Ellipsis Digital + Engine SevenFour
Double rebrand all the way!
Double rebrand all the way!
While we’ve worked with clients at various stages of a rebrand—we’ve designed new logos, built brand-new sites, created social media strategies to tell a new story, and more—this was our first “soup-to-nuts” rebranding. And we were doing it for… ourselves. Yes, we were saying goodbye to our beloved 13-year-old “rtraction,” a name chosen after about 14 minutes of contemplation, and one that not everyone could figure out how to pronounce: “retraction”? “errtraction”?
Of course, the brand is about more than a name. We decided to rebrand after a huge year—a big project, a prestigious award, substantial growth, anticipation of a great new workspace—led us to take a deeper look at who we are and who we want to be. We did some reflection as a team, and ended up with a new vision, mission, values and purpose. And we realized we’d outgrown both our name and our identity as just one big team.
Many of you know (and love) us as a community-oriented digital marketing agency. A few years ago, as we created our strategic plan, we made a conscious effort to grow from a “website company” into a digital agency, so… mission accomplished. But our tech roots still run deep, as we have a less public, but equally talented team of developers who work on (Laravel-based) applications for clients that include one of the happiest companies on Earth. We wanted that team’s work to stand out, too.
We did some thinking as an entire company about a new name, starting with the digital agency. Thirty creative people can generate a lot of names. Some of them were even good. A shortlist of seven went to the leadership team, who chose three finalists. And they chose well. They chose names that were so good… that someone else in the digital media industry had already chosen them.
So we tried another tack.
We went deeper into “our story”: who we were, who we’ve become, how we see ourselves, how others see us—“friends, clients, community,” to paraphrase Mark Antony. What defined us, what set us apart? Four rtraction staff members and two respected advisors did this brainstorming offsite. And yes, while this is the work we do, we recognized that we couldn’t be completely objective about ourselves, and took the advice we’d give anyone else: ask smart people who won’t simply tell you what you want to hear, but who will be insightful, and thoughtful, and fearlessly honest. At the end of the day, we had a lot of exciting ideas… and a new name…
“Ellipsis” is about being understood… Growing familiar… Exploring the unknown… Following intuition… It’s about the spaces in between, the stretch between “here” and “there.” Also, we have three owners at the helm and there are three dots in an IP address, so the three-dot series reflects our leadership story and offers up a bit of geek cred (as in, we are the Internet).
With our name selected, we tackled our new look, commencing with a logo. Knowing that we wanted to continue our work with what we’re calling ACME—Arts, Culture, Media, Entertainment—our talented designers explored the logo landscape. We wanted something clean and memorable that would look at home amongst the other logos in our target market. We wanted to convey our place in the world—we’ve evolved into a full-service agency, but our history is in the digital realm. And while it’s trendy to be, well, trendy, we didn’t want that. Lots of drawing and thinking, reviewing and revising followed. Until we arrived here:
Our tagline, "Everything in between," expresses our ability to fill in the gaps, to connect, to take our clients from here to there. It’s echoed in how we talk about ourselves, and it hints that we are a flexible and trustworthy extension of our clients’ teams.
Equally important–our new tech brand. The purpose of this brand is twofold: grow Laravel thought leadership and expertise to attract remarkable talent, and demonstrate our ability to do the technical heavy-lifting for more complex applications.
This tech-oriented brand is by developers, for developers. It pays homage to our roots. “Engine” is for technology and power; “74” commemorates the original company’s birthdate, July 4, 2001. And there you have it:
Powered by purpose is a tagline that captures our desire to do work that makes a difference. It was an idea from Derek Martin, one of our Engine SevenFour teammates who has been actively involved in creating this tech-focused brand.
Ultimately, our larger team still shares a core set of values and will be working in one big office, so we were always planning for our shared culture to shine through in our respective brands. In a blinding flash of the obvious, we noticed that both new brand names started with the same letter! Our designers played with the shared initial and created consistent styling to build an integrated look for our brand presentation.
After months of hard work—and a couple of weeks of even harder work—our team unveiled our two new brands with a couple of websites, a social (and traditional) media strategy, a bit of swag (and perhaps a tiny bit of swagger) and an overwhelming sense of pride. The Ellipsis Digital team hit the ground running with a great message about continuing to deliver solid digital marketing support to community-loving businesses and organizations, particularly in the ACME space. The Engine SevenFour team came to launch equipped to keep up their industry-leading work, and build a deeper connection to the development community.
Business Design: process mapping, workshops, organizational structure,
organizational analysis (vision, mission, values, purpose)
Content Strategy: web content strategy, social media planning, traditional media planning
Identity Design & Materials: naming, logos, taglines, business cards, signage, swag, templates
Copywriting: website copy, media release, newsletter, client communications
Website Design & Development: UX and design process, Squarespace CMS