A Peek Inside Innocean's Bold Rebrand

Trekking further, finding more

Visual elements go such a long way toward defining a brand's identity in the marketplace—and it's no different for agency brands. It provides a unifying vision and clear sense of the mission to everyone working there. It can be a lightning rod for top talent. The culture is richer. And it gives prospective clients a clear understanding of what you believe in, sometimes well before you ever meet face-to-face. Chiat Day has used self-definition to great success. David & Goliath, too. While Innocean has helped plenty of clients develop successful brands over the years, we haven't applied the same deep commitment to building our own brand. Knowing that we were a mystery to many people, and knowing that our ambitions have dramatically increased in recent years, we decided it was time to firmly establish a new Inocean.

So we took a journey of self-discovery, critically looking at our clients, capabilities and offerings. We thought about where the industry was headed and what would resonate with people internally and externally, from a global CMO to a junior copywriter. Most importantly, we thought about how to marry our aspirational selves with who we are today. Given that we've already been upping the ante on our work and talent, we were ready to commit to something big, that would signify our new thinking.

"We Are Explorers" felt connected to what we do best—discovering brilliant marketing solutions on behalf of our many clients. And that notion of discovery has never been more salient. Clients are more eager than ever to discover new audiences and breakthrough to current ones. They want to find new pathways for growth, for less. And they also want to know how the latest innovations, like AI, will help or hurt them.

We developed an internal rallying cry that would unite us and inspire us to do brilliant, impactful work. That would encourage brave thinking and encompass our curiosity for what’s next. And, in the face of continual obstacles and change, would help us reach our collective potential. That phrase has now become a giant mural in our heavily-trafficked agency lobby—"The further you go, the more you find."

As far as the diver iconography goes, that was a natural fit. Not only was it a metaphorical tie-in (adventurous spirit, seeking new and uncharted territories, always diving deeper for answers), it also connected us to our geographic location—on the shores of Huntington Beach, California.

And, in the spirit of our philosophy, we didn't stop there. We developed a list of core beliefs. Thoughts like, "Fear Now, Fame Later," which explains the need for bravery in the face of discomfort, "Make Things That Make Noise" which speaks to the need for ideas that get noticed and garner earned media, and "Brave Every Wave," which talks about adapting to constant change. We've embedded this new thinking in our culture, with Explorer Awards given to those who achieve greatness, and Explorer Hours, time set aside each week for our employees to seek out new ideas.

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Jason Sperling
Jason Sperling is chief creative officer at INNOCEAN.

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