Posts in Branding
Brand Evolution & Logo Updates

To update a logo, or not to update a logo... That is the question. If consistency is the key to brand recognition, why would someone ever dream of tweaking or changing a logo?

Services change. Products get reformulated. New competition emerges. And even if nothing changes about the way in which you do business, the world that influences your target customers certainly will. 

According to Cambridge Dictionary, brand evolution is “the continuing process of improving a brand as markets and fashions change.” Notice how that reads “improving a brand as markets and fashions change” and not “changing a brand as markets and fashions improve.” The difference is subtle and somewhat subjective, but an “evolving brand” and a “changing brand” are very different things. 

Examples are always fun, so let’s look at some logos!

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There's a clear loser. Sorry, Gap. In case you've forgotten, Gap overhauled their logo back in 2010, and the change was a monumental disaster. The logo update was an attempt to "modernize" the brand, but it became a visual manifestation of an identity crisis. Gap lost touch with what consumers love most about the brand... classic, all-American style. The new logo may have been "modern" (even that's up for debate), but it certainly didn't speak to the company's core values. 

Gap reverted to their old logo within a week. A branding crisis was averted, but can you imagine how much money was spent on the planning, design, release and subsequent PR damage control?

Change is scary. Evolution is an entirely different feeling. It's exciting.

Spring is proving to be a season of change at Rooted ID. We've spent a great deal of effort improving processes and streamlining efficiencies over the last year. Our recent move has been the most obvious step in that journey, but even more exiting things are in the works... 

 
Our logo has been in play since 2010. It has served us well, but we’re exploring some fresh ways to represent what people enjoy most about Rooted ID. All brands develop a better understanding of themselves and their customers over time... It’s only natural that marketing messages would evolve to highlight what customers and company culture deem most important.
— Jennifer Morrow, Rooted ID Founder
 

Yes, you read that right. We are updating our logo! It will debut on a new Rooted ID website that we hope to launch later this season. 

A lot of soul searching has led us to this place, and we figure there are plenty of other business owners in a similar boat. If you are considering a logo update or new logo for your business, here are a few things to keep in mind...

  • What do my most loyal customers enjoy about my brand?
  • What makes my business different from existing or emerging competitors?
  • Is there a simpler or clearer way to communicate my unique strengths? 
  • Would a new or updated logo affect other marketing materials?
  • If so, would new marketing materials (website, print collateral, etc.) enhance my sales efforts

Ready to explore some options? Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation, and be sure to stay tuned for our big reveal. 

Check Out the Tradition

Pilates Trainer Jessye Schmalian had dreams of opening her very own studio. She decided to share that dream with us earlier this year, and we are so glad that she did! 

Our journey together began in September. Jessye had a strong sense of who she was and the sort of training environment that she wanted to provide, but she was unsure of how to communicate that in written and visual messages.  We scheduled a PLANT session in order to develop a brand identity inspired by Jessye's love of the classical Pilates method. PLANT resulted in a new name, brand messaging and some general marketing copy (for web and print use)...


BUSINESS NAME:

The Tradition

PRIMARY BRAND MESSAGE:

A Classical Pilates Studio

SECONDARY BRAND MESSAGE:

Explore Core Teachings. Find Core Strength.

ROOTED ID:

The Tradition, a Pilates studio specializing in private instruction, encourages individuals to dig deeper into the classical method to find core strength and mind/body balance. 


We applied all of our PLANT findings in the design process in order to produce a look and feel that was consistent with the new brand identity and written messages...


Logo:

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Submark:

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Business Card:

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Website:

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This branding project has been an absolute pleasure from start to finish, and we look forward to sharing more of our work with you very soon. In the meantime, please visit  TheTraditionStudio.com to learn more about Mount Pleasant's newest Pilates studio!

Another Exciting Year

2015 was a busy year! The Rooted ID team completed 23 PLANT Sessions, 15 new websites, 10 logo designs and no less than 85 print collateral designs. Every project is special, but the design work that follows a PLANT Session is uniquely special. A powerful brand identity forms when written and visual messages collide, and that is what PLANT is all about!  Here are few businesses who completed that process in 2015...

