Using a Logo to Set the Tone for a New Business
A new business is literally a clean slate. There are no long-standing processes, no boxes of letterhead; there isn’t even a name. It’s both an exciting opportunity and a daunting challenge. When Ariel Overstreet-Adkins decided to open her own law office and reached out to us last year for help with the branding details, we knew our expertise could create a logo that would be both memorable and meaningful.
Overstreet-Adkins had already chosen a name: Bluebird Law & Public Affairs. The name resonated with her because her Grandmother Smitty loved bluebirds, saying they were good luck. Skiers refer to a good day on the slopes as a bluebird day. Just the sight of a bluebird still brings Overstreet-Adkins a spark of joy and excitement and signals spring and new beginnings. Certainly appropriate symbolism for a new business!
The Wendt creative team used all of those emotional connections as the foundation of a logo, sure to stand out in a world of mostly drab and staid law firm logos.
Several years ago, we contracted with a local firm to do some professional business consulting with the Wendt team. These consultants also happened to be my aunt and uncle. At the same time they were doing this work for us, they were in the process of opening a new office in downtown Great Falls. Many friends of theirs had provided décor to help make their offices feel welcoming and comfortable. One of the gifts was a 3-foot tall stuffed shaggy dog. Well, my aunt and uncle did not feel that the addition of a stuffed shaggy dog to their beautiful office was the bomb! So, in comes this stuffed shaggy dog to one of our staff consulting sessions. Cheerfully, regifted to the Wendt team! Promptly, he became a treasured part of our group. He was dubbed Augustus Gus. Now, it would be fun to report that that name has some sort of extraordinary significance to our agency. But frankly, it does not. That’s okay, it’s still a great name! We gleefully welcomed Gus, the cool new mascot, into our agency world.
Now Gus’ job description is varied, and as an integral part of Team Wendt, some of his responsibilities include:
- Stand up straight when someone walks by, and hope for a pat on the head, but don’t beg
- Lounge in offices that are not being occupied by staff — at the moment
- Make new staff members feel welcomed, warm, and fuzzy
- Join all holiday team functions, and happily participate whenever someone carries you into the event
- Be totally huggable when children stop by the office to visit, or make them cry if you’re in the mood
- Hide in dark places and scare the heck out of teammates whenever possible, then roll around laughing on the floor, or strike a pose for a social media post
- Never blink when guarding the front or back door from intruders
- Allow “real” dogs in the office, as long as they don’t stay forever
- Happily wear hats, wigs, scarves, or masks, even when they are uncomfortable
- Keep your hair messy and convey confidence that a messy mop is fashionable at any time
- Be the namesake of Wendt’s Spotify account and proudly own it
- Always maintain a distinctive stare
Gus provides a tremendous amount of entertainment, comfort, and joy to our space. We can’t imagine agency life without this quirky, kind of cute, mostly ugly, stuffed mutt.
It Takes More Than Pretty Colors to Create a Useful Logo
At The Wendt Agency, we understand that a client’s logo is a living, breathing, reflection of their brand. It tells the world who they are and what they represent – sometimes without any words at all. Six years ago, we began working with a new client, at the time called Montana Family Education Savings Program (MFESP).
One of our first projects was a comprehensive rebrand, including a new name and logo. We worked closely with internal stakeholders to build a brand truly reflective of the organization’s mission and vision – changing the name from Montana Family Education Savings Program, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, to the more emotionally connected and aspirational one of Achieve Montana. The new name highlights the positive results of reaching a goal, such as saving for higher education.
Next, our creative team envisioned a new logo – simple, compelling, and memorable, using every element to tell the story of Achieve Montana.
We carried the new name and brand image into all aspects of outreach using strong imagery, meaningful headlines, informative copy, and an inviting call to action. All of it centered around the dreams and aspirations of both children and their families.
Of course, this logo works in all sizes and across all Achieve Montana’s communication efforts. You can check it out on the website.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the question is not if there will be a crisis, but when there will be a crisis. In some form or another, things will not go exactly as we planned. It could be anything from a mistake someone in the office makes to a world-wide crisis, but it will be something. Having a strategic crisis communication plan in place and ready to go can help your business get through the situation and recover. And yes, the time to create that is before the crisis actually happens.
A well-crafted crisis communication plan provides structure during a very chaotic time. It’s a roadmap giving you solid directions on where to go and how to deal with the less than ideal situation your company is navigating. It helps you communicate both inside and outside of your company, keeping everyone up to date on the situation and ensuring the information is consistent across the board.
So, where do you start? Here are a few questions you should ask and answer to create a successful crisis communication plan:
- What is a crisis?
- Yes, you should actually define this. Not every issue or problem is a crisis, so figure out what is a crisis for your business so you can plan accordingly.
- Who manages a crisis?
