In uncertain times, rebranding your company or service can offer an opportunity to reframe your business and drive new pathways to success. Or it can start a spiral of confusion and entropy from which you may never recover. If you are considering this type of ultimate brand refresh, here are some notes from a recent Covid-19 brand pivot that may provide some guidance.

Do you actually need a new name? If you face trademark issues, are entering new markets or are substantially changing your business offering, a new name may make sense. Such was the case with Granville Island Delivery Co., a rebranding of the post-covid delivery service set up by Vancouver Foodie Tours. As a food tour business, Vancouver Foodie Tours has had international success. But as global tourism froze up, owner Michelle Ng realized that the opportunity to deliver goods from their Granville Island base had the potential to do even more good.

“I started my new business unit as Granville Island Foodie Delivery. It was a way to uplift and find light in the pandemic situation for myself and others,” Ng says, “It allowed us to continue to bring value to the local community and Granville Island small businesses.”

The service quickly grew to include more than just food, offering artisan goods and other products from island businesses and craftspeople. That’s where the idea of a new brand name began to make real sense.

A strong name starts with a set of values and key messages. Sure, you can pick a new brand name with a scrabble board or an online name generator. But to get a moniker that will last, it needs to resonate with your company’s ethos. We spent time identifying key characteristics of the Vancouver Foodie Tours and Granville Island experiences. These included the element of discovery, a passion for quality, the history of Granville Island, and the trustworthiness of a local delivery service.

The result was Granville Island Delivery Co., a brand that sounds like it has been around for decades, and harkens back to a simpler time when local goods were brought right to your door. This name also allows the company to expand beyond food, while maintaining strong culinary ties for which the island is so well known.

Graphic design is also a strategic process. Don’t abandon your key messages and brand values when starting to look at symbols, fonts and colours. With a nod to all of the history and vintage overtones of Granville Island, we also needed to keep in mind that this delivery service is primarily about fresh food. We simplified our grocer’s factory cart to be a clean, bold silhouette, while utilizing the bright clean red from the Vancouver Foodie Tours logo for lightness and brand continuity. We also provided the logo in a wide variety of design formats, from horizontal to stacked and even a circular sticker, to multitask in today’s fragmented digital landscape.

Are your main challenges actually brand driven? Sometimes it’s easier to repaint the car than to do the greasier work under the hood. But that won’t stop the overheating or that incessant squeaky wheel. Issues around employee satisfaction, process and leadership aren’t easily addressed by a rebrand. But an effective branding process that asks the tough questions can often identify other areas that need work. A good rebranding consultant should not be afraid to open things up, and should be equally ready to step back if other issues arise that need addressing first.

Thinking of a new name? Try a taste first. If you are considering a brand pivot or redirection, it may be worth your while to explore some alternatives before taking the plunge. But beware: if you want something you can trademark and secure the .com URL, almost every name you think of is probably unavailable. Call in a brand designer who can ask all the right questions and offer ideas you didn’t even dream of.

“It’s rare to find someone who is gifted in branding, design and copywriting. Lorne is also fiercely passionate about helping local businesses thrive. He has opened up the possibilities for our brand vision and purpose with our name and logo design. Lorne has a special talent in transforming my ideas into language and design that resonates with our target audience.”
Michelle Ng, Granville Island Delivery Co.

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