For ten years, Rumble Marketing has been helping clients tell their brand stories. Often this involves changing or updating a company’s visual identity. But just as often it means guiding clients in discovering whether a new visual identity is really needed at all. Now Rumble is the client – and it was our turn to find out if it was time to launch a logo and visual identity system. We started by asking the hard questions we would ask any client.
Hard question number one: Is a brand refresh really necessary? “As we began using our identity on a wider variety of materials, especially case studies, we started having challenges,” said Carol Schiller, Rumble’s Founder. “The goal is always to elevate the client’s brand, and show how we helped them. But the Rumble identity had a tendency to compete instead.”
The design team was making ad-hoc choices in order to solve some of the challenges, but sometimes that resulted in changes that weren’t part of the original design system. It was time to take a step back and have a fresh look.
“The epiphany came when we found ourselves considering a weak-kneed workaround for a collateral piece. I looked up and asked the team, ‘Isn’t this exactly the kind of brand dilution we advised a client against using last week?’ That was our wake-up call” – Carol Schiller
The next big question is: What’s broken? Sometimes marketing leaders find themselves inventing problems to justify a logo or design system change. Once you’ve identified legitimate reasons for a refresh, it’s important to articulate them, to know what problems you’re trying to solve for. Additional issues may also come up in the design exploration process.
The Rumble identity needed a change, but it was also important to identify those elements that were working and had existing brand equity. For some brands, a design element, color, or font style has become recognizable to the point that it has meaning for customers. For Rumble, the goal was an updated design that maintained the essence of the original visual identity, while at the same time solving the problems that had cropped up as the agency matured and developed an enterprise client base.
“We did explore some revolutionary changes – designs that put an entirely new face on Rumble – but we realized that a wholesale change wasn’t what was needed.” – Sarah Butterfield, Senior Art Director
A thoughtful evolution – with consideration for the many ways the brand is used today – was the right answer for Rumble. The design team explored colors, fonts, graphic elements, imagery, and the logo itself. Then, it was important to stress-test the new design by trying it out on business-critical materials like case studies, presentations, email signatures, and swag. “The new visual identity system provides us with more versatile graphic elements that we can apply with consistency to different materials,” said Andrea Herrick, Senior Art Director.
In addition to understanding when a brand refresh is really needed, identifying visual items that have equity, and testing the new solution with real-world applications, Rumble advises clients to make sure they understand the full cost of changing identity elements before getting started. This means assessing tangible costs and timing, as well as the cost of promoting the change.
“Looking at logo and color options can be a lot of fun. But it’s equally important to inventory everything that will have to change and budget for that change – from envelopes and the website to signage, vehicles, and packaging.” – Liz Behlke, Brand Strategy and Communications Director
Collaborating on the Rumble brand refresh was an opportunity for the whole team to be both client and creative. This sparked a lot of discussion about the kinds of decision making clients go through. “Making a change to a brand should never be taken lightly,” said Carol. “By asking ourselves the hard questions we would ask any client, we feel we’ve landed on a solution for the Rumble brand that elegantly solves our problems and sets us up for another decade – and more – of growth.”