August 4, 2021

June 28, 2021

Why We Decided to Rebrand

Strategy
Brand Execution
Brand Identity
News

August 4, 2021

Why We Decided to Rebrand

Strategy
Brand Execution
Brand Identity
News
In our work, one of things we help clients identify is when they have a brand gap. The term “brand gap” was coined by branding thought leader Marty Neumeier and refers to the chasm that exists for many businesses when the perception of what a business is or offers doesn’t match with what that company actually provides.

Over the last few years, our own brand gap has been widening. That’s because as our business focus changed, our identity did not change with it. We have been evolving to specialize in branding and we have been intentionally working to strengthen and develop the brand branch of our agency. This sets us apart from other agencies because of the level at which we specialize in brand strategy, diagnosing hurdles and finding opportunities. Our focus has now shifted from being a full-service marketing agency to a brand firm. Today, any work we take on is brand related with an emphasis on starting with brand strategy.

August 4, 2021

Why We Decided to Rebrand

Strategy
Brand Execution
Brand Identity
News
In our work, one of things we help clients identify is when they have a brand gap. The term “brand gap” was coined by branding thought leader Marty Neumeier and refers to the chasm that exists for many businesses when the perception of what a business is or offers doesn’t match with what that company actually provides.

Over the last few years, our own brand gap has been widening. That’s because as our business focus changed, our identity did not change with it. We have been evolving to specialize in branding and we have been intentionally working to strengthen and develop the brand branch of our agency. This sets us apart from other agencies because of the level at which we specialize in brand strategy, diagnosing hurdles and finding opportunities. Our focus has now shifted from being a full-service marketing agency to a brand firm. Today, any work we take on is brand related with an emphasis on starting with brand strategy.

The more we focused on branding, the wider our brand gap grew. Three of our team members attended intense trainings with Level C, led byMarty Neumeier and Andy Starr, to gain certification as Certified BrandStrategists. Everything we did started to be funneled through the processes of branding. Like other businesses, our company has intentionally evolved to meet new demands and specialize in a service that we truly believe in. Because we have put ourselves through the branding process, we know that one of our ideal customer personas is a business owner whose business is growing and evolving.We realized that we had become our own ideal client.

Why the shift? Because while working with dozens of clients over the years, we have learned the immense power of branding as a business tool. To truly achieve your business goals, it is wise to start with brand strategy. Branding is proactive reputation management. The first step to managing that reputation is deciding what you want your business’s reputation to be. This process is what sets our clients up for success.  

Our team is committed to always doing what is best for our clients. During our years of experience, we have learned that what’s best for our clients is to dig into their own “why” and other key components of their business through the branding process. This paves the path for a more intentional brand with brand identity and brand execution that is thoughtful, creative and goal-driven. When all of these components work together, businesses are better prepared to connect with their ideal customers. They are strategically working towards their goals, which often includes growing their business and increasing revenue.

Our growing brand gap

One of the first indicators of our brand gap was our name,Armstrong Marketing Solutions. The word “marketing” places us in a category of services that no longer described our primary focus. Talking to potential clients and members of the community, our business development team encountered challenging conversations when trying to explain that, although our name was Armstrong Marketing Solutions, our focus was really branding.

Taking our own medicine

In 2020, we sat down and put ourselves through our own brand strategy process. What came out of it was clear: we needed to change somethings if we were going to accomplish our goals and best serve our clients.

So, we treated our own brand as we would treat a client’s.

Brand Strategy

We had, just a couple of years earlier, updated our brand strategy, but we wanted to do a gut check to ensure that it was still true to who we are and our goals as a business.

Revisiting the brand strategy, we realized the core of who we are had not changed and our brand pillars were still accurate. We made light adjustments to strengthen and focus on strategy and when that fully checked out, we moved onto identity. 

Brand Identity

Our new name

Once our strategy was solidified, we engaged in our naming process to arrive at our new name: Hardy Brands.

First, “hardy” is a great word that so accurately describes what we do. It means bold, brazen and able to endure challenging conditions.One of our brand pillars is “Grit.” We define this as having the drive to work through challenges and really just giving a shit. So, “Hardy” was a nice fit.Including “Brands” in the name was a no-brainer. A great name is simple, easy to say and spell and often reduces confusion about what a company does. Because of the speed bumps we experienced with our previous name, we knew the word“Brands” should be included in the new name.

