‘The Great One’ gives pretty solid branding advice

When a friend of mine quoted hockey legend Wayne Gretzky the other day, I knew the name—even though I don't follow sports (I call hockey “iceball”). Anyway, Gretzky said that he always tried to skate to where the puck was going to be, instead of where it was at that moment. Thinking ahead put him in a position to make plays, whereas if he got too caught up in the present, he risked being left behind when things shifted.

That’s more than enough sports for one blog post (or for a year’s worth of blog posts, really). But that example stuck with me, because when we say “Let’s design your future,” we’re talking about something very similar.

Where do you want to be?

A brand identity rooted too firmly in the present might be fine today, but it likely won’t resonate with the customers a client wants to attract down the road. And if the organization is growing and changing (or wants to grow and change) it might not be too long before that branding doesn’t tell the right story about the organization itself.

That’s why we ask clients about their goals and their plans—and then we start thinking ahead. What will the client’s competition look like in X years? Who will their customers be then? What other changes might be on the horizon? “Designing for the future” means we want to help our clients move forward, to get where they want to be.

WWC Global logo before and after

The work we did for WWC Global is a perfect example of this. At the time of the project, the firm was small—at least as far as federal contractors go—but the founders were thinking bigger. Diving into a deeper pool, though, meant stronger competition. To do more than just stay afloat, they needed branding that projected more credibility and confidence.

The new brand identity we crafted aligned WWC Global’s look with its already-strong capabilities, making it clear that the firm was capable of swimming with bigger fish.

Long-term benefits

This kind of forward thinking can help when it comes to evaluating the return on your investment in design, too. Say you spend $10,000 on your project, but you expect to keep the branding for 5 or more years. (Not a stretch at all, as a solid brand identity designed with the future in mind can serve you well for a long time.) That’s just $2,000 a year over the expected lifespan. How many new, or bigger, clients would it take to make up that cost annually? Probably not too many.

On the flip side, doing nothing—only looking at where the puck is today—could cost you far more. And the worst part is you probably won’t ever know. Potential customers aren’t going to call you and say, “Well, your website looked terrible, so I went with your competitor.” They just won’t call you at all. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

That Gretzky guy? He did OK.

I had to look it up, but our friend Wayne has more goals and assists than anyone else in National Hockey League history, won four championships, and held 61 league records when he retired. (I guess I see why they call him “The Great One.”) Obviously, a lot of that is due to natural ability and hard work, but his “skate to where the puck is going to be” approach probably had more than a little to do with it, too.

Where is your business going to be in the years ahead? Where do you want it to be? The right branding can help your business thrive—and help you make sure the answer to that first question matches the answer to the second. Let’s talk about tomorrow … today!