At Banner, I was given the lovely task of defining a direction for the “Our Team” section of our website while Banner was in the mist of changing our own brand. I tend to aim for transparency in branding, focusing on internal culture when defining a public-facing brand. I decided to approach this as a fresh branding project. So I asked myself some of the same questions I have dabbled on before in establishing brands, but this time for my team:
What makes us different from other agencies in our industry?
What is our vulnerability that makes us stronger and what of it makes us weak?
What is the big picture our audience wants to see?
The first question was the hardest. Banner was a very small group that had been through some identity changes from launching less than four years ago to the date. With the perspective of the services in mind, we did not specialize in any type of research, media or style. The one thing Banner could offer was third-party partnerships to their clients. Because Banner Agency, which was identified as “Banner Media Group” at the time was a portfolio company under a private equity firm, it did have a unique biz model that allowed for a collaborated partnership for small companies that need to expand.
The biz model was not a point of focus for the “Future Banner” as outlined by leadership. While Banner had served as in-house marketing and creative team for the other portfolio companies, Banner was ready to spread our wings elsewhere and was not planning on leaning on the collaborative partnership they could offer as a selling point for new clients. The sky was the limit, and that sky was undefined. I had no solid information on where the company was going other than the subject matter we wanted to work with: Food, Beverage, Sports and Entertainment. So I took my focus off paper and towards the current team.
We were a team of less than 10. True to Denver, most of us were not natives and had an unparalleled background in culture, education, and diversions. How do I tie this together to look like a cohesive team and push beyond “Endless Possibilities” as it relates to the diversity on our team? We have to look like we specialize in something, right? While we all had diverse backgrounds and hobbies, what we did have in common was loyalty to products and brands that fulfilled our past time. From food & beverage, to sports and entertainment, we had voiced the subject matter we wished to work with and it was entirely inspired by our passions from leisure activities.
From being on such a small team for almost a year, I knew a lot about my coworkers. Vikki had lived the backpacking life with her hubby before settling in Denver. Shawn eats sunflower seeds like drinking water to ease stress for focus and Will the President, ran with Ostriches as a child! And I made YouTube once by pulling some chick’s boobs out who was attacking my friend to get closer to Riff Raff! It was a non-violent, direct act to stop the fight ok! “Put your boobs up and get your shit together!”
To say the least, we were a pretty tight bunch. When working in a small team over a period of time, you leave your guard at the door when you come into the office. I have always found this to be the essence of a creative environment; do not take yourself too serious. These people knew stuff about me my family has never heard about. It isn’t just the stories, you pickup on each other’s body language and mood changes like a second nature. This firsthand relationship model was our strength, allowing for the transparency needed to define individual specialization. This was the vulnerablity that was both a weakness and strenght and directed me to the big picture for our brand.