An employment agency in Kingston approached BmDodo for help with their logo. Helping people find work, especially those requiring extra assistance, the agency wanted their logo to better highlight the word ‘employment.’ After their first meeting with BmDodo, it became clear that they needed to think beyond their logo to get to the next level.
“When we initially approached BmDodo, our goal was to make it clear that we were an employment agency” said Tyler Fainstat, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Kingston. “We weren’t looking at rebranding, but BmDodo inspired us to think beyond the logo and to consider our whole brand in the community.”
BmDodo’s research showed that in addition to issues with the logo, the agency’s name was vague and confusing. An acronym, the name was often difficult to pronounce, it didn’t immediately communicate the agency’s services, and it didn’t help them stand out. “They were well respected in the community, and clients liked their services, but the name wasn’t working” said Brian Dodo, Principal & Strategic Designer at BmDodo.
I the midst of rebranding, the agency was also relocating. It was critical that they didn’t lose or confuse clients, or give the impression that they were closing. Clients, employers and the community needed to know what the agency was doing and where they were going.
The challenge was twofold. First, the agency needed a more compelling name. “Our old name CERC North was vague and people would come in and ask what we did” said Elaine Lewis, Manager, Employment Services. “We needed to make the name clearer and invite people in. We wanted people to say ‘I know what they do in there.’”
Tyler and other team members at the agency felt the same way “None of us liked the name. It didn’t say anything about what we did” he said. “It wasn’t easy for people to remember, it wasn’t catchy, it wasn’t easy for clients to write or pronounce.” It was also difficult for clients to find the agency on the web because there are multiple agencies in Ontario with the same name.
Along with clarity, the team wanted a name that would encompass and embrace their diverse client base. “We work with everyone from students to people who have been on social assistance, to people who have come out of corrections facilities” said Tyler. “I thought it would be difficult to find something that would resonate with clients of all sorts.”
Second, the agency needed to relocate without losing or confusing clients. Tyler was concerned that moving and changing the name at the same time could be damaging to client relationships. “We’ve been a very successful agency even with the terrible name,” said Tyler “we didn’t want to lose our clients or disrupt client flow. It was critical that everyone knew we were the same agency.”
To develop a stronger name, BmDodo looked for a common thread in the agency’s diverse client base. They discovered that whether the client was coming from school, from an institution, or seeking a career change, they were looking to start fresh. “Starting over was the link between all their clients” said Brian “These people weren’t erasing what they’d done, they were just rebooting, moving on.”
With this idea in mind, BmDodo recommended that the agency rename themselves ‘ReStart’. The new identity was designed to reflect a clients’ proactive, hopeful transition. Through ReStart, clients get a fresh start and a second chance to meet their goals. “The name says ‘reboot, ‘continue’, ‘carry on’, ‘begin’, not just beginning or ending” said Brian. “You can refresh at any point, no matter what’s going on in your life. You can restart at any time.”
BmDodo also recommended a new tagline: New job. New Beginnings. The tagline reinforces the notion of a entering a new employment phase in a friendly and encouraging tone. It also plainly speaks to what the organization does: find Kingston-area residents jobs and help them embark on a new beginning in their employment journey.
To ensure a successful relocation, BmDodo organized a campaign that started a month before the actual move. Because the new name and brand were not finalized, BmDodo focused on creating buzz around all the changes. “We were nervous about the move, but BmDodo showed us that it was an opportunity” said Tyler. “We could use the move as a catalyst for the new brand and as the motivating factor for the changes we were making.”
The campaign included huge posters announcing the new location and exciting things to come, an open house so employers, clients, and the community could see the new space, and extensive media relations to ensure the move was covered by all Kingston media outlets.
For Brian, it was critical that all the changes were viewed as positive and that there was no misinformation or panic. “We didn’t want anyone to assume that the agency was closing or going away. We worked hard to present the changes as an improvement to services and something that would benefit the community.”
For Tyler, there’s no question about the success of the campaign and the new brand. He is confident that if people are looking for work, they’ll think of ReStart. “There were immediate results” he said “we got a lot of media attention, which has brought us new clients and new employer partners, and will continue to bring people through the door.”
He was most impressed with the new name and tagline “This really stood out for me. I thought it would be a huge challenge to capture everything we do at ReStart, but it’s modern, clean, catchy and welcoming to all clients.”
Since the move, Elaine has everything she hoped for “We have new clients coming in and old clients are not having any trouble finding us.” ReStart is also making new connections “We’ve had participation from new employers as well as interest from organizations looking to put on joint workshops. We’re getting a ton of new traffic.”
Tyler is incredibly appreciative of the BmDodo team and everything they accomplished “They very quickly understood what we did and how we saw our work. They just got it, and it made the whole project so successful.”