“So, tell me about yourself…”
Instantly, your mind empties, and you
start to stutter.
Yes, this is usually how rebranding begins.
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…
noun el·lip·sis \i-ˈlip-səs, e-\
: the act of leaving out one or more words that are not necessary for a phrase to be understood
“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).