It’s been 48 hours since our brand rose from the ashes – all phoenix like – and became something new. Something bold. Hurrah!
But guess what? We almost didn’t make it. This isn’t a retrospective blog about how this whole process was all sunshine and rainbow emoji. This rebrand (the very thing that should make a company more unified) nearly killed us. But hey, like I said before, we made it. But we did so with scuffs and bruises, a few scars – and more time spent away from our families than any of us would care to admit.
We didn’t get everything right, and we were this close (imagine me scrunching my fingers so close together that they barely touch) to a few meltdowns, but we survived.
Here’s the key though – we had to do it. It was totally unavoidable. Our company couldn’t move forward without making a commitment to actually push it forward. It wasn’t for lack of talent, or lack of passion, or the desire to grow.
It was simply this: our company outgrew our previous brand, and everybody knew it.
It was so unavoidable that we had to literally drag ourselves into a room and start doing something to fix it. We’d been kicking the can down the proverbial road and we sure as heck wanted to take the easy path and pretend like we could keep things business as usual.
Have you ever been there? Where your company’s culture, values, services, and capabilities don’t match up AT ALL to your brand and your position in the market?
That was us 10 months ago, and it really sucked.
In our eyes there were three factors that shoved us into this season of rebranding:
1. Growth: Our company was growing. Fast. As it grew, our service lines expanded. We started offering new products and services that didn’t mesh with the old branding. Our old brand wasn’t an honest reflection of our new capabilities and would usually hinder our brand story with clients.
2. Relevance & customer mix: We’ve continually added clients and grown relationships in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) and Fortune 500 space. We earned the right to step toe-to-toe with global agencies, and our old brand wasn’t poised to compete in that arena.
3. Siloed teams: Our internal teams needed a unified vision. Our development team and creative team acted as two independent groups, rarely interacting or creating strategies together. This was probably a result of growth and customer mix, but caused lots of problems with us not standing strong together as a single, solid unit.
We didn’t choose to rebrand. We were forced (kicking and screaming) to come face to face with the realization that if we didn’t…we would perish. Okay, maybe not literally perish, but you know what I mean.
Companies (like the current price of crude oil) fall all the time. I know…it’s harsh, but have you seen how cheap gas is these days?
To put it another way: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Yes that is a quote from Proverbs, and no I will not apologize, I think it’s an apt quote and sums things up nicely. Companies that don’t have a clear vision, a knack for pivoting, and the acumen to see the writing on the wall usually fail.
Come heck or high-water, that wasn’t gonna be us.
We started down this long, arduous rebranding journey with an idea, but without a clear, unified vision of the future. Seems daunting, right? But that’s actually okay. You don’t have to have all your ducks in a row before you start counting said ducks. We knew that out of this rebrand, a wholly unique vision for Softway would present itself. So we weren’t totally blind. We had an idea for the future – the coveted light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, and that kept us energized and focused.
As it turns out, desire alone isn’t enough to keep things running smoothly.
If we’re being honest, this whole thing was sorta insane.
Round one didn’t pan out, neither did round two. We were ready to go live, and our messaging was jacked up – along with most of our on-site visuals. The tagline we kinda liked actually sucked, but we couldn’t tell until we had outside help (couldn’t see the forest for the trees) – so we scrapped it and started that part over, like six weeks ago. We’re keeping two websites, one for inbound traffic, one for outbound (more on this later). We lost really talented people to other companies, people that were pivotal to our rebranding efforts. Halfway through we realized our processes were broken, our creative strategy needed major fine-tuning, and we needed to grow up a lot to play with the big boys. We’ll cover all that – and much more, as we continue this rebrand series.
Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Somehow, through what sounds like a nightmare, we made it. Sure it was frustrating and difficult, but all of us – the whole of Softway – wouldn’t change a thing. We lived to see our brand step into its own. It’s a brand we can be proud of.
It’s got room to grow, and space to play. It’s motivating, inviting, and challenging. It’s exactly what we wanted.
We learned so much through this journey, and we’d like to share that with you over the next several weeks. As you can see, we don’t plan on covering anything up. I know we’re not alone here, and we’re sick of marketing blogs glossing over something as monumental as a rebrand. We’re gonna be vulnerable and real, for our sake and for yours.
Thanks for reading. See you next week!