The Happy Co.’s CMO Clare Holbrook shares lessons learned during the company’s total brand overhaul.
It’s been nearly a year since The Happy Co. overhauled its entire brand, from the company name to the color pallet, logos, product packaging and all business and back office websites. Looking back at the gargantuan task, Chief Marketing Officer Clare Holbrook shares some insight about what they learned, what worked, how the rebrand was received and some surprises they encountered along the way.
Why did The Happy Co. need to undergo a total rebrand?
I would say there were multiple reasons. The company name didn’t really portray our product line and our culture. We actually had two company names, which was very confusing. There was a brand for the products, which was Elevacity, and then when a distributor joined the company, they joined Elepreneurs. So, we had what I would call a battle of the brands.
Also, a huge percentage of our field is female. Our Facebook engagement stats were around 90 percent female. The previous brand’s look and feel was extremely masculine with masculine colors. So, it was a combination of all of those. The rebrand was key to align our brand with our overarching mission and culture.
So, was that mission and culture already moving in a different direction?
Yes. It was actually prior to engaging with the branding company, we actually worked with an external consultant who served as a facilitator. Because it’s difficult if you’re in it every day, sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. So, he had us define our mission statement, vision statement and our core values. That was step one before we engaged with the branding company.
What was the most challenging part of the rebrand?
Launching a customer website, a distributor website and a back office all on the same day. If you just took one, like the back office, we had to rebrand every single asset. Whether it was a video, a flyer or a training document, it was just a huge amount of assets, elements and deliverables, all going live on the same day.
How was the rebrand received by the distributor field, and how were they involved in the process?
It was a collaboration with the field leaders. In the lead-up to the rebrand and before engaging with the branding company, we did many focus groups with leaders of a certain rank. Each one was about three hours, and they did it for two months solid with lots of different teams and even set up a Facebook Messenger group. So, they were really engaged in the process early on. They felt like they were part of the process. It wasn’t something that corporate just sprung on them. By the time of the leadership event in November, when it was announced to everyone that the rebrand was coming in Q1 2021, their response was purely positive.
What did you learn working with an outside branding firm?
They had an extensive, intricate process they followed without cutting any corners. It was a six-month process to go through, and they literally have a chart that shows the whole process and the four phases. Like with anything in design, the whole thing evolved, but it was really proven, impressive and effective.
As Chief Marketing Officer, what part of the rebrand was the most fun for you?
Seeing it come to life. In the process I was just describing, you don’t get to the color palette until pretty late in the process, so everything was just words and documents. Seeing it come to light visually was the most exciting. Seeing all of our brand colors together, they had really fun names. It wasn’t just ‘this PMS color yellow.’ It was ‘Happy Place Yellow’ and ‘Tickled Peach’ and ‘Sunset Orange.’ Yeah, absolutely seeing the visuals come together.
What conversations took place to determine how you wanted your customers to feel about the new brand?
In the exercises we had to do, even just in the first kickoff questionnaire, we had to find adjectives to describe our brand and culture. We have Happy, Family-Oriented, Loves Love, Fun, Inclusive, Informal, Energetic, Spirited. Our goal is for anyone who experiences our brand to immediately have a sense of surprise and delight. In the kickoff questionnaire, it asked, ‘Are there any colors we should avoid? Do you have any feel for bold or pastels?’ And even though the majority of our base is female, we still wanted it to appeal to a male audience.
It’s been more than six months, so how has it been received so far? Do you feel like the goals were reached?
I think it couldn’t have gone any better, and people have embraced The Happy Co. and never looked back. It comes up occasionally, where they love the new names so much. One person was going to be featured in a Brand Partner profile. She said, ‘Yes! But please don’t do it until after you launch the new brand so it can be in the name of The Happy Co.’ So, I think it’s gone really, really well.
Has any part of the new brand taken on a life of its own?
Yes, one of our supporting secondary marks, people have fallen in love with that. Maybe because it’s shorter, but to me, that was a surprising part of it. They use it on social media. That was the single-most-important objective of this brand, that it could live in a social media world and stop the scroll. They also put it on graphics and use it in recognition as well.
Clare Holbrook’s Top-Five Tips for Rebranding a Company
- Prior to beginning, be really clear on who you are, your mission and define your culture (in writing).
- Expense—be realistic about the total spend that a rebrand requires.
- Scope of project—extensive project workload.
- Proactive communication plan to prep the distributors prior to the rebrand
- Allow enough time for the entire rebranding process.
From the November 2021 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.