Let’s Get Dirty: The 2009 Oneupweb Rebrand Process

Are People Going to Think We’re Nuts?

It’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves a lot lately. I think it surfaced in our very first meeting. Notes strewn across the conference table, brain nerves fried, our CEO asked “what’s shi zizzle?” And yes, she was serious.

The “are we crazy” question popped up again when someone (not me! I swear!) mentioned a whole ad campaign based on the following copy: The only thing wrong with being a dinosaur is, they’re all dead. Don’t Die. Hire Oneupweb.

Extinction theories aside, I think the are-we-nuts question is something every person asks themselves at least once when they tackle a complete rebranding process. And that’s exactly what’s goin’ down at Oneupweb.

Welcome to the no holds barred, tell it like it is, straight from the trenches blog series on the true inner-workings of Oneupweb’s website redesign. I’m your host, at least until I let some life or death secret slip. Then I’ll probably have to go into hiding or consider joining the Peace Corps like Baby’s dad wanted her to do instead of sleep with that weird dancer-guy. (Nobody puts Baby in a corner!) But until then, let’s crack open a cold one and get down to business.

If we were Julie Andrews looking after 7 (seven?!) children, we’d start at the very beginning. But that would take us back to the 90’s in Alaska. And while the story of Oneupweb started there, our rebrand started a few months ago when we all sat down to answer one single question: Who is Oneupweb? Now, that’s not an easy question. I believe I lost several hundred hair follicles trying to figure out the answer.

What’s our personality? What colors represent us? What do we do? How has what we do changed? How have we changed? Should we have a mascot? (Sorry Fritter, that one was a no!)

We’re quite an eclectic group, so deciding on the overarching Oneupweb personality was a bit of a struggle. Since all of us actually live in Traverse City, we decided to start there, and found that unique Midwestern work ethic in just about everything we do.

Vicious badminton matches, air hockey tables actually broken in the heat of the competition and more table talk in euchre than a senior’s networking event, another common denominator appeared. We like to have fun.

But what do we do for our clients? Our programmers listen to heavy metal behind closed doors (we make them do that, for our own sanity) and invent a lot of cool shit. Like the latest technology that helps our clients stay ahead of the pack. And our project managers are pretty down to earth (except for that one guy, he knows who he is). So the words started to emerge: fun/humorous (at least, we laugh at ourselves a lot), innovative, tenacious, straightforward, direct, down to earth, early adapters, creative. The Oneupweb personality.

Then we had to look at colors. Now, you think this would be easy. There are only three primary colors. But our designers had to get all creative, and start looking at different pantone colors, and color combinations, and color wheels. They pulled colors off of our walls (not literally), analyzed what shade of blue best described us and why. We even looked at hot pink – yes, hot pink. But don’t worry, that one got thrown out pretty quickly. And by the time we were done, we’d left the primary colors in the dust!

Spoiler Alert: If you’ve ever been inside our offices on Bayshore Drive, you’ve seen our new color palette. If not, you’ll just have to wait in anticipation for the final reveal.

Then came the question of how to use the colors. We looked everywhere for inspiration, inside the office and out. A few of us even took the question with us to the slopes, and there, among snowboarders, skiers–and magically avoiding any broken bones when we “accidentally” went down a black diamond–we found our answer. Curious what it is? Only the Oneupweb marketing department and Shaun White know.

So anyway, we somehow managed to get all of these questions answered. And then came the hard part–portraying those answers to our clients, potential clients, partners, competition, co-workers and anyone else who might come into contact with the Oneupweb brand.

Today, right now, we have a website shell. And our plan is to have that shell get filled in a little more everyday. Videos, podcasts, copywriting–it’s all just getting set into motion. I’ll keep you updated every Tuesday on our progress, our trials and tribulations along the way. There may be more hair loss, migraines and short bursts of screaming. But it will all be worth it in the end. It’s like the Duke said, “This kind of war, you gotta believe in what you’re fighting for.” Fo Shizzle.

Check back next Tuesday for the latest updates on the Oneupweb rebrand. I’ll keep posting every week until it’s live. And that’s a promise.