Over a year ago I wrote a post entitled “New Year, New Us: Part 1″. To summarize, I talked about how our company was going to embark on the journey of rebranding ourselves. We were thankful for the success that the name “CollegeMobile” had brought us, but knew that in order to grow and expand we needed to have a more professional brand image that matched our quality product and people that worked for us. When I wrote that blog post a year ago I never realized what a year it would be figuring out all of the pieces that go into building a new brand identity.
As we are coming to the end of this journey I thought I should continue with this blog series and talk about the first two steps we took:
Step 1: Vision, Values and Pillars
We knew we wanted to have a team brain storming session where threw out ideas about our new brand. Before we did that we had to determine the vision of our company that would guide us. I knew that many successful companies shared their vision with their employees and it helped to guide employees and big business decisions. Our management team fleshed out our vision, values and pillars that would guide the company not only in the brainstorming session but in all of our future decisions. This was a great exercise for our team and really helped to define who we were and who we aspire to be.
Step 2: Who Are We?! Who We Want to Be?! ”What Do we NOT want to be?!”
After we had our Vision, Values and Pillars in place we spent an entire afternoon brainstorming with the whole team. We rented a large collaboration room and I led the team in what I like to call our “brand identity discovery exercise”. We broke into little teams of 3 and everyone was given hundreds of bright sticky notes and black sharpies. I started off by asking the team to compare different brands (ex. Starbucks vs. Tim Hortons, McDonalds vs Burger King, etc.) I asked them first to write down the words and phrases that described these brands. Then we went through and described words that were NOT associated with the brand; for example a word that did not depict Starbucks was “Cheap”. I felt it was important to not only describe the words that described the brand but to define what words were not associated with the brand.
Then we went on to do the same exercise for our own company. In groups of 3 we came up with all of the words we currently associated our brand with, the words that we didn’t want to be associated with and then we went one step further and came up with aspirational words for what we wanted to become in the future. This was an awesome exercise that brought our team closer together and really revealed our company’s identity.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of our branding series where I will tell you how we wade our way through the legal complexities of changing our name!