In a world where distinctiveness is increasingly celebrated, understanding and embracing your brand identity has never been more crucial. But what if, upon examination, things feel in need of a change? That is when it is time for a rebrand!
For Magnum Electric Inc., headquartered in West Fargo, the time for a rebrand came earlier this year when the company changed its logo and branding for the first time since its inception in 1989. Heading the job was Marketing Manager Shaniah Kaiser who was hired for the rebrand and to establish consistent marketing.
“Before this, I did marketing and graphic design at Rocking Horse Farm and its sister marketing firm The Promersberger Company, where I gained most of my experience in branding,” Kaiser said. “I was nervous about spearheading such a big task, but excited for the opportunity. I feel like every graphic designer’s dream is to have the creative freedom to take on a big project like this.”
While the stale branding was a major factor in the change, there were other reasons.
- Magnum Electric was commonly being confused with Magnum trucking, who has a similar logo
- The company also never had a full-time marketer on staff causing inconsistency with brand identity and execution.
- Magnum Electric is growing and new buildings means new signage!
- Most people are unaware Magnum Electric handles projects nationwide with locations all over the United States
Just two months into Kaiser’s role with Magnum Electric, the rebranding began. Overall, the process took just over a year.
1. Branding Strategy
Before getting into the design, Kaiser felt it was important to get everyone on the same page. She started the rebranding process by meeting with key people at the company to establish what Magnum Electric is and where it’s going. To do this, she utilized worksheets to define their Brand Strategy which includes Brand Core (Purpose, Vision, Values), Brand Positioning (Audience, Market, Goals), and Brand Persona (Personality, Voice, Tagline).
Kaiser presented a number of mood boards to help steer the team’s direction.
“Creating a Brand Strategy sets the foundation to influence and inform all our visual and verbal communications in order to establish a memorable brand,” Kaiser said. “Even though the strategy questions seemingly have nothing to do with design, it’s important to trust the process.”
Asking questions like, ‘Where do you see the company in 5, 10, 15 years?’ allowed the Magnum team to dream big and clarify where they want the rebrand to take them
“In my role, it was important to guide the conversation and ask the right questions to narrow down our focus,” Kaiser said. “Creating a strategy helped us objectively decide what will be best for Magnum Electric’s brand instead of going off what people like or don’t like.”
The strategy process took three major meetings to establish.
2. The Mood Boards
Once Kaiser gathered all the information needed for the Brand Strategy, she was able to start the creative process by translating that strategy into design. She created mood boards based on words, concepts, and overall atmospheres laid out in the Brand Strategy.
“I looked for visual references such as colors, images, and other graphics that could represent three key ideas for the mood boards,” Kaiser said. “This helped me visually represent what direction the design could take us.”
3. The Decision
After receiving feedback from the mood boards, Kaiser finally went to work on designing logos. She then presented three brand identity concepts, each with their own color schemes, to the final decision-makers.
It was relatively easy to eliminate one of the three options,” Kaiser said. “We went back and forth on the final two options for a while until we were able to select the final design. From there, we only needed to make a few minor color adjustments, and then we were ready to run. From the mood boards, they had originally stated they liked the color blue. However, I felt it was important to provide them with varying color options, so they were able to feel good about their ultimate decision.”
Is there anything you would do differently?
“The only thing I wish I could have changed was the timing of the Brand Strategy meetings. Due to our fast-paced work environment and scheduling, each meeting was almost a month apart. This meant we had to spend a little extra time reviewing what was established in the previous meeting. The process would have moved along faster if we could have been able to gather everyone more efficiently.”
What advice would you give to other companies out there looking to rebrand?
“I would say focus on three options because it’s usually easy to eliminate one of the three options right off the bat. When brainstorming taglines, we picked our top three best taglines and then chose one from there. When I did the mood boards, I only did three. When I designed the logos, I only presented three. If you present more than three options, it offers too much freedom—there are too many things to consider. Too many options make it harder to narrow down what you really like when you have too many things in front of you. Too many options can also make the process take longer in an already time-consuming project.”
“When I presented the final three logo concepts, I did it fluidly, moving from one to the next without giving them time to discuss,” Kaiser said. “I wanted them to see everything before forming opinions. At the end, they were all somewhat speechless, not expecting such a thorough presentation. I didn’t just show them the logos, I presented an entire brand identity with mockups showing how each concept would look on stationery, vehicles, hard hats, signage and other items. This allowed them to see how the logo could be implemented without investing too much time. Interestingly, Concept No. 1 1 was not the initial favorite on its own but seeing it in context changed the team’s perspective. After reviewing all the mockups and how it could be implemented, the team recognized the effectiveness of that particular logo. Ultimately narrowing it down to either Concept No. 1 or No. 3, we felt Concept 1 was the strongest choice. Overall, it was a team effort, and the decision makers were very supportive and open to my ideas because my designs were focused on what would be best for the brand. By investing our time and energy into the entire process, we were able to come to a decision we could all feel good about with a logo that will look just as great in 5-10 years.”