Drew Mangels

Where Brand Happens

“Let’s practice what we preach” … that was our mindset before we began the task of rebranding ourselves. The goal was to do exactly what we do for our clients, but this time, do it for ourselves.

May sound corny or a bit idealistic, but this approach came with some pretty cool benefits. It gave everyone at Spoke an opportunity to interact with our process. This proved valuable as it revealed truths about our origin, purpose, and culture.

We began with a brand audit followed by a discovery session to help identify what truly lives at the core of the Spoke brand.

First, we looked at the Spoke exclamation point. It served us well for the first eight years, but it’s time to retire had come. Some would argue it ‘stood out,’ is ‘easily recognizable,’ or that it supported the ‘aha!’ moment our clients experience during our Spoke Marketing Discovery Day sessions. Although these are all valid reasons, Spoke had expanded capabilities and had outgrown this singular expression. After all, we don’t shout everything and every moment isn’t filled with intense energy. More importantly, as we launch into a new era of marketing, we enter into much larger, more sophisticated conversation with our clients and our brand needed to reflect that process.

Second, we took an inventory or our brand identity. From the color orange, the cartoony, whimsical landscapes, to the brand offshoot of the Spoke gears. Our brand definitely needed some refreshing and realigning. The brand audit was swift and begged the question, “Is this really us?”

What we were left with (besides our name and process) was something we all agreed was truly authentic; our distinctive brand voice. It’s the kind of voice with the power to disarm readers through its self-deprecating nature, and sharp-witted personality – all the while, infusing strong doses of protein-packed marketing know-how. In some ways, it breaks the rules of communication. But that’s exactly who we are and when we’re at our best. We always push ourselves to move past status quo to arrive at creative marketing innovations for our clients.

Since our process, name and brand voice became our most valuable equity, it helped pave the way to our new logomark – the ‘Spoke Bubble.’ One of the details that supported this direction was captured during our own Discovery Day process. As the founders recalled, the origin of our agency name was derived from the concept of the spoken word and storytelling. Fast-forward to today, where content is still king and a primary interaction point between users and brands; the ‘Spoke Bubble’ became an obvious direction to explore. Not to mention, it still retained our agency personality and our brand of sociability. This should make sense if you’ve attended one our Spoke Friday events. If you haven’t, be sure to get on our mailing list.

We also looked at ways to extend our logo beyond its surface level identity. Thinking in terms of a wayfinding device, the ‘Spoke Bubble’ serves as a map marker pinpointing a client’s journey along their fastest path to cash™. Finding functionality within collateral such as our marketing plans incorporates greater engagement with our brand. Our plans highlight where clients are today and, more importantly, where they want to be. We’re reinforcing the fact that Spoke is a loyal companion, guiding clients through their journey to achieving their marketing goals and aspirations.

We mustn’t forget the culture which our tagline, “Where you want to be,” sums up with two distinct meanings:

– It communicates the end goal for our clients and

– It identifies that Spoke Marketing is a great place to work.

We have a no b-s approach to business. We’re comprised of a unique team of individuals who are hell-bent on making your marketing work. But we also believe in putting family first and having fun while doing outstanding work for exceptional clients. I can personally attest to the point about putting family first. Spoke supported my family and me through a very difficult time. When life throws you a curve ball, it’s hard to find kindness and understanding in today’s world. But when you find it, you never forget it. Thanks, Spoke.

Alright, enough with the sappy stuff. Now back to the blog.

Staying in character with our, “Let’s practice what we preach” approach, we also created a set of core values that aligned perfectly with our new tagline. We kept it simple by keeping it to six. Each outlines specific benchmarks for the agency (i.e., Be Accountable, Be Family, Be Real, etc.). All this plays an essential role in reinforcing the cultural fabric of the agency. We love who we are, but we know there’s always room to learn and grow.

To close, we understand the effort of branding is never finished by simply producing a logo. It’s all about follow-through that keeps a brand fresh (and we still have tons to do). As for me and my aspirations for our brand, I hope it serves as a reminder of how valuable human conversation and connection is in today’s marketing world. It can be easy for companies to become overly dependent on the latest and greatest technology options to assist in their marketing and sales efforts. As an agency, we get it because we’ve seen first-hand the pitfalls to this pattern of behavior. But the good news is we have the knowledge to help guide companies through that journey. We’re not marketing to machines after all. It still boils down to basic human understanding and creativity to steer marketing automation, AI, and whatever is around the next corner.

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Drew Mangels

Drew isn’t a designer; he’s a big picture thinker. In fact, he might be the proof that robots will never take our jobs. He can wrangle complex issues and key benefits into their purest form. Regardless of the medium, the results are beautiful designs, unimaginable concepts, and the precise execution of a true craftsman. Drew’s a veteran of many agencies, but he’s been an integral part of Spoke since the early days. Yes, we know we’re lucky.

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