Several years back, Mastercard ran a highly successful series of advertisements, each of which itemized a list of small purchases that ultimately combined to create a moment in time whose value far and away exceeded the costs of the individual items purchased. Fittingly, each ad concluded by describing the moment as “Priceless”.
In many ways, our rebranding journey has played out like a Mastercard advertisement. Beginning in May of 2011, we recognized that our logo could use a facelift. While the heart rhythm on a gold oval had served us well, we believed that it could be improved upon. And so we set out in search of someone who could assist us in that endeavor. Initially, we tried to crowd source our way to a solution, but the designs provided simply didn’t resonate. With that lesson under our belt, we then tried working with local logo designers. That too proved fruitless.
By August, we were discouraged by our progress, but still held out hope that we could chart a successful way forward. It was at this time that we were introduced to the Living Blueprint (LBP) team. Via discussions with their team, we recognized the value of looking at our brand more holistically and digging deeper than simply at the logo in isolation. Through a series of introspective questionnaires and group discussions with our senior leadership team, we laid the foundation upon which the ultimate rebrand would occur. By now, it was November.
In January 2012, we came to a crossroads. We had invested, and would continue to invest, significant energy, time, and money into the rebrand process. The goal was to uniquely position ourselves in the market so as to better reflect the unique services we provided. In other words, we felt a compelling need to differentiate from the competition. With this as our goal, we had to ask a fundamental question – could we differentiate with Global Medical Services as our name? A little bit of research showed that more than 450 companies in British Columbia had “Global” in their name, and broadening the search to all of Canada left us with over 2700 companies using “Global” in their corporate identity. Clearly, differentiation with GMS as the name, while not impossible, would certainly be more difficult. In the end, although difficult, we elected to commit ourselves to finding a new name.
And so began a new chapter in the rebrand.
As optimistic as we were about the ability to whip up a logo, we were more so when it came to the name. All we wanted was a name that resonated with us, and helped us tell our story. Surely that would be simple, after all, creating a logo required artistic skills, but a name ….that was just wording. Or so we thought. Working closely with the LBP team over a three month period we produced more than 300 candidate names. Early on, we realized that simple English words were seemingly all taken by existing companies. We resorted to splicing names from different language roots. Some held promise (e.g. Impera Medical), and others, not so much so (e.g. Fapalena Medical ). Through several rounds of voting, we ultimately narrowed our search down to four candidate names, and turned it over to our staff for a final vote. The clear winner was Iridia Medical.
But that wasn’t the end of the naming process. Although we had a solid name, and cerebrally understood the merits of making the change, putting it to action was challenging. We had to start using it, hearing it, and feeling it to the extent that one can “feel” a name. We finally signed off on the name Iridia Medical in May 2012.
And then there was the logo.
While focusing on the name, we had abandoned efforts on the logo. With renewed passion, we dove back into logo development. As with the name, we were insistent on having a logo that represented us and helped tell our story. All told, we vetted over 300 logos before finally arriving at the tri-coloured, stakeholder engagement-themed logo that will represent us going forward. At signoff, the calendar was now showing August, a full 15 months since we initially thought of changing our logo.
We now had a name and a logo, but what about a tag line – that all-encompassing, pithy statement that serves to distill the essence of what you do down to a few key words. What would a rebrand be without a tag line? The challenge for us became identifying a common link amongst the diverse products and services we take to market. Fortunately for us, this did come quickly. We saw that people weren’t really buying AEDs, or consulting hours from us, but rather they were securing peace of mind. And so, Enabling Peace of Mind became our tagline of choice.
Next up was divisional taglines, descriptions, and feature bullets. In essence, this was itself a mini-branding exercise trying to find the best way to describe what each division of the company offered to the marketplace while still paying homage to the overriding company tagline already selected. Opinion differed, but through discussions, we landed on Tools to Save Lives (Products), The Right Care at the Right Time (Paramedics), Facilitating Practical Healthcare Solutions (Consulting), and Empowering People to Save Lives (Education).
With the name, logo, taglines, descriptions, and feature bullets addressed, we then turned our attention to developing marketing collateral. Questions abounded. What types would we need (banner stands, one-pagers, business cards, folders, etc., etc.)? What would they look like? How many would we print? Offset versus digital? Seemingly the variables were endless. But again, we stuck to it, and persevered.
And then there was the website.
The hallmark of our online presence, we clearly needed a new website designed to meet our growing needs and to be reflective of our fresh new brand. Thus, in parallel to the efforts outlined above, we were also engaged in the website design/layout process. When it came time to build the site, yet another player was introduced into the mix in the form of a website architecture firm. Working with IdeaLever over a period of 8 months, the website design drawings became a reality.
Now armed with all the brand elements needed, the final step was to simply switch company operations to Iridia Medical. “Simply” being the operative word. While no one task was overtly back breaking, the sheer amount of effort that went into flipping to a new brand identity was nothing short of staggering. It was not unlike trying to halt and redirect a fully loaded tanker ship powering along in the shipping lanes at full throttle. We had so much momentum attached to the name Global. Indeed, all of our documents had to be changed, all of our vendor and client accounts required updating, our phone system messaging needed the new information, our building signage had to be enhanced, etc. Coordinating all the moving parts in a timely fashion was akin to the challenge of conducting an orchestra wherein selected instruments are brought to bear at the right moment so as to bring about a very specific musical effect. Once again, as with every other step of the rebrand journey, we rallied and made it happen.
And then the big day came.
With staff nervously excited, we flipped the switch and became Iridia Medical on March 11th, 2013. The sum of the team’s collective efforts boiled down to that one moment in time on a date that will remain special to all of us.
And so, in looking back, it truly was a Mastercard commercial type of experience. How so? Let’s review….
We started with a desire to tweak a logo, and added:
• 1 year, 10 months, and 10 days (680 days)
• Countless hours
• Untold number of meetings
• A heavy dose of introspection
• >300 candidate names
• >300 candidate logos
• A new name, logo, and brand that resonates with our team, tells our story, and infuses us
In our mind, that truly is PRICELESS!