When is the right time to rebrand ourselves as an agency that specialises in rebranding?
Now that is a tough one! It’s the classic tradesman who never gets around to his own home, too busy doing client work. So, we are eight years down the line and decided last Summer that we really need to allocate time to the Luna Rebrand Project. A good few years later than when we should have completed the rebrand is the brutal reality. Delighted though to bring our own brand in full alignment.
As you would expect, we went into an intensive brand research phase to understand market trends, competitive branding styles, positioning options and audience profiling. It is so easy to go into your own bubble and become focused on the visual identity side of brand and the way that you look on your website and across your comms. What you need to do is the groundwork. It’s the equivalent of the painter’s methodical preparation that can take a while but massively impacts the end result.
The reference point for our Research + Discovery work was the core strategic issue of ‘how can we ensure that the rebranding represents Luna as a niche, brand strategy-led agency?’ One that straddles the consultancy – agency divide and helps position us away from the majority. Ensuring that we do not fall into the trap of appearing like a standard creative branding agency. The answer is a mix of both brand style and storytelling with a healthy dose of brand positioning.
From the identity perspective we also needed to understand if the StreetArt design at the centre of our branding for so many years was still a good fit. While the StreetArt was distinctive and based on our own unique designs, it had also started to feel dated and, most importantly, not representative of who we have become. We conducted audience research and this point came back loud and clear. While many liked it from a design perspective, they did not think it was a good fit for Luna today.
Like so many B2B companies who we rebrand, we had created our brand identity when launching Luna in 2014 but the business positioning has changed considerably since that time. You think your own branding is still you, until you stop and take a good hard look and realise that it’s not.
As with all of our rebranding projects, we used the detailed analysis and understanding that came from the Discovery Phase to inform the strategic thinking. It took months but we were not in a rush, better to get it right. The output is a mapping of the strategic options and creating a set of alternative concepts that we use to test our thinking against. The brand concepts are a mix of early stage visual mockups with first stage positioning statements. Strategy-led with a creative to bring it to life.
In our case, we explored the option to go full into the Lunar concept that was behind the original branding, including the use of the circle as a moon-like shape. It was all blood moons, eclipses and lunar cycles linked to brand strategy delivery. While this route had its positives in distinctiveness and a more obvious transition from the old brand, it failed to fully convince us that it captured our strategic priorities.
The other main concept was the ultimate winner. Transitioning Luna to a fresh, new business brand with a professional, tech feel and, critically, would appeal to our key audience of mid-size companies through to corporates. A more significant change from the old branding but done for the right reasons.
The first part of the Strategy Phase is about considering the alternative concepts and deciding on the best fit. Then the second part is to develop the chosen direction into a working brand strategy, ready for the Creative Phase and the detailed identity design and styling.
Integral to the strategic thinking was to identify the primary services we wanted to promote, namely:
- Consultative Branding referenced previously but now spotlighted as core to our strategic-led brand work.
- Mergers & Acquisitions which has become central to our offer with global clients.
- Brand Development focused on long term brand building to differentiate us from the short-term focused promotional campaign brand agencies.
- Rebranding Projects had always been important and remain key to our project work.
To provide added focus to our B2B branding it made sense to go further and create a set of Product Brands, showcasing our speciality services and reinforcing that we are not a generalist agency or a one-top shop. There are plenty of people with that positioning. Our market position is niche, expert and specialist strategy-led branding.
Our own brand story is based around a key set of messaging themes that we want to communicate to clients and prospects. They underpin our brand and the way that we talk about ourselves online, on social platforms, in client engagement and networking, and across all of our marketing.
These messaging themes are:
- Fully B2B focused is important as previously we had said that we are brand specialists not sector specific and we’re happy to pitch for consumer brand projects as well. Having analysed our client base it was clear that not only should we develop our B2B expertise but we also have a predominant project experience in Tech, Built Environment and Professional Services. These sectors are now our priority for new business development .
- Global client base is emphasised far more now as we have recognisable expertise with big corporate clients who want brand consultants they can depend on. Branding in the Mergers and Acquisitions area is a classic example of this.
- Strategy-led to differentiate ourselves from the vast number of creative-led brand agencies. Everyone does brand but usually with a direction or service focus (e.g. website, digital, promotional, experiential etc.) Our direction and skill set is focused on strategic branding.
The new brand style and identity is designed to show the contemporary, professional nature of the Luna brand. In changing from such distinctive imagery with the StreetArt approach, we wanted to achieve an engaging design and opted for the use of a graduated two colour creative with flowing lines underneath.
This approach has the added benefit of being able to create a set of layouts that can be used across our marketing comms (website, brochure, proposals, presentations.)
Examples of brand layouts
Having evaluated our brand logo within our overall brand identity design, we decided to retain the logo as it had value and was easily recognised. So we gave it a facelift by thinning the letters and increasing the visibility of the word branding.
We also decided to go with a two primary colour palette and to move away from the four bright colours that was a better fit for the more creative branding approach we had at launch. Now we want a more business-like and contemporary look.
Hopefully, this will give you a feel for what it means when a Rebranding Specialist Agency rebrands itself. Central to it all is remembering the brand classics: you have to be authentic (to create a brand that properly represents who you are), you have to be distinctive (to find a visual style that not only stands out but is a true visual representation of your business approach) and you need to be honest (no flannel, bluff or unrealistic claims, just how you can help in the way that you choose to operate.) It was a blast rebranding ourselves and posing all those difficult questions that we had to answer!