pepperit.

pepperit.

All grown up.

Pepperit is a full-service marketing agency in Sydney. Oh wait, you know that.

The evolution of an agency

But perhaps you don’t know that 2020 marks pepper’s 10-year anniversary? In that 10 years, pepper has evolved into a full-service marketing agency, delivering exceptional marketing solutions for many types of businesses. We are 90+ years of experienced marketers, designers and developers and needed to reflect this experience in a grown-up way.

As a digital marketing agency, what do you do when a global pandemic (no mention of that ‘C’ word) thwarts your plans for client meetings, keynote presentations and holding breakfast seminars for industry? Turning lemons into martinis, we carpe diemed the heck out of the circumstances and decided to go full throttle on our own rebrand project that had been simmering on the back of the old stove for a few months. A significant driver in our rebrand was acknowledging a shift in our business operations, from our beginnings as an IT-centric agency to a full-service marketing agency, as digital marketing became more sophisticated and integrated into other aspects of many businesses.

We also made a conscious change in flipping the conversation to be about our clients, not ourselves.

For this reason, please indulge us a few moments to talk about ourselves here!

Authentic marketing in action

Spoiler alert: our new brand line is ‘authentic marketing’. We decided this fairly quickly and it influenced much of the direction we took as the process unfolded. Some serious self-reflection was called for. In an act of putting our money where our mouth is, we took on the entire project in-house. Well, except for sourcing some brand new merch to give our fabulous clients, that is. But this was to be a very satisfying notch in our belt.

Simultaneously wearing the rebrander and rebrandee hats, we had moments of “is this the right way?” (usually in a local café or pub while solving the problems of the world) but many more moments of rediscovering a sense of joy and love for what we do. And ultimately, we achieved a beautiful brand, with an authentic story and a very chuffed team.

A new brand takes shape

Taking inspiration from a wide range of industry influences on best practices, trends and understanding what lasts the test of time, we took a very involved approach to developing our new look. In doing this, we designed, developed and dreamed up our:

  • Personality traits that help frame how to bring the brand to life and also differentiate us from other agencies.
  • Values, headed by ‘authentic’, and followed by those that highlight our experience, passion, reliability and serious-with-a-smile attitude to work.
  • Client personas of four key types of people who would regularly interact with our agency and through this, identified the primary target market for who the majority of our communications, including the website, would be written.
  • New, refreshed logo designed to visually represent pepper’s brand and personality traits. The font (finally) chosen provides maximum legibility and evokes a sense of friendly, professional approachability. The lettering is connected – a signal of the strong relationships we build with clients and partners. We introduced the dots in the logo to emphasise the ‘it’ in our new name. A subtle but important change, from Pepper IT (say I T) to pepperit (as in peppering your business marketing and other operations) with whatever clients need or a service we provide.

With the logo in place, everything’s a piece of cake from there right? Not exactly. It’s still a great deal of work – create brand rules, colour studies (do you go serious or fun?), hours of typography research (and reiterations at the eleventh hour) and corporate identity. Then write communications guides to prescribe grammar styles and rules, tone of voice and imagery (super important if your whole purpose is to be authentic).

Our Brand Style Guide applies the guidelines to maintain the brand’s authenticity, consistency and professionalism.

And with these juicy elements combined, the brand has the power to connect and create a bond with those who interact with us.

Weaving a wonderful web

Our new website is the digital shopfront of our company and communicates the purpose and essence of the brand throughout. Every website is a work in progress; you won’t get it perfect but should work to improve it every day. And that’s what we continue to do. Knowing the data behind how our clients and potential clients access our website was key to our approach in the development phase.

Bucking a trend for many businesses, most of our web traffic occurs on a desktop, using a specific internet browser, looking at a particular sized screen. So, at the point where you would ordinarily suggest a client designs and builds for mobile first, our entire approach was centred on what the desktop experience would be and making that as user-friendly and beautiful as possible. Further, a crucial lesson in SEO and applicable in a wider sense here is don’t simply discount any old ways of doing things or the existing content you use to promote your business. It got you this far, and in the case of SEO, you’re not looking to instigate rumblings among the search engine Gods!

We approached this as a refresh of who we are, a full wardrobe change, but not a clean out of everything we are and stand for.

What have we learned?

We love that we provide the right solution, not just the one the client asked for. We’re also extremely proud of our low client churn rate. And on top of this, how many companies can say they were able to complete a total rebrand in-house?!

So often, businesses omit a pivotal consideration in providing a product or service and that is to truly understand “who is my customer?”. Countless times, we asked “what would the client think about this?” or “how would the client react to that?”. It helped reframe every decision and discussion we had.

Our takeaways from this project are numerous and we’ll ensure we apply them for clients moving forward. Ultimately, the essence of a brand doesn’t have to change, even when its look gets refreshed. And folks, it is entirely possible to fall in love with your own brand all over again.

The Rebrand Ingredients
  • Refresh company values
  • Refresh personas
  • Typography, colour and image study
  • Logo redesign
  • Brand style guidelines
  • Communications guidelines
  • Website analysis
  • Website architecture
  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Copywriting
  • SEO analysis
  • SEO-focused execution
  • Photoshoot
  • Graphic design
  • Social media campaigns
  • Branded merchandise and packaging
  • Client gift packs