Creating an Independent Logo Under the Umbrella of an Established Brand
A premier leadership development program, Leadership Montana, is a collaborative organization that brings Montanans together to build partnerships, strengthen leadership skills, and foster personal growth. The organization’s goal is to nurture thoughtful leaders, helping them better understand Montana’s issues as a state.
Within Leadership Montana is the Masters Class program. Only open to alumni of Leadership Montana, the Masters Class allows participants to further their education and continue a more in-depth leadership experience. Not only does The Wendt Agency have several alumni of the Leadership Montana program, but also have alumni of the Masters Class itself.
Leadership Montana asked the Wendt team to develop a distinct logo for the Masters Class. In taking on this project, it was our goal to create a logo that fit within Leadership Montana branding and would be independent on its own.
One of Wendt’s core pillars is to create strategies and solutions that build connections. We are grateful for our partnership that continues to help Leadership Montana grow their brand. Want to learn more about Leadership Montana, Masters Class, and see the logo in action? Please visit www.leadershipmontana.org.
Here at The Wendt Agency, we have been fortunate enough to welcome five new team members in the last 14 months. It’s been wonderful for us, but we wondered how the newest Wendt-ites were feeling about things. So, we asked them how things were going and, honestly, the answers are too amazing not to share.
-The Wendt Agency
March is National Women’s History month. This spotlight calls attention to all the accomplishments of strong, smart, and determined women who have influenced public policy, growth of companies and organizations, and initiatives to make our lives and world better. At Wendt, we can look to our own history to celebrate a woman who guided our company for 50 years. Her name was Zelma Hay Schroder.
Zelma was born in Belt, MT in 1906. This was a time when women couldn’t vote, but also when the push for broad-based economic and political equality and social reforms for women had begun. When Zelma graduated from high school, she went on to get her degree in journalism from the University of Montana. She decided that advertising was going to be her path. She was hired by L.W. Wendt in 1929 to be a copywriter for his advertising agency. Then the great depression hit, and Wendt was operated in L.W.’s basement, where they made calendars and advertising specialties to keep the agency afloat. In 1944, L.W. moved from Great Falls to Washington D.C., and he made his son, Wallace, and Zelma equal business partners with the charge to continue to build Wendt as a strong and successful Montana business. They worked side-by-side for over twenty years building their business, expanding their footprint all across Montana, and constructing a brand-new building to house the agency on the north side of town. Zelma led the construction effort, a role that was not typical for a woman during that time.
Wallace passed away in 1968 following heart surgery, and Zelma was named President. In the midst of emotional turmoil, the agency was reorganized to bring forward two vice presidents and a secretary to be a part of Zelma’s leadership team. As the agency’s chief executive officer, she led Wendt for 11 more years. During that time, the agency’s client list grew throughout the Northwest, and Wendt’s professional staff doubled in size. Zelma recognized the importance of being actively involved and giving back to her community. She gave her time to numerous organizations, including as president of the Columbus Hospital advisory board (Benefis Health System), chairwoman of the College of Great Falls President’s Council (University of Providence), the Chamber’s Community Betterment Committee, Cascade County Mental Health Association, and the YWCA board. She was named Woman of the Year in 1979 by the Great Falls Advertising Federation. Zelma retired from Wendt in 1979 at the young age of 73. She gave 50 years of her life to her passion—Wendt.
When she retired from Wendt, Zelma said, “I’ve never believed men got all the brains and women were meant to sit back. And I was fortunate to be among the people who accepted me as a person. I did my job and that caused me to float to the top.”
We honor Zelma today, as she has paved the way for other Wendt women leaders to be successful in growing and sustaining this company for over 90 years.
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.