- Someone needs to be in charge, or you will find yourself with everyone in charge and that’s not helpful at all.
- Who needs information?
- Probably lots of different people – managers, employees, customers, vendors, shareholders, government officials, the media, your owned social media, etc. Make a list and check it twice.
- What information do they need?
- Your employees will have different questions and concerns than the local media. Figure out what info is most important to each of the groups you need to inform, who is responsible for getting them that information, and how that information is distributed.
- Who is the official company spokesperson?
- Who is the public face of your company?
- If there are different contacts for the media or employees – make sure that information gets distributed to those people, so they know who to reach out to.
- How detailed do you need to be?
- Maybe you just need a single crisis communication plan or maybe you need several to allow for some specific potential crises. Both can work but take the time now to figure out which is the best fit for your company.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you will have a solid start to your plan. Remember, you won’t have time to create your crisis communication strategy when you are in the middle of a crisis. You will have a lot of other things to deal with. So, spend a little time now to create one – trust me – you won’t regret it.
The closing of one year and the start of a new, is often a time of reflection, goal setting, and new perspectives. While one may be reflecting on their personal growth over the last year, setting resolutions for a healthier diet and more exercise, or vowing to watch fewer cat videos on YouTube, the new year is a chance to start fresh. It is a time to orient yourself toward new goals and commitments. The same holds true with marketing and advertising. It is a time to reflect on the campaigns that were completed throughout the year and evaluate their performance – who your message is resonating with and what tactics are driving the most awareness and sales. However, the end of the year is not the only time these types of conversations and evaluations should be taking place. We are huge proponents of digging deep into data and gathering insights and measurable outcomes of all marketing campaigns – whether in the first quarter or fourth, there are always lessons to be learned that will guide future marketing decisions and strategy.
With all marketing efforts, the goal should always be to optimize your strategy. This is impossible to do if you are not measuring results on an ongoing basis. In addition to campaign completion reporting, it is critical to constantly monitor and optimize your advertising. Regularly view your analytics to understand how people are reacting, measure the conversions that are happening during the campaign, optimize creative assets that are having stronger performance, monitor social posts, and proactively respond and adjust as needed in real-time – all examples of data gathering and reporting that are invaluable to the success of any marketing campaign. Reviewing data such as website analytics, blog leads, email open rates, social media engagement, conversion metrics, and SEO performance on a regular and frequent basis will help align your decision making and strategy with your defined goals and KPI’s.
So, if you find yourself still in the new year mode of creating those resolutions and are not already conducting regular reviews of your marketing activities, consider developing an action plan around the types of data you are able to collect. Then schedule regular check-ins to review this data, gather insights, and use these to shift your future strategies as needed.
Jennifer Fritz, Vice President of Client Services
The Wendt Agency
“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something” – Max Lucado
During a period of transition my family experienced years ago, I found myself in a place of need that I had not anticipated, and this brought me a great deal of embarrassment. We were struggling to cover our day-to-day expenses, and we did not know how we would give our children the magical Christmas we had experienced as children. Someone in the community had heard of our situation and asked if we could use additional gifts for our family. I declined as there were certainly families with a greater need than ours. However, this “angel” did not take no for an answer, and a few weeks later called with pick-up information for our family’s gifts. I, again, told her other people were in greater need than us, but she stopped me and said, “There is a point of grace in receiving, and you will pay it forward in the future, I have no doubt. “
Fast forward to 2020 and I am so thankful to be spearheading the Wendt holiday giving program this year. As a new employee, I was not surprised to learn that Wendt has a tradition of giving during the holiday season. Each year we strive to give back to our community in a meaningful way.
Giving Back to Our Community
This year we chose to adopt the Youth Resource Center and our team collected items from the center’s wish list to aid them in their mission of, “Meeting the physical, social, and emotional needs of vulnerable youth in a low-barrier, safe, secure, and loving environment.” The YRC provides access to a hot meal, snacks, laundry, internet access, and even a shower to disadvantaged young people in our community. In addition to basic needs, they also provide service coordination so a young person in need of medical, dental, or even behavioral health services can receive this assistance right there at the center. The Wendt team loaded up the center’s shelves with canned food, snacks, water bottles, gift cards, and so much more. By giving just a little, the Youth Resource Center will be able to do so much for some of the most vulnerable in our community.
With all the challenges 2020 has brought, I believe it has also strengthened our sense of community. We are looking out for each other more than ever. There have been numerous opportunities for me to give and receive through the years. I am so thankful to have found a company that values community and looks for ways to give back all year long. No one knows when they may be the one that needs assistance. It is essential that we all show grace and compassion as we move through this life. If we keep our eyes open and our ears tuned, we will be sure to find a need we may be a part of fulfilling.
Jennifer Beisecker, Accounting Assistant
The Wendt Agency