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By Stu Perry - Group Creative Director 26th June 2018 Read time 2 minutes
Defining any brand has its challenges. Defining your own - even more so. It’s as much about soul searching as strategic thinking. Especially when many of your colleagues and senior management have strong, long-standing emotional ties to the business you’re about to utterly redefine. But it’s also incredibly exciting to see the energy and momentum a process like this can generate.
I was in a lucky position, a rare one actually. Working freelance at M3 for several months gave me the perfect opportunity to look at the agency with fresh eyes. So when it came to discussions about taking on a full time role here, things naturally led to where we wanted the business to be and how we were going to get there. It was great to see there was an appetite to move M3 on to the next stage in its evolution.
So we took some time, and began working out how we could take M3 to another level.
We needed to redefine ourselves from the inside out. A radical change for bigger rewards. Starting from the ground up - but without alienating clients we’d looked after brilliantly for years. We even considered renaming the agency, but quickly realised that this wasn’t the right thing to do and could create more negatives than positives.
So, building something real and ownable behind the M3 name became the central challenge. Something that is easy to understand, gives us creative freedom and a strong personality, and carries a clear set of values. Something we could get behind AND use to guide our behaviour and attitudes. A way of thinking internally that can change perceptions externally. Showing that we’re capable of competing at every level. So, 'Let’s do something' was born.
Yes, it’s simple. But it means a lot. It gives us permission to talk and challenge all kinds of stuff in all kinds of ways to all kinds of people. It’s visionary, but grounded. Conversational, but aspirational. And it allows us to begin building a real agency culture around a central thought.
Let’s do something creative
Let’s do something smart
Let’s do something different
Let’s do something beautiful
Let’s do something furry
Let’s do something unexpected
Let’s do something now
Let’s do something together
You get it. Three words, no end of possibilities. And something we can deliver on consistently across the business.
Then we needed a new look to go with our new mantra. Again, we came up with a simple, but very powerful solution. Any designer worth their salt knows that a 3 is just an M on its side. But it needed to be a shape unique to us - something very distinctive - something ownable that captures of the personality of M3 and its people.
We had a logo. Great, job done. We built a whole tone of voice around the brand. Down to earth, conversational and engaging, but, we wondered, could we go even further by looking at it and thinking, let’s do something? After all, when a client comes to us with a problem, we keep an open mind to discover the best solution. It might be an ad, an app, a game, a piece of DM or a social campaign...we explore every option and then deliver the right one brilliantly. We wanted to create versions of our logo that support our positioning, and say something about the craft and quality we offer. They look like this.
Our brand brought to life in many different worlds. You’ll see them dotted around the building, and you’ll see them on our website and stationery. And we've even produced them as posters that we’ll gladly send out to anyone who wants one (there’s eight and everyone has a fave).
This is just the start. Our new attitude is changing things right across our agency, We’ve knocked down some walls (literally and mentally) as we develop a more open, creative space. We’ve written a neat little brand book that brings Let’s do something to life for everyone. And we’re expanding our operation to London and Birmingham.
So we’re well and truly on our way. With a strong brand and a set of values that reflect the experience people have with M3.
One last thing. I never forget how lucky I am to be working in this industry. Despite all of its frustrations, and battles, coming to work and doing what we do is worth sitting back and appreciating sometimes. Let’s be proud of what we’re all capable of. Let’s do something.
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