The case of Forward Growth Strategies (FGS) is not unlike the case of every other small company in America. They have a product or service; they wish to sell that product or service; and they are passionate believers in the game-changing, world-bending status of that product or service. Also, not unlike every other small company in America, they are unsure how to go about spreading the gospel of said product or service. FGS approached Creative Rodeo with the need to redesign their current identity.
First step: better logo. Why? Because it is one of the few, tangible items of a company’s brand that can be controlled. A good logo encapsulates a company’s personality, culture, and service in a single stroke. A good logo amplifies and extolls the company’s mantra and is the visual cornerstone of a company’s identity system and visual language.
The professional sector that FGS competes in is a difficult one to define; the services are intangible and require a very specific set of skills: They are a multi-service consulting firm staffed with highly experienced planners and project managers and deal in policy planning and development, research, strategy and fiscal sustainability planning. It’s a public relations meets advocacy meets strategy meets we-make-you-better-from-behind-the-scenes skill set.
FGS’s current logo, unfortunately, conveys none of this.
Though there may be no such thing as a “bad logo” the FGS logo doesn’t give much insight or interest to what they do and how they wish to be perceived. Also, the competitive landscape that FGS occupies is beset with similar logos. It’s difficult to differentiate companies and, therefore, easy to dismiss FGS’s prowess as a player in the scene.
Goal One: Picture the Brandscape
Companies rarely exist in a vacuum, therefore, they always have competition. Whether large or small, at the top or bottom, there’s always someone competing for your customers—and vice versa. FGS’s passion, purpose, and vision are what drive their business. What they might find is that their passion, purpose, and vision are similar, if not identical to the competition.
Creative Rodeo completed a competitive audit for FGS to help define the brandscape and, therefore, help them differentiate. This also helps evaluate FGS’s nearest competitors and how those competitors might compare to the—potential—FGS brand.
What we found was though these companies vary somewhat in services and experience they vary very little in their visual makeup.
Visually they are uninformed, clichéd, clunky, and vacant of any substance relating to the company. They don’t evoke an emotional or intellectual response (“Hey, what’s that?” or “These people look like they know what they are doing.”) and certainly don’t speak to the experience and skills these companies are setting forth in their company rhetoric.
Goal Two: Visualize the Business
What is it that FGS does? And what could stick out? We began creating shapes and objects that reflected the skills and services mentioned above (strategy, advocacy, etc.). Some items and ideas stuck out more than others (direction, growth, guide, connect, plan, strategy) and those were rendered and refined.
Within those, one idea kept coming to the top: Advocacy. In everything FGS does as a business what they truly are is a facilitator—they take what a business is saying and doing and make it better, easier and more approachable. This is evident in their success at grant writing, PR, behind the scenes fiscal strategy, and so much more. One visual represents this sense of advocacy the best:
Goal Three: Refine
The “dialog box” was further refined to reflect a sense of advocacy and to show that FGS is the voice behind the voice (or within, in the logo’s case). FGS works within the established framework their client’s dictate and must take on that voice and, at the same time, use their own voice to affect their client’s goals.
Colors were researched to reach an optimal expression of personality:
Until the perfect color combination was achieved:
The new FGS logo evokes a great modern business persona, is clean and refined, energetic in its color yet very professional and makes sense within the confines of FGS’s vocation. At the same time, it looks nothing like any other brand in this business and will stand out nicely among their competitors. It is professional and serious yet approachable and, when used properly, will amplify the services FGS provides.
The good people at FGS were a joy to work with. They were informed and reacted very well to every step in the creative process and are, we think, energized with new vitality as they sally forth, new logo poised at the fore, and continue their business ventures with a refreshed sense of purpose.
-Chad Jewell, Creative Rodeo
(All artwork ©2011 Creative Rodeo, LLC. All rights reserved)