Why Rebrand?

by Michael Colombo
Mar 01, 2019

Is there ever a good reason to rebrand?  Strategically, rebrands are a minefield. There's so much that can go wrong. In a world triple-coated with brands, trying to establish a new brand takes a ton of time and money. What if it doesn't resonate? What if you’re choosing the wrong fonts? 😱

Despite the uphill fight, sometimes rebranding makes sense. When companies experience major change, that change may need to be reflected in the brand. It shows a commitment to that change. An investment in it. A seriousness to it. Nokia famously started as a pulp mill in the 1860s. When they stopped selling toilet paper and started selling smartphones, a rebrand probably made sense.

That's where we felt we were at here at Maark. In the last thirteen years, we'd changed. Dramatically. But our rebrand was a little bit different. It was as much a personal journey as it was a strategic plan. We took our time searching for the 'thing' that represents us…the Platonic form of the agency. We hadn't thought about that in a while. It was time.

That's sorta the beauty of the agency, though. It's ours. We can do what we want with it. We can draw a million logomarks that we think look rad, Scotch tape them on a wall, and come back to them when we've got some more clarity. That's what you're seeing in the new brand. It's the visualized end of that journey. It's who we think we are.


We're a wolf inside a shield.

So why do we think we're a wolf inside a shield?

It starts with the shield. Maark means 'standard.' And setting standards is what we've always seen as our calling. We want to set standards for our clients. Both internal standards, and standards for other vendors and partners. We want our clients to ask, "How will this compare to a Maark project?" We take the mission seriously. Ours is a SWAT team culture where the more difficult the mission and the more we feel like underdogs, the more excited we get. We knew our SWAT team needed a standard.

And standards have symbols. We thought a lot about the kind of symbols that fit our culture. Our culture really was our brand. We just needed to identify it. We looked deep into heraldry symbols. We looked at the symbols used by families and companies and regiments. And we settled on the wolf.

Wolves work in small tight-knit groups. They're keen, intelligent, and skilled. They're tireless and persistent. They're strong and agile. They were the first animals to serve as human companions. Wolves are bad-ass. And the wolfpack is a great metaphor for our SWAT team culture.

We spent a lot of time drawing the Maark wolf to capture the right tone. We didn't want our wolf to be intimidating or ferocious. We wanted her to be focused on leading but turning back. Concerned with the pack, or maybe a companion. In motion. That's our story. We wanted the wolf to tell it for us.

Taking the time to tell our story is exciting. It's been as important internally as externally. A regimental standard is as much a rallying point as it is a herald. Our identity finally reflects who we are and where we’re going. In undertaking the rebrand we had to ask ourselves, "Is it the right time for change?" We also ended up getting to ask ourselves, "What's our fur budget?" We hope you like it. We do. Today, everybody in the office is proudly wearing shirts and backpacks and sweatshirts with the Maark wolf. We even have clients wearing it. To us, that means we successfully illustrated our culture.

Or that we just made a cool logo. Which is also fine.


Mike is the founder of Maark and has served as the agency’s strategic, creative and technology lead in programs ranging from complete digital transformation of Fortune 500 clients, end-to-end relaunch of category-leading brands, and strategy, design and development of new digital products.

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