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When a rebrand is all about the client not the agency

Spring cleaning, navel gazing, critical intellectual property update… call it what you will, agencies collectively spend a fortune each year scrutinising their own identity.

The result can range from a complete brand overhaul to a minor font tweak followed by a lavish party for staff, clients, prospects and friends; a celebration of all the work that has gone into the image update.

From the outset, let me be the first to recognise that we’ve just gone through our own brand transformation, and we’re pretty pleased with the results. But the thing that struck us square between the eyes when we started the process of evolving the look and feel of our business was that agencies are as guilty of believing their own hype as any other business, if not more so. And at the end of the day, agencies exist because of one thing only: clients.

Without clients we’re nothing. They’re the reason we set up shop in the first place and they pay the bills, helping us grow. Great client service turns a commodity into a necessity: an agency partner you can’t afford to be without. This means structuring around the needs of the client, not the agency. For example, we only employ full-time people, meaning our staff are expert in and passionate about our client processes, and not bolted-on freelance partners who expend as much effort getting to know us as they do servicing clients. Meanwhile, we’ve taken what we think is the unique step of organising client work around a user experience (UX) producer who is the linchpin of the account: think a project manager with technical expertise, who is on the clients side, and knows their business and users inside out.

With all of this in mind, we focused like a laser beam on our client base whilst running our brand refresh in the background. We very much stuck to the mantra, ‘It’s not about us, it’s all about the client’.

In fact, when concluding our ruminations on the agency’s identity, we decided to take the somewhat bold step of leaving our name off the new logo completely. We’re proud of our heritage and excited about the next stage of our development, hopefully with rapid, sustainable growth, but it’s not something we needed to spend years and hundreds of thousands of pounds on.

We could have changed the name, and there’s no harm in that; although the process tends to be painful and long-winded. We could have played around with 15 different typefaces, each favoured by a different head of department. What the agency eventually gathered around was a purely visual logo. Clients, we hope, will remember who we are through the vibrant colours of the new branding but, more importantly, because of the great and ground-breaking service we provide.

There’s nothing wrong with reinvigorating your brand or pushing on to the next stage of your company’s development by giving the logo a lick of paint. But it’s vital to remember that while time and money is spent on the process, client service should remain front of mind, and for that reason it shouldn’t just be an exercise in vanity.

As you can see from our new identity, the omission of Rawnet – the first and only mention of our name during this piece! - is a recognition of the importance of the client compared to the agency. It’s a commitment to making a commercial difference to the people we work for and, far from meaning we ignore our own success, should result in growth for both the agency and our clients.