Despite our decades-long history of success in software development, digital strategy, digital marketing, and web design and development, the day arrived when we finally admitted that we had – despite all previous denials – an identity crisis.
How did we know? Over the years, we had consistently added descriptors to the Northwoods name in an effort to help customers and potential customers (and, to be perfectly honest, ourselves) easily understand exactly what it is we do. But just as quickly as we adopted these descriptors, we abandoned them almost as fast – or, worse, we sometimes used them in tandem.
So, we did what any smart agency in the same situation would do: we took the exact same advice we’d give to a client – develop a formal brand strategy. We got to work, leveraging our internal brand and marketing expertise to guide the way.
How Brand Strategy Helped Solve Our Identity Crisis
Descriptors like Northwoods Web Development, Northwoods Software, Northwoods Software Development, Northwoods Strategic Web Solutions, and Northwoods Web Solutions had been added to our name over the years. But nothing stuck – because none of these descriptors solved our core problem: we didn’t know how to position ourselves, what truly differentiated us in the market, and how to effectively message that and our value to our customers and prospects. If we didn’t understand who we were, how could our stakeholders?
We definitely had an identity crisis.
So we followed our own five-phase brand strategy process, starting with discovery to understand current brand perceptions – what makes us unique, what customers, employees, partners and other key stakeholders think we do well and what we don’t, emotional descriptors, and how well they understood our mission and vision. We also completed a competitive analysis to better understand the marketplace.
Once we had a solid understanding of our current brand perception and the competitive landscape, we were able to clearly see how we fit into it and the unique value that we offer. We also defined key brand strategy elements: our brand essence, brand promise, brand personality, and created a new tagline – letting the research steer us along the way.
Then we were ready to let our brand strategy guide the development of a new brand identity – our logo, fonts, color palette, imagery, iconography, and other elements that visually exemplify who we are and how we want to be perceived. We honed our brand voice and tone.
We had finally defined who we were, how to articulate our unique value, and how to message it effectively. Brand strategy was exactly what we needed to solve our identity crisis.
Northwoods' New Brand Positively Impacts Business
We launched our new brand on May 13, 2020 with a new website as the centerpiece – all while working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (That was quite a feat!)
We’re now known simply as Northwoods. No descriptors, no qualifiers. Our research showed that they aren’t needed.
Our new tagline says it all: creating peace of (digital) mind.
We really leaned into the whole “northwoods” concept for our new brand identity – our experts are “trailguides,” meetings are “campfires.” Our visual identity is nature-based, down-to-earth, laid back, warm, resourceful and fun — all traits that exemplify our personality and capture our unique spirit.
The Northwoods logo got a slight update to better reflect our personality, too, and we switched our old website domain from northwoodsoft.com to nwsdigital.com to help eliminate an outdated perception that all we do is software development. (Get to know all of our exceptional services!)
Marketing messaging got a bit of an overhaul and our marketing and sales collateral were redesigned, as well.
Our employees now clearly understand our vision and have rallied around our brand promise of being our customers’ digital best friend.
We’ve been busier than ever. And with website traffic, social media engagement, referrals and lead generation having all increased since the launch – along with a continued strong client retention rate –, we know some of those positive results are directly related to our rebrand. And we can't wait to see what the future holds!
If your company could benefit from developing a brand strategy, or needs a brand strategy or brand identity refresh, Northwoods can help! Learn more about our Brand Strategy services or reach out to us and let's chat.