Go with Your Gut and Find a Way

What do you do when your company is due for a rebrand, but your organization isn’t ready? You seize what’s within your control to influence the outcome.

After an agency partner created a bold advertising splash that was a departure from our brand standards (for various reasons), we were left with two different identities: one modern, purple, social/advertising look and an aging, maroon, corporate-materials look.

After strategizing about what to do, we tried to keep them separate. But, of course, that didn’t work. Our prospect and client experiences were becoming disjointed. We were a 185-year-old market leader whose brand elements were turning stale. We needed to look like the innovative, cohesive, Fortune 500 company that we are. Something had to be done.

It started with an experiment. What would happen if the two looks came together to try to close the gap? Expecting horror and ugliness, we were surprised to find potential. That was our starting point. We tested how a new look could play out across various assets. We were getting somewhere. So, we kept working.

A proposal was made to leadership, who gave us enthusiasm, excitement and some dollars to partner externally on execution. We were on our way to a modern, cohesive brand “refresh”—not a rebrand.

Shortly after the new Brand Guide was completed, the world stopped. COVID-19 changed everything. Collaborating to implement new messaging and brand elements was going to be difficult from our separate homes.

As each of us became acquainted with the new brand elements and created new assets, we added them to a digital “brand board.” This board served two purposes: 1) it allowed for presenting work digitally, both up close and as a body of cross-functional assets, and 2) it allowed all content creators to use it as a guide, sort of a litmus test to ensure the work was cohesive without being cookie-cutter.

digital board of FM Global creative assets

The new look was met with overwhelming positivity! So much so that our affiliated brands wanted to be next, and then next… After our second refresh for a separate business unit, we made a recommendation to step back and look at the entire enterprise. Lucky for us, that idea was already on the plan for our new head of marketing, who joined the company in the summer of 2020. And, who knows where that might lead? Might it lead eventually to the rebrand we’ve been wanting for so long? Maybe…stay tuned.

Rebecca Marino is Design Manager at FM Global, a mutual insurance company whose capital, scientific research, and engineering expertise are dedicated to property risk management and the resilience of its client-owners. She is also a longtime, active member of the IHAF community, serving on the IHAF Board of Directors for 10 years. To get to know more in-house agency pros like Rebecca, join IHAF!

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