Lots of companies go through rebranding exercises over the course of their lives. Often these rebrandings are to freshen up the look, keep in step with modern styles, or take advantage of the latest design trends. Sometimes they are done to distract the public from other things. In early 2014 we went through a branding exercise for one important reason; we wanted a brand presence that reflected the culture and spirit of Rezgo and the people who work here.
Our first big decision was whether or not we should hire a designer or try using new design marketplaces. Having come from a design agency background, we knew what was involved in hiring an agency. Being a cloud based software as a service, we thought, let's try something else and see how it goes. In a worse case scenario we could always go back to an agency if we needed to. So, we opted for 99Designs, a crowdsourced designer marketplace where companies can post requests and designers from all over the World compete for the project. Once we posted our requirements and described what we do and how we do it, the designs started to come in.
More work than an agency
We soon realized just how much work using a site like 99Designs can be. In a very short time we were having to curate close to a hundred designs a day. Over the course of the one month process we had curated over 3,000 designs. Although many were quite good, the majority of the designs were off the mark. One in particular that sticks in my mind had a graphic of a hotel with a witch flying over it with Rezgo emblazoned in gothic font across the middle. Picture that in your mind and the reality is still probably worse.
Despite the obvious deletions, the process made us ask ourselves what we wanted the logo to say about us. When we reviewed them one by one, we asked ourselves as a team "What would someone think or feel about us when they look at this?"
Many of the finalists triggered words like trust, professionalism, credibility, and corporate. But something was missing from the designs. Sure we are many of those things; trustworthy, professional, and credible, but we are also fun and happy. More than anything, we want our customers to love what they do and make their customers happy. That means WE as a company have to do the same thing.
Our Design was there all along
The design we ultimately chose was one of the first ones submitted. From the very first moment we saw it, there was something about it that made us like it. At first we thought it was too whimsical, too cute, and not professional enough. Somehow though it kept making the cut until finally we realized that the reason we liked it is because it best described who and what we are better than the other designs. We just had to compare it to 2,999 other submissions to make sure.
Be true to yourselves
Since 2007 we have been working to make the tours and activities sector better for everyone and we've always tried to do it in a positive way. We've never bad mouthed a competitor, used bully tactics, or predatory sales techniques to lure customers away from our competitors. Although I don't begrudge competitors that use these questionable sales tactics, after all business is business, we don't like companies or individuals that use these techniques when selling to us and so we don't use these techniques when selling to others, it's really as simple as that. Instead, we have always tried to be positive, focusing on helping operators get better at what they do while also helping the travel industry to understand the potential of the tour and activities sector. As a company, we don't have to stoop to cheap tricks and sneaky sales tactics to win customers, the quality and value of Rezgo speaks for itself.
Start with a smile
The World is full of companies and individuals that put winning or short term gain above all else. Although this win at all costs attitude has resulted in making a few investors and entrepreneurs very wealthy, it usually comes at the expense of a lot of other people. Rezgo has always been different. We know that to be successful in the tour and activity sector, you have to be willing to play the long game, to give back to the industry, and respect others in the community (at least those who deserve it). If you can do these things, make your customers successful, be successful yourself, and smile at the end of the day, then everyone wins.
Keep smiling and love what you do!
Photo Courtesy of Zip Cypress Hills