VSSL Rebrand Repositions the Agency
VSSL Website & Brand Refresh
VSSL Website & Brand Refresh
Agency outgrows Digital Style,
embarks on new adventure as VSSL
In 2013 David Tillson, Tim Peacock and a few freelancers launched a full-service marketing agency called Digital Style. Back then, Tillson’s vision was to create an environment where good people could do great work in a fun, creative space.
The agency began to grow and quickly added more high-level clients to its roster, increased the level and complexity of solutions it offered, and won prestigious awards.
Along with this growth came the expansion of the team, evolving into a crew of knowledgeable, experienced, media-hustlin’ executives, strategists, designers, writers, and account managers.
Eventually, Digital Style – the name, the brand, and the website – no longer reflected the people behind the agency. Nor did it represent their strengths or their vision.
“Digital Style lacked emotion and there wasn’t a connection with our team or our work. The name wasn’t going to position us where we wanted to go as a team, ” said David Tillson, VSSL Principal.
They could have simply just updated the existing logo and website. But the crew took that off the table pretty quickly. It was clear that the team had outgrown the brand, and a simple website upgrade wasn’t going to fix that. So the crew embarked on a whole rebrand instead.
Tillson, Peacock, and the team quickly got to work figuring out what they wanted to achieve with the rebrand.
The rebrand boiled down to two main goals:
The crew brainstormed and analyzed a thousand different names, researched terms and different combinations, and even used an online randomizer. It was a long process, but the winning name VSSL (pronounced “vessel”), immediately resonated with everyone.
“We have great respect and admiration for seafarers of the past. It requires a tremendous amount of knowledge, teamwork and grit to sail a ship around the world. We take that same characteristic – teamwork, expertise, and authenticity – and bring that to our clients, ” said David Tillson, VSSL Principal.
The new logo depicts a boat going through the water. The name looks hand-painted to show the craft, artistry, skill and dedication to a discipline. The wake reveals time and movement. It illustrates not only where the organization has been, but also that it’s moving forward, that it has a purpose and a path.
A rebrand is never just about a new logo, however. The agency created a crewmember’s manifesto to define their approach to work. The team also launched a new website to showcase their capabilities and feisty attitude. The rebrand has permeated elsewhere, too.: You can see it in the office’s interior design and murals, the agency’s conference room names, even their new hire documentation.
“Our rebrand has reinvigorated the culture here. It has been a catalyst to change how we think,” Tillson said. “We offer strategic solutions for our clients, and we’re actively growing that aspect of the business.”
“We wanted to show some authenticity and say, ‘This is who we are.’ We’re gritty, we’re feisty, we’re smart. We wanted our brand to attract the types of clients and team members who can appreciate that.”
“Digital Style was a great brand for many years,” Tillson said. “But now, with VSSL, I think the brand truly embodies who we have become and what we want to accomplish as an agency. As we say around the office, ‘Up, Spirits!'”
Before VSSL launched its new website, the agency socialized it with a handful of existing clients and received good positive feedback.
“We wanted to be different, but we didn’t want to alienate our clients,” Peacock said. “We wanted to make sure we hadn’t gone overboard. We definitely like to be a partner with our clients.”
Since the launch, VSSL has already seen a return on investment. More potential clients are contacting the agency and for the right reasons: they’re interested in help with strategic branding. When VSSL bids on these projects, they’re doing so right alongside some of the bigger agencies in San Diego.
On the recruitment site, the quality of portfolios has gone way up. Before the rebrand, the agency went to great lengths to find the right talent. Now they have their pick of candidates
And the crew is beaming and wearing their new VSSL t-shirts with pride, because the brand finally reflects who they are.