Think branding and most people think: logo, colour palette, icons, photography, and typeface. But what about the work that happens before all that - the research and foundational work that grounds a brand in not just creativity, but evidence and insight?
Invisible branding is the unseen elements that come together to create something that feels coherent, and sets the tone for the visual identity and personality that you eventually see. Join us as we take you behind the scenes of our own distillery brand refresh - and reveal how much more there is to branding than meets the eye.
‘The work before the work’ of branding
We started working on our new brand long before we looked at anything visual.
Because distillery offers such a broad range of expert services (we’re lucky to have some amazing talent!) it was a challenge to pin down what we do in one simple sentence. Working with Robin Bonn from brand consultancy Co:definery, we took our first (invisible) steps toward what we wanted to achieve.
Over several half-day sessions, we worked at cracking the very large egg that is distillery. What did we stand for? What was our biggest strength? What answers did our clients look to us to provide? These aren’t the questions you might typically associate with a rebranding project - but as we realised very early on, they definitely should be.
Turning marketing speak into distillery chat
The more we worked through the sessions, the clearer our shared understanding of where distillery was and where we wanted it to go became. That’s when we decided to take a step back and look at our progress. We now had a crystalised message, and clear ways of talking about our expertise and services - now it was time to take the marketing speak out of the equation, and put the distillery back in.
Bringing in a second (and a third) opinion
distillery is anything but an inward-looking content studio. After all, we ground our work in evidence! It made sense to bring our advisors into the conversation - trusted friends with a wealth of experience in branding, advertising and communication. We also spoke to companies that we’d love to have as clients, to find out what they really want from their agencies, and what they look for in the way an agency presents itself.
Team feedback as key, not afterthought
We needed to bring together teams across continents, making our London HQ and Singapore hub feel connected by the same brand language, visual identity - and most importantly, the same vision. From the outset, we knew we wanted to incorporate feedback from distillers as we went along, not as an afterthought.
By involving everyone at an early stage instead of dropping it on their doorstep as a finished product, we made sure that our brand genuinely reflects our team and our culture. It’s something that you might not see on the surface, but you can probably feel.
And finally, the design work.
It may seem unusual to talk about design in the last few paragraphs of a post about a rebrand, but to us it makes absolute sense.
Our work as a content studio depends on the solid foundation of strategy, broadminded thinking, and team collaboration. This approach has helped us to deliver a brand identity that’s not bound to trends or fads - but stays true to who we are, and who we want to be.
Part of growing up - is learning.
There’s no underestimating the power of a solid foundation for building a brand that feels genuine and can last for years to come.
By distilling down to the core and looking at your brand purpose in a new light, you can discover a strength that previously went untapped. And involving your entire company in the journey ensures that the new brand isn’t something that’s just accepted - it wins fans across the team.
distillery has grown up, and we’re ready for what’s next. Are you?