After graduating from our accelerator program, Mark Tickel was ready to launch his own brand. He’d previously worked as a partner/director in another firm, and was ready to create his “army of one”.
With everything he learnt from the 12-weeks of training, he knew the direction he wanted to go in. He wanted a brand the captured the idea of businesses starting anew, whilst encapsulating the vibrant feel of coastal town Brighton, where he was based.
Mark’s idea was that his brand would focus on his love of teaching, something he wanted to originally do before qualifying as an accountant:
“I had wanted to be a teacher. I believe there will be a demand for the helpful, teaching, guiding, down to earth assistance that i want to provide for small businesses.”
For Mark, this would be a completely new brand to launch, with a website to support his new brand and create a platform to showcase everything he has to offer.
We agreed a Rocketspark website would be best – with Mark being the figure behind the brand, using Rocketspark meant he had easy capability to edit his site going forward. But first stop… brand:
The first stage was the Brand Explorer, an opportunity to identify words and phrases that could become the name for Mark’s firm.
During the explorer sessions, a theme that kept reappearing was the idea of providing freedom, family time and fresh air for clients. Mark very kindly shared his story of coming from London to Brighton, and how he loved being by the sea and getting out in the fresh air with his family and the family dog:
When you’re at home, life revolves around getting stuff done, staring at computers, ipads, iphones. When you’re out, that doesn’t matter. I feel very fortunate to have done well, and my kids have a good life – that’s what I want for them, for clients. A better life, better business, and making money and tax should be a by-product of that.
This was a powerful theme that would eventually be the core of Mark’s brand. During the sessions, we went deeper into this concept of fresh air, and providing support that allows clients to live their lives. All of our conversations came back to this idea of fresh air – Bringing your head above water, going for a walk to think about things, not holding your breath waiting for the problems to go away.
From here, we had a shortlist of names: Fresh air, Freedom, Breathe, Open Sky – all with connotations of Mark providing freedom, open and honest support… but none of these were hitting the mark 100%.
So, we revisited the conversations we’d be having to think about the messaging. Everything was coming back to businesses coming to Mark and starting over, turning over a new leaf, starting on a journey, a new path with the right accountant – It was about starting “afresh.”
As we realised we were repeating the word “afresh”, everyone agreed that this was a fantastic new name to use, capturing the ideas Mark wanted. And with the name came the logo concept.
As we developed the concept, we took a look at all the notes from previous conversations and looked for common themes. Some of those were looking forward to the future, having space, being able to breathe, openness.
The initial concepts captured this through the use of lines, helping to symbolise forward momentum and movement going forward. But what we found is that the earlier concepts gave more of an agricultural feel which wasn’t bringing across the idea we and Mark wanted.
The idea was that the brand would symbolise turning into a brighter era, turning over a new page or chapter when working with Afresh, as well as bringing in the brightness of sunshine and the locale of Brighton.
As this concept developed, the goal was to bring more of the movement from the first concepts, which led to the final version of the logo. This takes the momentum from previous concepts and the idea of moving forward with lines to represent starting a new, and the curves bringing in the breeze/waves of the Brighton area.
Once that was nailed, we explored various typefaces to decide on the feel of the brand. Did we want a solid and bold approach or a more handwritten, natural, script look?
In the end, we went with a more scripty font as it worked well with the curves of the logo, and both the font and icon flowed well together. It was Mark’s own shape, unique to him, with a plethora of different ways to symbolically interpret the icon.
With the brand finalised, it was time for strategising the website, starting with the homepage.
As we were brainstorming the content, one of the discussions we had was the use of pronouns. One argument was to use “I” throughout the site, to show Mark is the sole person behind Afresh. The other argument was to use “we” to give longevity to the brand coupled with the view of Mark wanting to recruit and build a team.
In the end and after discussions with Mark, we settled on using “we” throughout the site, with a view of having individual sections about Mark personally to show his backstory and his journey to setting up Afresh. This was a powerful story around his idea of teaching and educating his clients, something that was core to the brand.
From there we brainstormed the remaining pages, and how a different spin can be put on the services and contact page. Throughout the whole process, Mark had talked about the process people would take when working with him, and how it centres of “being better at everything.” This was the concept that would eventually become his “Be better” page, acting as a different take on services and instead focusing on the journey his clients would take.
We also opted for “Get started” instead of “Contact”, focusing on using the page to qualify leads with a diagnostic before getting in touch with Mark.
The end result is a vibrant look to launch Mark’s new firm to the world, capturing the feeling of starting anew with the bright locale of Brighton.
We’re also thrilled to see Mark has taking his learnings from the accelerator program and dive right into blog writing, building on the questions his clients are asking him – great job Mark!