THE TRADITION -  COPYWRITING, LOGO, WEBSITE & PRINTWORK

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BARONY TAVERN - COPYWRITING, WEBSITE & PRINTWORK

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SHARP CASUALWEAR - COPYWRITING, LOGO, WEBSITE & PRINTWORK

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MCSWAIN HIOTT CPAS - WEBSITE & PRINTWORK

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Rooted ID is on track to serve even more businesses in 2016, and we look forward to sharing more highlights with you soon. 

We hope that your business is gearing up for an exciting year as well! If you have plans to enhance your branding and marketing efforts in 2016, please take a moment to learn more about our PLANT. FEED. GROW. process, and contact us to schedule a complimentary call. Until then, happy New Year!

Branding Your Small Business

I recently read a great Entrepreneur.com article by Jim Joseph about the most crucial aspect of brand positioning. In short, Joseph says to base your brand upon that which you do best, and he stresses the importance of separating yourself from “the rest of the pack” (your competition). 

I couldn't agree more.

It’s easier than ever to build a web presence and share your marketing message. It’s easier for everyone… Including your competitors, which means your business needs to do more than just show up. Your brand should be more than a cool logo or clever tagline. It should have substance. It should tell a story about who you are, what you do and how you do it.

Joseph describes brand positioning as “hard work,” and while I agree that it is serious mental exercise, it really isn’t all that complicated. Sometimes it just takes a fresh eye.

Want to build a brand for your small business? I invite you to learn more about our approach and the Rooted ID concept, and if the timing is right, email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary call.

Headshots & Company Photos: The Benefits of Using a Professional

The most challenging part of creating websites and print materials is often selecting imagery. Like logos, graphics, color palettes and font choices, imagery is an extension of your brand, and it can say A LOT about your business. Most business owners have not sought the help of a professional, and in lieu of professional photography they typically resort to one of the following:

  • Stock photography – Stock imagery can be effective when used strategically, but generally speaking, your customers and prospective customers will know stock photography when they see it. High quality images are available, but they tend to lack authenticity.
  • DIY photography – Do-It-Yourselfers typically lack the proper skills and equipment necessary to produce quality images. As a general rule, these images are more authentic than stock photography, but the quality is significantly lower.
  • “Free” images from the internet – Like stock photography, generic images found on the internet are not an authentic representation of your brand. Even worse, using images without the license to do so can result in legal action. 

If and when possible, hire a professional. A talented photographer can provide you with beautiful, high quality images. And to ensure that those images are a true reflection of your brand, seek the guidance of a marketing professional prior to your shoot. A successful photo shoot starts with an open dialogue between you, your photographer and your marketing team about the following:

  • Intended brand message
  • Photo shoot location (indoors/outdoors and specific locale)
  • Wardrobe
  • Props (if applicable)
  • Poses (body language and facial expressions)
  • General photography style

Professionals will also bring a lot to the table when it comes to cropping and editing images. Sometimes it’s these subtleties that can make all the difference.

Last year, the Rooted ID team embarked upon the company photo journey for ourselves. We wanted understated photos that sent a “candid but capable” message. The outdoor location was a no-brainer…  We’re a casual group that isn’t afraid of rolling up our sleeves. Our brand message is “put down some roots,” and our marketing motto is “strengthen your brand and grow your business.” Plant and growth metaphors are a consistent theme in our marketing materials, so incorporating trees into the shoot was a natural choice. 

The results (courtesy of Tanya Boggs Photography) were great!

At Rooted ID, we’re all about staying true to your brand, and we have found a photographer who shares our to-thine-own-self-be-true sentiment.

For more information about head shots and company photo tips, check out Tanya’s blog... and if you need help crafting a brand message, please email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary call.

