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We just rebranded a company without meeting face-to-face (here’s what we learned).

As a studio, we’ve always embraced remote working practices. It keeps our overheads low and means we can pull in specialists regardless of geographic location.

Our international teams of creative talent work with businesses across the UK to help them define and build their brands. However, we usually start the project with at least one of us meeting the client in person.

Whisk are an entirely remote business of 20 employees who are based in multiple countries and time zones. Over the past 4 months, we’ve been working with Whisk to help them reposition and rebrand their company. And we did it all without meeting them face-to-face.

I’m sure the idea of rebranding a company remotely isn’t a new one, but it taught us a lot and actually showed us that we really do have the ability to work with businesses from any part of the world.

If you’re a business thinking of using an overseas agency, or you’re an agency thinking about working with an overseas client, here’s how we did it, and everything we learned in the process.

Note – If you prefer video to words, our founder Naeem recently sat down with Whisk’s founder, Nick Holzherr, and Whisk’s COO, Stuart Renshaw, to talk through the branding process and what we all learned. It’s quite long so make a brew and settle in. If you’re in a rush, read on for a summary of the most important stuff.

How we worked remotely 

I should start this by expressing our thanks to Whisk as they’ve spent the last 5 years working out all the kinks of how to be a successful remote business, and pretty much every tool we used was inspired by them. Thanks Whisk!

The key tool we used throughout the rebranding process was Google Meet (previously called Google Hangouts). I’ve had lots of remote meetings in the past using software like Skype, UberConference and Zoom, but Whisk runs on the Google suite and it wouldn’t have made sense to switch to another video-conference tool.

Establishing the right foundations

Before the project commenced, we all agreed key meeting times to present work and share feedback. Where possible, we chose times for these meetings where they would suit everyone’s time zones. If this wasn’t possible, or someone just couldn’t make a meeting, we recorded the meeting for them to watch at a later date (this was an extremely useful way of making sure everyone felt part of the rebrand journey, without slowing the project down).

The format of our meetings

Most virtual meetings took the following approach:

1. A couple of minutes of everyone catching up and waiting for people to sign in

2. A quick overview of where we were in the project, our key takeaways from the last meeting, and an overview of what we’d be sharing today.

3. We would then present our latest work with members of the Notepad team chipping in where relevant.

4. At the end of each meeting, we’d have a quick round robin to get everyone’s initial feedback and then agree a deadline for sharing fuller feedback.

Finding the best way to share feedback

Providing and interpreting feedback was probably the hardest bit of this process and through trial and error we found the most effective approach was as follows:

1. Whisk record a virtual meeting without Notepad and each member of the team speaks openly about what they like and don’t like about the work presented

2. A member of the Whisk team collates everyone’s thoughts in one list and everyone signs it off before sending it to Notepad with a link to the video recording.

3. We have a follow-up virtual meeting with the client to run through the list of feedback and challenge anything we don’t agree with

4. Notepad circulates an updated feedback list with our actions for next phase of iteration

How this project changed our thinking

This process has genuinely opened our eyes to how we can better use technology to work with more overseas clients and work more remotely as a team. There’s still a part of me that feels you can’t beat the feeling of getting a client in a room, sticking things up on walls, and getting super creative, but we’ve learned that a lot of that really isn’t necessary or beneficial to the process.

The next challenge for us will be working remotely with a client that isn’t remote in the slightest. From experience, I know internal buy-in during a rebrand is a lot easier when you bring people together but I’m confident it could still work without the need for face-to-face interaction.

I’m super keen to try this out so if you’re based outside of Birmingham or London and want to work with us, give us a virtual shout.

To find out more about the Whisk rebrand, check out the full case study here.

 

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