How it all began
There’s been significant growth in the business since we launched in 2017. Not only have we expanded our portfolio and brought on new clients, but we’ve also developed our internal process, team and capabilities. The post-pandemic period gave myself and the team the opportunity to reflect on our journey so far.
I recognised that things had changed. We had evolved — as had our clients’ needs and expectations. We needed to rethink our brand so that we could do, achieve and deliver that much more. Now was the time to create a new vision; one that reflected where we wanted to go next.
So we decided to get away for a few days. I wanted us to put ourselves in unfamiliar surroundings to re-evaluate — and rediscover — what our brand was really all about.
The process began with a lively session where we questioned everything about who we are, what we do and why our clients work with us. It seemed like so many agencies were saying the same things — and we wanted to be different. And so began an existential debate. Who were we, really? It was time to delve deep into the who, what and why.
We talked it through. And talked some more. Nothing was off the table, all opinions mattered and every new point raised more questions. It felt exciting to go back to the drawing board; it certainly pushed us out of our comfort zone. It made me feel vulnerable, too. But I knew this was how we could authentically reinvent ourselves.
Building a new foundation
We agreed not to approach the process in the way we’d seen it done before, while working at other agencies. Our shared experience of these rebrands was that they had felt impulsive and chaotic. Also ineffective — and importantly, not a lot of fun.
If we were going to do it, then we were going to do it properly. We didn’t want to race towards shiny new visuals but instead, take the time to create a bullet-proof strategy and authentic brand voice. We wanted to approach the rebranding process with the same consideration and energy that we put towards client work. This strategy would be the solid foundation on which to build a new world for us and our clients. One that felt true to who we are and what we can achieve together. We needed it to be comprehensive enough to inform all aspects of the brand experience.
And so the work began. We focussed on establishing the brand values that aligned with our beliefs and a brand personality that represented our nature. We created brand behaviours to help govern how we conduct ourselves, brand expectations that would shape our clients’ experience and a brand purpose that incorporates everything that we say and do. And finally, a brand promise — one that gives our clients confidence in our unique abilities.
This structure was crucial in guiding our process and gave us the focus we needed to delve deep into our psyche. Naturally, it was challenging — but also enlightening and fun. Each strategic aspect made us think critically about what we really wanted to be as an agency. Also, how we wanted to be perceived by our audience.
It was quite a journey. But also one that led to the formation of a brand consciousness that genuinely reflected everything about us.
A stronger sense of identity
The leaps made in our strategy and messaging meant that we had to leave our existing visual identity behind. It had served us well since 2017 but we’d changed; now it was time to catch up with the Herron of 2022.
We were determined to stand apart from our peers — as well as wanting to create an identity that reflected our passion for what we do. We get so much joy from our creative work and are genuinely driven to make a difference to our clients through what we do.
Again, this was a case of practising what we preach. We wrote a brief, outlining our objective, strategic foundation and how we wanted people to respond to our brand image. We wanted it to feel curious, unexpected, playful and enjoyable. So we hit the sketch books, created mood boards and devised concepts that challenged our previous incarnation. It got us excited about the future.
The first task was looking at our logo. The minimalist Swiss typographic approach was clearly no longer relevant. We decided to explore a more expressive approach, eventually crafting a bespoke script marque that emulated our brand personality. It was human, playful and upbeat.
The new logo inspired a brighter, more energetic colour palette that aligned with our value system and allowed for greater flexibility in the overall design. Our new typography emulated our brand voice, enhancing communication by being more approachable and friendly.
What’s in a name?
It seemed like a small detail, but thinking about our name led to a big debate.
We’d been going under the moniker ‘HERRON + CO’ since 2017 and it had worked well for us, reflecting our business model and bespoke offering. But I had noticed over the years that our clients had begun referring to us as ‘Herron’. It didn’t actually have much to do with my surname, but instead, a natural truncation that evolved colloquially in conversations. It felt right that our brand name should change — albeit slightly — with how our clients perceived us.
Finding our voice
Establishing our brand strategy became the springboard for creating an authentic brand
voice. We were adamant that our language and messaging was true to what we’re all about. Also, that our tone of voice spoke naturally — making it relatable for clients. It seemed that many agencies had put themselves as the focus in their positioning. We wanted to flip the script by making ours all about our clients — demonstrating that we genuinely empathise with their ambition and the challenges they face everyday. We focused on communicating how we can help them achieve their objectives and reaffirmed our commitment to their success.
We crafted our vision, website content, process narrative and brand signature in the same vein. We put our clients’ success at the forefront of our core purpose because that’s what motivates us.
It was a process that flowed organically, with threads between all aspects of our brand voice naturally creating continuity — reinforcing the essence of the strategic foundation.
Our boldest move was developing a proprietary visual language that moved beyond abstract vector graphics and augmented stock photography. We wanted to create something that distinctly related to us; how we think and work. Inspired by contemporary sculpture, installation art and fashion photography, we came up with the idea of creating a curious world of intrigue through a series of unusual still life images.
We began by sketching our initial ideas, working with metaphorical objects related to our brand purpose, promise and values; we then critiqued each version until we were happy with both the content and composition. The most enjoyable part was bringing the ideas to life through CGI still and motion idents. The subtle movements added to each composition ultimately sealed the transformation from concept to sketch to motion.
For us at Herron, this has been the most enjoyable and rewarding journey. It has given us the opportunity to challenge ourselves and our process. Most of all, it has validated our decision to do it properly. We invested the time and effort into building a strategic foundation that informs all subsequent expressions of our brand. I’m over the moon with the result and feel we’ve created a brand that’s true to us — and everything we stand for.