Put Down Some Roots, A Case for Plant

In last week's Food for Thought post, Kaelyn made a strong case for why you shouldn't skimp on your logo design. At Rooted ID, we bring a level of expertise, research and thoughtfulness that you simply don't get from many graphic designers... especially those touting $75 logos. As Kaelyn pointed out, a logo is the face of your business... it is worth a little extra investment.

This week, I would like to discuss the intangible (and perhaps most vital) aspect of branding... your "Rooted ID". Not only is this our namesake, but it is something that we firmly believe should be defined prior to implementing any marketing efforts, including logo design.   

A Rooted ID is brand identity rooted in a clear understanding of who your customers are and what your promise to them is. We help small business owners define this during our first stage of marketing consulting, PLANT. While you may think that you want to skip this step and move right into design (logo, website, business card, etc.), let me make a case for PLANT...

  • Objectivity - Small business owners are often just too close to their concept. It is not uncommon for our clients to say "I have never looked at my business that way" upon completing PLANT. Having an objective 3rd party to discuss your business ideas is extremely helpful. We can provide that to you during PLANT and ongoing. 
  • Understanding - It would be irresponsible for us to make recommendations to you about your marketing if we didn't fully understand your business. Sure, we could ask questions during the design phase like many do, but your branding is more than design. It is about the experience that people have with your company across the board - in print, in person, online, with your employees, etc. PLANT addresses your branding in a comprehensive way.
  • Focus - The final product of PLANT is a document which serves as a road map for branding. This document will ultimately become the foundation for all of your marketing efforts. With it, we can create consistent visual and written/verbal marketing messages that are a true representation of your business. Often times, PLANT will flow right into logo design, web design, etc. It really helps guide the design process.   
  • Cost Savings - Ironically, spending the money for PLANT will save you money in the long run. The common focus gained results in streamlined creative services and smarter use of your marketing dollars. We even extend discounted service rates to clients who have completed PLANT.

Just as a tree gains strength from its root system, your business idea can take form and flourish when it is clearly rooted in a brand identity. If you can't clearly articulate what your brand is all about, there is no way that your marketing can. If consumers can't clearly understand what your business is all about through your marketing efforts, they likely won't become your customers. Through PLANT, we can help you put down some roots and grow your business. Interested? Contact Jennifer@RootedID.com.

BrandingJennifer Morrow
The $75 Logo

You need a logo. Your budget is limited. You want to spend as little as possible, and that offer for a $75 logo is mighty enticing... but please hear me out!

A logo is the face of your business. It is what consumers see first when they look at your website, business card, store signage, packaging and printed materials. Your logo will, for many people, help them decide if they want to do business with you. Your logo is worth a little extra investment and not only monetarily. Do some digging to ensure your chosen firm or designer is both established and qualified. 

$75 LOGO: THE FOLLOWING, NOT INCLUDED

1. Expertise. I was a newbie designer at one time, and I am not one to argue that only years of experience can prove expertise, but a thorough portfolio definitely can. 

2. Research. Good logo design is a result of A LOT of research. A designer will look at competitors within your market and region. They will search through imagery, typefaces, and color palettes in order to identify those that will visually communicate the right message for your brand.

3. Thoughtfulness. A logo needs to stand the test of time and work in many situations. You want your designer to really think about your logo. This means working out ideas by sketching and experimenting with typefaces and color. They will also consider how the logo will look on a website, brochure, business card or promotional product. A thoughtful designer will ensure that your logo is easily scale-able and produces well in one color.

I have seen a lot of people buy the $75 logo only to realize that it wouldn't work for their brand. That's because the person who produced that logo didn't take the time to do the things I've listed above. In reality, they've probably purchased stock imagery, chosen from one of 5 standard typefaces widely used (umm, Helvetica), and slapped it all together in an unimaginative color scheme. Maybe they used a drop shadow or gradient effect to fool you into thinking they actually invested some time into your design, but unfortunately those effects will only make your logo impossible to embroider and difficult to screen-print.

You are totally passionate and completely invested in your small business. It is, after all, a big deal. Don’t skimp on the logo. 

BrandingJennifer Morrow