeholders felt unhappy with some of the design decisions so don't underestimate the power of the dream team. You needed to feel connected and proud of the brand and we weren’t quite there with it. When you find yourself apologising for how something looks, then you know it's not quite right.
- Create brand guidelines that are inspiring not restrictive. Our team felt that they were too scared to push the brand boundaries.
What are the next steps for the brand?
Who knows?! It continues to evolve and we’re now using the new brand elements in our office refurb which has been a really exciting project. Our leadership team wanted to see the brand and values being used more in the office. We’ve used the new brand to convey our values in a sensitive way. No one wants to feel like they are being held hostage by a brand so we’ve worked really hard to apply it in a way that is sensitive but striking.
What do you do when the clock strikes 5 (or 3 in your case!)
I’m usually out before 5 thanks to our flexible working so I tend to make the most of this extra afternoon time. Brighton is a great place to live and being that I have the luxury of a 20 minute walk home, I take full advantage of the city life. So it's usually meeting up for drinks on the beach in summer and dinner with friends.
A big thanks to Vic for her valuable insights into not only how to successfully navigate a rebrand but also how to make your bus journey to work way more entertaining! If you’d like to hear Vic’s dulcet tones in your ears you can listen to the whole podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or below.