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Redesign Series: Branding Process

When was the last time your organization took a step back and thought about how your organization and its staff talk about the work that you do and why it is important?

Are you reaching your target audiences?

Does your website site have a modern look and provides quality, actionable information, resources and data?  

These are the questions we at Firefly started asking ourselves late last year. Guess what? It was time for an update. As a company we have grown, improved, and honed our offerings. However, the site has not grown with us – its a bit stale, we’ve learned better ways to build, and the UX could be better.

As Firefly Partners, reviews our website and re-brand, you’re invited to join the journey and get an inside look as we implement our tried and true Firefly Way process on ourselves.

My role on Firefly Partner’s website rebuild is Project Manager. Just as I will guide the internal Firefly ‘client’ team through the branding, discovery, design, development, testing, and launch phases, I am your guide in this series. Our process started a few months ago and I look forward to sharing the takeaways and lessons learned from the fun and challenges we tackle.

I, also, hope that sharing our process and allowing you to peek behind the curtain helps you reflect upon your own brand, website, unique differentiators, and how you measure the impact of the work you put into your branding and communications channels. 

Let’s kick if off with branding.   

We love our logo and love our colors – don’t expect those to change.

But our messaging doesn’t tell our story well anymore.

Branding involves much more than a logo mark, a tagline, and a color palette. That is why we called in the big guns to give us some outside perspective. We partnered with our friends at Good and Partners to help guide us through the re-brand experience.  We think it is important to gain perspective outside of your organization, and enjoyed the unique point of view that Good and Partners was able to share with our team.

I really think Sarah Hubbard, founder of Good and Partners, hits the nail on the head when she describes branding:

“Branding is not just about the logo- in fact, the real heart of a rebrand is the messaging. We so often see organizations that both internally and externally share really inconsistent messages about who they are, what they do, what their process is, how they are different, and why it matters. Getting to the heart of that is really the foundation for the rest of the brand and visual identity. A strong brand should clearly share what makes you unique, and then the visuals just further support that. ”

In that time, our staff and re-brand project team mainly focused on messaging.

  1. Who are Firefly’s target audiences? (yes, progressive social good, but even deeper)
  2. What is our value proposition?
  3. How do we better talk about our services?  

You’ll be seeing the answers to these questions as the series progresses and we talk more about discovery, design, and content strategy.  

Before you learn our answers, I called Sarah Hubbard up and got her take on how our re-brand process went.

Patrick: What is your favorite part about the process? 

Sarah:Discovery, and the initial interviews to dig into the key mission and vision of the organization. It is in this stage that we see the differences in how staffers and stakeholders are talking about the work, as well as getting to the heart of what is most important about the company. This is really where the true aha moments happen for our clients. One way to think about it is to consider what about your work gets you out of bed in the morning, what your favorite experiences on the job are, and what is the true and lasting impact that you are making with your work. Once we have those more in-depth conversations, the services, structure, process, and other organizational storytelling is much easier to craft. 

How is branding bigger than just fonts and colors? How can it be Impactful?  

“The fonts and colors are important, but almost an afterthought to the real core message. If you think about brands that you admire, most often they are visually appealing, but are also pulling at some sort of emotion in us. Excitement, energy, nostalgia, empathy, inspiration, etc. The messaging matches the look, and what I take away as a consumer is a deep story about those brands, I know something meaningful about them, and therefore feel a connection- that doesnt happen by accident- it is intentionally built into great brand strategy. My favorite brand right now is All Birds- they are a sustainable footwear brand out of New Zealand. Their branding is clear about what makes them unique, it’s simple, visually appealing and their brand personality is really fun. Their icon is a sheep due to their wool shoes, and the emails have him dancing all over the screen- it is a refreshing break from your typical email spam. They were also one of the first brands to take a stand and support front-line workers during COVID- offering free shoes to ANY frontline worker who emailed them. I took note, I love their product, and I will be a customer for a while now. ”

What is often the most challenging part of rebranding?  

“I think ensuring that the key stakeholders at any company realize the true value of prioritizing brand work can be a challenge. It has a direct impact on the bottom line whether that be sales or growing a nonprofit donor base, but it often gets put on the backburner because branding is understood only as a logo. Also- change is hard and changing the way you speak about your work and organization takes practice. I have never seen a branding project NOT lead to greater internal clarity, re-energized staff, and of course since there is clarity around the work, it makes it much easier for the right audiences to find and connect with you. I think branding really packs a huge bang for the buck if done right. ”

Anything specific you’d want to call out about the Firefly project?  

What a fun brand! Firefly has a great visual identity, but it was important that the energy and importance behind the Firefly itself was first brought into the look and feel. On a more foundational level, the way Firefly handles projects and the experience the company provides to its clients is really unique. We just had to define the brand personality, and use that to re-organize and re-work some of the messages to ensure that the true uniqueness of the Firefly client experience was front and center.”


Stay tuned for as we go deeper into discovery! 

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