I spent this past weekend cleaning up around the office. I pulled out the boxes of holiday décor and began decorating. The next minute I’m purging files and cabinets in preparation for the new business year. December is always a mixed bag of both effort and emotion. In one 31-day span, we’re celebrating the season with our friends and family, reflecting on the year that’s been and getting ready for the new year to come. Through my cleansing, I found a treasure trove of random notebooks, sketches, promo samples, and reference materials. I collected it all and stacked it on our conference room table to take stock. What impressed me the most was how it all collectively told the story of our last 12 months. More specifically, the role they played in our decision to refresh the Aisle Planner brand.
When it’s time, it’s time.
There was nothing inherently wrong with the original logo or overall brand aesthetic. It was elegant and timeless. We loved everything about it. We didn’t have to change it. However, when we considered how much we’ve grown as a business, and how diverse our products and our customers had become, we saw the need to make a change that better reflected the Aisle Planner of today. The decision to make changes like these are never easy. We were deeply vested in the original design of our logo and every facets of our brand. It was tough to let go at first but as we dove into the process, it became easier. It was fun and exciting, and created this reinvigorated energy for our entire team.
The first step is always the hardest.
When we announced that we were considering a brand study and exploration of a refresh, a funny thing happened. Instead of the expected reservation, everyone said “It’s about time.” I have to admit that I was taken back by this response. The general consensus was that the original design was “OK” but it didn’t do the job of communicating what we did or who we did it for in real time. In fact, the frequently used comment that stood out to me was how our original logo made us look “dated and old.” We heard it repeatedly in descriptions of our ad designs, the graphics and copy used to describe our products and things we did. When we took a step back (or, maybe 10) and looked at it in perspective, we had to admit: they were right.
Over the past three years, we had stalled in our creative efforts while forging ahead with the expansion of our software. It showed. That logo and the rest of our branding didn’t reflect our company culture or customer today. Motivated by that series of meetings, we created a project in AP called ‘The Re-Brand.’ We built out some amazing style guides of companies we admired, brands we loved, and causes we aspired to align with.
“Take it down to the studs.”
We quickly realized this was going to be so much bigger than a simple clean-up. To use a construction term, we were going to have to “take it down to the studs.” We did a full, ground-up redesign, refreshing everything from our brand style guidelines, to our social pages and newsletter designs, and everything in between. All in an effort to better represent the Aisle Planner company, community, and customer of today. Every member of our team was involved in the process. Each came to the table with their own unique perspectives. Their input helped us to further refine the direction of the look we wanted to achieve and ultimately impacted the most important and most recognizable piece: our new logo.
We put a ring on it. Or 3.
We were fortunate enough to have had the help of some amazing creative partners. They helped us convert all of our ideas into action. Eventually, they helped us build a visual story that captured the modern essence of our brand. The design of our logo is 100% pure reflection of the Aisle Planner of today and well beyond tomorrow. The ring is a symbol that represents the sacred union between two souls, and has for centuries. The exchange of rings between those two souls is a momentous ritual in many wedding ceremonies. In a similar spirit, our rings are a promise to our customers, a symbol of our expertise, and a reminder of our company’s roots. We came from this industry. We’re honored to serve it and segments beyond by building useful, powerful, and beneficial products that support the professionals at the heart of them.
Your own brand is an extension of yourself. It’s the way you wave your flag to tell those who would connect with you, prospective customers, partners and team members alike, this is who we are and this is what we do. While it’s not something to be taken lightly, it’s not something to be afraid of either. Like it was for us, it can be fun and reinvigorating. No matter the size or scale, every business must evolve and adapt in order to survive. This month, we’re dedicating the Pro Blog to stories behind brands in our industry who have taken that leap to refine and refresh their own brands. We’ll also be sharing some great insights and advice for making the process effective.
CEO & Co-Founder