Most firms go through a rebrand at some stage – and some do it more than once in a lifetime.
Society’s opinion about what looks good - what fits with the environment at any point in time – is continually changing. This change is fuelled by industries that drive style like the art world and by young people who think nothing of breaking norms.
The result is that the touch points of a firm, like its web site and business cards, can soon become out of congruence with the mainstream of similar businesses and with the expectation of its market.
Of course, the flip side of this environmental-fit discussion is that firms do change. As a result, they change the messages that they need to transmit to their markets. And they change the way they want to look and feel to their clients.
Our drive for a re-brand was a mix of all.
For us brand icons were important. It wasn’t what looked good that mattered but the meaning that this portrayed. To understand this, one must look back to the formation of TimelessTime.
Having spent many years in international business, working both ends of the clock with clients in the US and the Middle and Far East, we recognised only too well that managers in this situation worked what Manuel Castells called ‘timeless time’. Any idea of a bounded 9-5 work time outside of which was family and leisure time is foreign to such managers. We felt that as globalisation and ubiquitous ICT took hold, we’d all work in that timeless time – and so our new company name emerged and with it, the ethos of providing specialist support to those busy managers.
Our original logo emerged from discussion with a marketer and graphics artist – using a computer font, with the ‘timeless’ and 'time’ merged as was (and still is) common in software object naming. We then added people to the word and clocks to indicate time. So that’s how we got to where we were.
Brands get tired
Over time we had formed the view that the logo – the graphical embodiment of the brand – was tired and no longer met our needs. And yet nothing was wrong with the reasoning that had spawned it. We also wanted to change our marketing method – to embrace modern inbound automation tools and so the website structure needed overhauling too.
So, we launched the brand revision and website restructure initiative.
Over a period of just a week, we met with the guys from Agency Core in Edinburgh and talked brand values, adding the desire that the brand imagery emphasises people, forward movement and time, or at least timeless time and the paucity of time for today’s managers.
And during the meetings, we sketched the structure of the new site. We had decided that our existing site had become too cumbersome. In embracing the provision of free knowledge, the articles, blogs, videos and white papers had spread across the site. We now elected to take a minimalist approach, reflecting that paucity of time and the fact that today, no one reads extensively.
The new site was condensed, with all knowledge in one place, leaving the rest of the site to support our inbound marketing and marketing automation.
It took just one iteration to nail the logo (above). I guess that’s what happens when opinion about what’s wanted is so clearly formed.
The use of a head symbolises a firm that is about people. The flowing fronds or hair suggests forward motion – development and growth - left to right. The clock hands capture the time element and form a tick that symbolises positivity and quality - an idea coming from our quality certification marks. Those clock hands have now been formed into an elapsed time indicator for page loads with moving minute and second hands. How neat is that?!!
And we sustained the three colour set - with the dark blue/light blue contrast for strength and resilience and the yellow as a contrasting colour for detail.
That left just one thing – the strap line.
The strap line
There’s huge emotion around strap lines. In the nineties, they were all the rage, but less so now. And when we built the original logo, we embraced the benefits we brought to clients – “building competitive advantage through people”. But as the saying goes, this was way too passé.
Our new strap line came in a flash during a discussion with client Neil Edwards at The Marketing Eye. Neil was saying how language on web sites needed to reflect beliefs deeply held within the supplying company. And then the new strap line emerged – “because your people matter”.
Our new strap is simple, it can be digested with many positive connotations, but is indeed a deeply held belief here – in effect TimelessTime exists because the people that our clients employ matter. Those people are instrumental in helping our clients meet their strategic goals and it’s our job to maximise the contribution that those people make.
So, there it is. TimelessTime rebranded in an instant.
Our thanks to the guys at Agency Core – to Matt for the initial discussions and ideas, to Helen for the huge creativity and to our very own Andy Berry for realising it all.