The hardest thing to do as a company is to work on yourself. Even though Wildstory spends every waking moment thinking of culture, brand, content, and how to tell brand stories that move their client’s dream customers to action, we woke up one day to find ourselves in the unenviable position that causes many of our clients to seek our help.
We had a serious perception problem. We started the company with a similar belief and mission that we carry today – that stories change the world. By telling emotional, people-first stories we could change the way businesses interact with their employees, customers, and investors. Six years ago we thought the best way to do that was through public relations. We had some successes and built a nice little company but realized that while we were making money and serving clients, this wasn’t what we were meant to do.
Listening is a big part of any story We were also getting feedback like “I thought you just worked with outdoor brands” even though we work with all sorts of purpose-driven companies. And we had to hear the hard truth – that our brand was coming off as too “bro”, “rad”, and “all-male”. While we love getting outdoors and having fun, we want to make sure we are resonating with 70% of our customer base – women!
So we sprang into action. We instantly got to work, putting Wildstory through our own branding process. It’s tough work and we knew we had to be especially diligent as we are known for this type of work. No one’s going to trust a mechanic that can’t fix his or her own car, right?
The next phase was the visual story or visual identity piece. Most people and clients are most excited about this phase because this is where logo marks, colors, typography, and websites come into play. However, everything we do visually is influenced and supported by the verbal identity. It’s our North Star and it guides us when we need direction and tells us when to leave even great ideas on the cutting room floor.
Our design team embraced the challenge and we considered everything. Change the logo completely? Get rid of green? After much debate, the decision was made to evolve the word mark to reflect the Wildstory brand. Using a serif font and a lower case type, the mark has a friendly, accessible design. The serif font is a nod to our screenwriting background and reminds us that we are a creative agency that begins with words. Our heritage is storytelling, and we believe that everyone’s story is interesting and needs to be told.
We initially used green because of its outdoor and natural connotations, as well as representing growth and health. But we evolved our color palette to include additional colors to help communicate the diversity of industry and the stories that we tell, all from an authentic point of view.
We even added textures in the form of doodles, sketches and notations in our graphic language, all in an effort to showcase the grit involved in really digging into a brand and finding the heart of the story. These textures allow us to show the marks of our journeys within every story we tell.
These design elements were then applied to the website design where we trumpeted a “less is more” design esthetic. Many websites try to cram a ton of content and every last piece of information into them. Our philosophy was that we want to clearly communicate who we are, who we are talking to, and what we do. Any confusion to that message would be an obstacle and a road block or “bounce” for potential new clients. The website is focused primarily on telling stories in a big way with a visual design system that supports the story telling.
Flipping to the next chapter… Today, we’ve found our footing and we’re striving forward with confidence. We feel we’re telling our own story in the way we want to be perceived – as a branding shop that tells brand stories for amazing companies so they can realize their dreams. But we have to remind ourselves we can never let our own brand story get complacent again. Branding is never truly finished. It’s a living, breathing thing that needs constant love and attention.