Garrison Gutter Guards is Ironjet’s most comprehensive Brand Development to date, consisting of everything from business naming and visual identity to the rollout of employee forms, online presence, and hard goods.
Garrison Gutter Guards
- Market, competitor, and keyword research
- Brand positioning & strategy (naming, slogan, vision, mission, etc.)
- Visual identity development (logo, colour palette, typography, core visual symbols, style, etc.)
- Hard goods (business cards, promo coupons, tradeshow hardware, trailer decals, apparel, etc.)
- Online presence (website, social media management, ad strategy, etc.)
- Internal Brand culture (employee forms, online HR portal, etc.)
The Journey Begins
In late 2018, Ironjet became involved in a business development project for the exclusive Canadian supplier of Valor Gutter Guards. The product was already established in the US, but our client wished to re-brand it for Canada. The brand development began with an assessment of the current Canadian market including possible competitors and collaborators.
Contrary to popular practice, a business or product shouldn’t be named at the start of the journey. Rather, the name emerges after an incubation period, and must be something that resonates with both the prospective audience and company stakeholders.
Naming a business is sort of like naming a baby. First, the baby has to develop internally and be born to a very small audience. Then, the business owner can just look at her and say “I know your name, now let’s go meet everyone.”
Part of that internal development consisted of working on the brand’s purpose, promise, core values, and mission/vision statements. In this case, it also involved a consideration of existing brand equity (in the Valor name) and brand hierarchy. We also spent time looking at what made the product different than other products on the market, and how that difference was relevant to its prospective customers.
At Ironjet, we also like to establish the brand’s personality by considering who the business’ prospective customers will be, analyzing competitor brands, and then merging that information with direction from stakeholders.
Finally, the baby was ready to be named.
A Gutter Guard by any Other Name…
There have been entire books written on naming a business or product. As mentioned, at Ironjet we rely on a pre-established personality and the words or images associated with it, along with words or images that describe the product.
We came up with a preliminary list of a dozen or so name ideas, along with our “personality keywords”. Often the initial list of names is meant to get the creative juices flowing and encourage collaborative discussion.
In this case, some of our initial names included: Drainstorm, Eavesy (which is now a sub-product of the brand), Flowguard, Duramesh, Crownway, and Flo-tech. There were a dozen more that had to be rejected immediately as a quick search revealed products and businesses of the same name. A few of our personality and product keywords included: gutter, enduring, safeguard, guard, armor, and shield.
Great minds think alike and the best business names are usually taken. It pays to check the applicable registries and Google before getting too attached to any name.
After some discussion among the stakeholders, and hearkening back to the language we had used to describe the brand’s empire-like personality, Garrison Gutter Guards was selected as the final name. It was the perfect picture: a perimeter of outposts that guards a person’s castle from heavy rainfall and debris.
The slogan (brandline) came much easier: “Break the storm. Deny the Debris.” was proposed by Ironjet and accepted immediately.
Using well-established principles of persuasion, an Elevator Speech was formulated which would make it easy for anyone to promote the Garrison product.
By the time Ironjet was finished, we ourselves were true believers in the product and able to expound the benefits of Garrison over its competitors.
The War Room
Armed with our research, we started to formulate a strategy to slowly take over Canada by stealing market share from existing brands. This included developing a broad Sales Strategy and more focused Product Estimate Strategy for foot soldiers, and a Digital Strategy for social media and web presence.
Lead generation would come through a combination of traditional methods tied to modern functionality.
The Visual Identity
With the Brand Positioning all wrapped up, it was time to move on to the artist’s favourite part: the Visual Identity.
For large projects like this, we usually like to do a mood or brand board, but since we were on a tight deadline we went straight to the logo and colour palette. As usual, all of our symbols were custom made
Coming Soon: learn why you shouldn’t use images from Google or a stock photo site for your logo.
Final logo (and variants)
A Logo for Every Season
Like the business name, the logo usually emerges from well-laid ground work. In the case of Garrison Gutter Guards, the first logo that was created was the one that was ultimately chosen (with a different logotype).
At Ironjet, we prepare several standard “variants” of the logo which may be used for different applications. For instance, the wide, landscape version of the logo may fit well on the website, but not on a tall, stand-up banner.
One of the other considerations that we take very seriously is how well the logo will work for embroidery, screenprint, or vinyl cut work.
There are minimum sizes and stroke widths that must be adhered to otherwise the logo will look absolutely terrible on a piece of apparel – or worse, be unusable.
We prefer to side step the problem by anticipating future needs and standardizing them right from the start.
The Power of Colour
Colour is one of the most important (if not the most important) visual considerations when creating a memorable brand.
Studies have shown that we see colour before we process language or shapes, and that colours have the power to shape our emotions or physical state. Colours also mean different things to different cultures, and so choosing the right colour palette can be challenging.
For Garrison, we wanted to come across as authoritative but not offputting. A navy blue is authoritative, but a slightly brighter royal is better at creating feelings of affection for a brand. Natural colours such as teal (water), burnt orange and gold (fall leaves), and charcoal were also used along with a white background that feels professional and clean.
Benchmark colour ratios were created, along with swatches that outline each colour’s values in various application spaces.
Pantones are particularly important to consider right from the beginning, as it can be tough to find a good match as an afterthought. In fact, this is one of the most common problems we encounter when producing items for outside brands.
Bringing it All Together
Creating a unified layout is something we have a great deal of experience in, at Ironjet. Visual hierarchy is extremly important to effective communication, and we like to take the time to, at the least, create a sample layout which can be referenced by anyone who works on visual identity pieces in the future.
Ideally, though, we like to keep everything in-house and have spent many years accumulating the appropriate equipment and vendor contacts to ensure the visual identity is consistent across a wide array of products.
For Garrison, we set up the standard typography rules along with various custom icons, shapes, and textures to highlight the product’s Unique Selling Points (USP’s). We were also fortunate to have an existing library of product photography to pull from (Valor), but encouraged Garrison to curate its own collection.
Once the Visual Identity is nailed down, it’s usually crunch time as the new business wants to show off its image on as many items as possible, within their budget.
For Garrison, this meant immediately creating a variety of trade show materials with tight deadlines. These consisted of retractable banners, tablecloths, collapsable backdrops, rep. apparel, and take-home promotional literature.
And what better way to preview the materials than a 3D layout of the booth they had booked, allowing them to evaluate multiple arrangements and see how everything looked in one single snapshot.
We were also asked to get their social media and website up and running so that they could generate leads using a special form, complete with tracking data and ad campaigns. It’s the sort of thing that typically takes several months to roll out. We did it in less than three.
Where is Garrison now?
In under a year, the company has continued to expand and gain market share, with offices in BC, Ontario, and Alberta. The business has also gained over a dozen employees and established two sub-brands (Eavesy and Alina) which offer complimentary products.
One of Ironjet’s proudest moments came when an experienced consultant asked the owner of Garrison if he had bought into a franchise. The brand is so strong that it appears to be a chain to outside eyes.
Let Ironjet do the same for you and your next big idea. We can accelerate your business – even to national levels – in a very short period of time. And with everything under one roof, there’s no need to go anywhere else!