Why do we exist? Where do we belong? How do we express ourselves?
This is how Gabbi Cahane, one of the most experienced brand operators I’ve had the pleasure to meet, boiled down the essence of a brand. The brand should be about the essentials, not the details. And people who care most about our brand are not the customers, but people we work with every day. Those who care about us, about what we do and about how we’re perceived.
That’s what makes a brand redesign so complex and emotional. And why so many of them get lost in details, like colours or logos. Because asking (and answering) the big questions is both hard and essential.
With those of us that have been a part of d.labs story for the last 9 years, it was not in any way different. Our beloved (and sometimes frightening) killer-froggy was was a symbol of our adaptive, agile and nimble nature. Coming from humble beginnings it was a personification of our spirit, that longed to find ways towards our growth and the growth of our startups (we can be quite motherly when it comes to our clients) within the jungle of the startup ecosystem.
But in the end, the frog was about our story. And that just wasn’t good enough anymore. The experience of co-creating over 50 businesses taught us that it was time to make the brand about what we learnt and what we believe in.
So we want back to the essentials. To the three questions on the top. And we realised the ultimate reason why we’re building digital products is not that we believe growth is the only answer. Growth is an amazing and fulfilling side-effect of discovering a product that has a clear purpose and an audience. But it’s not the reason.
What we discovered about ourselves is that we believe in the entrepreneurial journey itself. The one where every day there are learnings to be had, challenges to overcome, users to delight, failures to endure; to recognise the eureka moments and to celebrate great successes. We exist so that we can inspire and drive the grit that allows our clients and us to get better at all of that. Our deliverables might be design and code, but our work is people.
Entrepreneurship, especially in the early stage, is a beautiful mess. Science and methods can help us with structuring our thoughts and strategies, but ultimately their function is to prevent foreseeable mistakes. The rest is intuition and execution. Messy, complex and in no way predictable. We belong in this world. Right next to the entrepreneurs that charge their search for something that will make an impact.
We thought how best to express this drive and care we have for the entrepreneurial spirit. And we knew what we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want to claim we have all the answers or that it’s all roses and puppies. Truth is, most of the every-day things we and our clients do, are about being disciplined and methodical and far less about being creative and inspiring. But it’s exactly those small moments that make or break the startup and we wanted to capture those in the medium that has inspired our childhood imaginations for so long — the comics. We called these comics The Enterprenation.
Starting with a few, we’ll share more with time and use them to celebrate both the beautiful, the bad and the ugly side of startups. The mundane and the glorious.
Do let us know your comments here or on any channel you found them and if you like them, do share with your entrepreneurial friends.
In the end, brand redesigns at the beginning are like an ugly duckling. The best one can hope for is that in time, by being consistent, honest and clear about what you believe in, they will reveal their complete nature. We’re not entirely sure about where this brand leads, but we’re excited to see where it will take us.
Oh, and for those of you that are looking for a product partner with such ethos get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.