March 25, 2019
Working Bravely with a new brand
Maddie Garber, Head of Marketing
What is brand, exactly?
If you’ve asked yourself—or been asked—this question, you know that it’s not always an easy one to answer.
David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising,” defined brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” The Dictionary of Brand defines brand as “a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization.” Marty Neumeier, author and speaker on all things brand, defines brand by first laying out what a brand is not: “A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product.” Neumeier goes on to say that “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”
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Of course, brand is informed by what we see and hear—visual design, tone of voice—but it’s also a feeling and an experience. That’s why the best brands consider every single touchpoint, from Instagram posts to marketing emails to customer support chats.
It’s through this lens that we started thinking about our rebrand when we decided to give Bravely a refresh in fall 2018.
We asked ourselves: how could we develop a brand that delivered on our mission to make life at work better for everyone, providing employees with access to support in the moments they needed it most? What would it look like, what would it sound like, and what would it feel like?
Most branding exercises begin with naming—and if you’ve ever tried to come up with one, you know how difficult it can be. For starters, names are incredibly subjective, and people often have their own personal associations with words that are hard to shake. Beyond that, dealing with legal can be a major pain! Landing trademark rights is incredibly difficult, time consuming, and expensive.
Luckily for us, we got our name right the first time around.
We chose “Bravely” it for its ability to capture the way that we want people and organizations to work every day. When you’re working Bravely, you’re taking control of your happiness and success on the job. You’re approaching tough conversations (instead of letting issues fester), you’re asking for the things that you need from your manager (also known as “influencing up”), and you’re going forward to address more serious issues without fear of retribution.
We know that when people speak up earlier, more often, and more productively about the issues they’re facing at work, they’re more likely to be engaged and productive and less likely to leave their jobs.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done—according to our research, 70% of employees are avoiding difficult dialogue with their managers, colleagues, and direct reports. At Bravely, we call this the “Conversation Gap,” and we’re committed to helping company leaders close it through coaching.
Because this concept of communication is so core to who are and what we do, we knew that we needed our logo to reinforce it. This is how we ended up with our brand mark: two word bubbles that, when stacked on top of each other, look like a “B” (for Bravely).
Instead of making the word bubbles identical in form, we altered them slightly as a way to celebrate imperfection. (Our goal isn’t to help employees have “perfect” work lives—we’re simply here to provide them with confidence and clarity.)
We were incredibly lucky to work with Minkyung Lee, a Seoul-based illustrator who could not have done a better job of bringing our vision to life.
If you live in New York City and ride the subway, you’re likely familiar with a specific illustration style that seems to have been adopted by almost every cool tech startup. So we challenged Minkyung to do something different, and she delivered. The result is a cast of characters that feels unique to who we are and what we’re trying to do.
We also challenged Minkyung to portray diversity in a way that felt authentic and inclusive. We’re proud of the fact that Bravely is resource for every employee at every level—especially women and people of color. That’s why it was so important to us that our illustrations felt as real and representative as possible. Beyond race and gender identity, we also worked hard to be inclusive of age, body type, and even personal style. Our hope is that nobody will ever look at our website or open one of our emails and think “this isn’t for someone like me.”
Finally, we made the decision not to illustrate people with detailed facial features. When people scroll through our website or open one of our emails, we want them to see themselves in the people on the screen.
When we launched in May 2017, our color palette was composed of a variety of shades of purple. Admittedly our decision to go with these shades in the beginning wasn’t a particularly inspired one: purple is the color of Bravery, so it just felt appropriate. A little later, feeling the need to brighten things up a bit, we added a powdery periwinkle and seafoam green to the mix.
We took the rebrand as an opportunity to think more critically about how we wanted to express ourselves.
Since Bravely is all about people and communication, our palette needed to feel natural. Nothing should look like it came out of a highlighter. We landed on a primary palette composed of four colors: an ink blue, a dusty magenta, a forest-y green, and a vibrant yellow.
We also decided that we wanted to create a “mini palette” for each of our constituents: the HR leaders who buy Bravely, the employees who book coaching sessions, and the Pros that they speak with. On our new website, these colors serve as a way finding tool, helping these audiences make their way from page to page and find the content that’s most relevant to them.
While we’ll always have a soft spot for Proxima Nova, we’re incredibly excited to welcome two new fonts to the Bravely family.
We decided on Vista for our headlines—a font that belongs to the family of humanist sans-serif typefaces, which are characterized by the “presence of the hand.” (Since we’re all about communication, we thought that the nod to handwriting was nice.) We were drawn to some of its unique characteristics, like the curled corners on the bottom of letters, and thought that it was both bold and un-intimidating at the same time.
For our body copy, we decided to go with Gilroy. People are often unsure that coaching is for them, or nervous about giving it a try. That’s why we were drawn to Gilroy’s simple, rounded characters, which we felt were a great way to position Bravely as friendly and approachable. We also wanted to prioritize legibility, and knew that the clean and modern letters would be easy to read.
Finally, we love the way that friendly Gilroy and flourish-y Vista look together. It’s a little unexpected, which is a word we associate with the outcome of Bravely sessions. “I didn’t think that someone who works outside the walls of my company would be able to understand my situation,” people tell us in their surveys. “I actually have a plan now and I know what I’m going to do.”
As Bravely evolves, so, too, will our brand. My hope is that we’ll continue to identify the elements that look, sound, and feel right—and that represent that kind of company we’re trying to build.
For now, we’re immensely proud of this refresh, and we hope that you like it too.