Our new tagline

Our new tagline is “Success Through Strategy.” So much is packed into this short phrase! On first read, it says exactly what we do; we get to the core of who you are through strategy and by building your brand on that, you are set up for success in the long term. It also touches on how great brands are intentionally built through a planned approach; they don’t just happen. Through our brand scaffolding process, a brand is created through stages, not all at once, so this speaks to our process. The smart tone in the tagline provides an opportunity to create a balance between that and the friendly, approachable aspects of our new brand identity. It also speaks to how we connect an organization’s brand to its day-to-day operations in order to reach its business goals; they have to work together.

Our new logo

We will forever love the AMS water buffalo, but she got the ax with the other brand elements that were no longer working. Our new Hardy logo visually references the language of trademarking to communicate a sense of ownership over your brand that comes from engaging in our branding process. The logotype gives off a friendly and approachable vibe while still feeling sophisticated. Like the systems we create for our clients, our logo is not just one singular mark that is meant to do all of the heavy lifting to represent the brand. We have a full logo set with a variety of elements that will serve us indifferent applications to create brand awareness and recognition of the Hardy brand as needed.

Our colors

The most noticeable colors for the Hardy brand are the eye-catching tangerine (accent) and merlot (primary). Less obvious are the cool gray background and darker gray accent. Together, these four colors are the linchpin that connects all aspects of the brand’s visual language. Color is so incredibly important to a brand and we believe our new palette feels fresh, friendly, energetic and confident (all words that we used during strategy sessions to describe our culture).

Brand Execution

A new website

Because websites are such an important touchpoint and serve as the virtual front door for any business, we took on the task of designing and developing a new site for Hardy.

Like we would with any client, we touched back to our brand strategy to guide us in how our website needed to serve as a tool for our business development team, differentiate us from our competitors and communicate our value and expertise in branding. Using our customer personas created during the strategy, we considered how our ideal clients (engaged business owners who are starting a business or ready to grow an existing one) would interact with the site.

We needed to communicate how we don’t just massage existing brands; we diagnose at a deep level to create cohesive brands for serious businesses. Simply put, our old website contributed to our brand gap; so it was time to fix it at a deep level. 

Other fun stuff

One of our brand pillars is “Engaging,” which we define as “Don’t be boring!” Keeping this in mind, we made brand execution decisions about how to launch the brand. In addition to a content marketing plan, we came up with some other things we hoped would delight our audience. We sent out a branded gift box that contained, among other things, a freeze dried ice cream sandwich called “holy huck!” crafted by our friends over at Gastro Gnome. So fun and so yum!

Full transparency (because being transparent is a big part of who we are)

Our rebrand took a lot longer than we expected. We had to make a significant investment in internal team hours, and we hit a few bumps along the way. Early on, we had chosen a different name, but, when we surveyed some of our existing clients, they didn’t connect with it as we had hoped. We had to start the naming process over. Then, trademarking the name we finally landed on, Hardy, had some roadblocks (three months’ worth) before eventually being green lit. Our website, like any other high-caliber site, took as much time to design and develop as a small house. And, overall, we had to keep tweaking and refining, redrawing, rewriting, changing a word here and there, brainstorming, testing and researching. But that’s the process. That’s what we do for clients, and we were committed to treating our brand with the same care.

Putting ourselves through the same process provided incredible insight into what we do in a way we have not before experienced.Doing so has strengthened our processes. As committed learners and improvers, we welcomed the challenge and were open to evaluating our processes while we were going through it. That’s because, at the end of the day, Hardy is about doing what’s best for our clients to help them succeed. Shining a light on our processes allowed us to look at what we do in a whole new way, so that, in the end, we adapt to better help our clients.

Ultimately, we hope that the rebrand will help us to close our brand gap and reach our business goals, which include a noticeable decrease in inquiries that are not brand related and an increase in sales conversions.

We have learned, through our work and our own experiences that it is absolutely critical that how you present your business matches your brand strategy. If your business is experiencing a brand gap or you would like to talk with a member of our team about brand strategy, we hope you’ll call us.We’d love the chance to chat with you.

want to chat? give shane a ring

We’re always eager to talk branding with interested business owners.

You might also be interested in...

About Us

Like our work, the Hardy team is an embodiment of the perfect balance of strategy and creative. We’ve cultivated a team of certified brand specialists and strategists, designers, copywriters and marketing professionals who are ferocious about helping you succeed.

learn more

Expertise

 Check out the four key areas of branding that, when they work together, empower you to own your brand, build strong bonds with your customers and crush business goals. 

learn more