Commsbank is 3!
When my kids turned three I remember feeling that deserved a medal for the endurance and resilience it had taken to keep them alive. They were messy, unpredictable and ever present. Their cute wee faces made me proud, anxious, astounded and nervous and left me in a state of permanent happy exhaustion.
And the same can be said about my start-up business.
Over the past three years I’ve found what makes me happy and that’s why I’m celebrating this coming of age with a new look, new website and exciting new service that develops communications skills and confidence by mentoring and coaching.
Back in September, I knew that 2019 was going to be a big year for Commsbank and its new look to reflect this exciting evolution. My design associate Will Shek produces inspired work for my clients (…with the help of my Crayola sketches) and has been with me on my start-up journey as a trusted designer, friend and coffee drinker.
This is our story (so far):
How we got here – our rebrand journey
Initially, we considered adopting a new name, but the CommsBank name is an important part of its journey to date, we felt an evolution was more appropriate than a complete rebrand. The infinity shape reflects its joined-up approach to communications. I chose this logo as I subconsciously gesticulate and draw this shape in the air when describing my approach to communications, for example aligning internal communications with PR.
Commbank now offers people development to improve skill and confidence when communicating, and the infinity logo reflects this joined-up approach, as does the strapline ‘collaborative communications’.
Over numerous cups of coffee, Will and I agreed my brand would reflect “high-end High Street”. I explained to him that my personal style is not a £10 handbag, nor a £1,000 designer handbag, so I wanted a brand that evokes the same level of expectation. Until now I had bootstrapped my business and had designed my own logo, the quirky infinity ball shape inspired by a Thomas Sabo ring I wear every day. But now I have Will to bring it up a notch!
We were after something which was impactful yet fun, business-like but quirky. The infinity symbol was simplified so it could be used across various mediums with clear legibility but also designed to be strong enough to stand on its own. For continuity we retained the teal colour but paired it with a dark grey with the teal almost acting like an accent colour. This allowed us to play about with colours and words (including a subtle ‘c’ and ‘b’ in the main logo).
The strapline was also retained and we considered a number of fonts to sharpen the look. You can see below that it took quite a few tries to settle on our font!
We eventually decided on the Kanit font family-a crisp and futuristic font whose flat angles played nicely against the curves of the infinity symbol. The font family coming in various weights also gave us some flexibility in our design material.
You do PR, right?
Urgh! This is something that I’ve battled with for the past three years. Yes, I can write and distribute a press release, but I am not a PR specialist. I am a communications specialist. If your message is appropriate to share with the media, and it is part of your communications strategy, then let’s issue a press release. Sometimes I will do that, but in many circumstances, I engaged a professional PR agency to support this activity.
Sorry, rant over. It’s probably my fault that people introduce me as “Karen does PR”, but my new messaging makes it clear that I’m a communications developer. My coach Nicky Jenkins helped me to see this obvious statement that had been staring me in the face. The power of having a good coach, thanks Nicky!
Scrubbing up online
Like with my logo, I was bootstrapping my business and built my own website. Never Again.
We have also made big changes to the website to reflect the new branding and services. The website offers continuity of Commsbank service to deliver practical communications (the bank) and people development support (the vault). These services solve specific challenges faced by small business owners.
As well as offering communications specific support, I’m keen to educate and enable success. I’m going to do this through regular blogs and events, and of course I’ll remain committed to supporting my networks in Dundee and Aberdeen. I’m making it easy to get in touch, and have even included my Starbucks order! (when I returned from working in New York I would ask for a “grande caramel macchiato extra hot with skimmed milk” to be met with a blank face. 15 years later, the baristas are no longer flummoxed by this Americanism and get my order right first time… although I still need to write it down for my husband!)
I know what I’m like
It was important for me not to lose the identity of the business, and as I mentioned, we’ve kept some aspects of our original branding to show that we’re not changing, just evolving.
I love words and had included quotes on the reverse of my business cards. I’m delighted when these pass around a room and people compare and swap their quotes. For me that’s what communications is about! Will spruced up the quotes with some cool fonts, and we adopted a square rounded-edge design to make best use of the infinity shape.
We had lots of fun crafting the new Commsbank look and messaging. The new website has been launched with digital Easter eggs. In case you don’t know, “in computer software and media, an Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work. It is usually found in a computer program, video game, or DVD/Blu-ray Disc menu screen. The name is used to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt. The term was coined to describe a hidden message in the Atari video game Adventure that encouraged the player to find further hidden messages in later games, leading them on a ‘hunt’.” (Wikipedia)
My aim is always to offer enthusiastic and creative communications support, and as I’m launching the new website at the start of Easter holidays, how could I not?!
Those that have worked with me in the past will not be surprised by this, and for others you’ll get to know me a lot more in the content on the website. My stories will always focus on communications and coaching, and are easily identified by the blog image:
It’s an exciting time at Commsbank and I’m very happy to be able to share it with you. This year I’m focusing on making my services even better, combining my new skills as an accredited coach and mentor and by collaborating with more brilliant freelancers and small businesses.
Keep an eye on www.commsbank.com for more updates – I can’t wait to show you what’s next!