When the C-Suite of Tennessee-based supplier Gold Bond periodically held meetings during some of the tougher stretches of 2020, they kept asking themselves the same question.
“We started hunkering down and going, ‘What do we want to be when we grow up?’” says Gold Bond’s Chief Revenue Officer, Britney Godsey.
It might seem a strange question for a company that’s been around for over 75 years. But the pandemic forced a reexamination for just about every company in the promotional products industry, and Gold Bond remained positive.
It came down to a simple question: Gold Bond knew what it was, but did the rest of the world?
It was time for, perhaps not quite a rebrand, but a refresh. Godsey got with the marketing team, and the result is Monday’s official launch of Gold Bond’s new look and feel.
“It was very much a metamorphosis,” Godsey says. “We’ve always had this sort of heartbeat and pulse that we lived and died by internally, but externally, you couldn’t see that.”
Features like logos and mission statements tell stories, no matter whether it’s intentional. It was time for those things to combine and tell the story Gold Bond wanted them to.
“If I had to put it in one sentence, this refresh is going to show Gold Bond experienced through the lens of our own narrative,” Godsey says.
A “Painful At Times” Process
Inna Nasledova, Gold Bond’s director of marketing, was tasked with leading the transformation from an idea to something tangible, but Godsey was there with her every step of the way.
“I feel like we were Bonnie and Clyde for the last several months,” Godsey says of her working relationship with Nasledova through the refresh.
Nasledova was adamant that her whole marketing team be involved in the process, lending ideas from each person’s perspective. It all came out of a long series of brainstorming sessions projected onto a digital board. Everyone had to come to these sessions with three ideas or visuals that inspired them or that they associated with what they believed Gold Bond was through their eyes. They would all talk through these visuals; what they liked, what they didn’t like. This included Godsey, who committed herself to the project, despite it being outside of what many CROs would consider their responsibilities.
“She has a lot of meetings,” Nasledova says of Godsey. “She’s pretty busy. The fact that she was able to join every single brainstorm and come up with ideas with all of us, it was just fun. Overwhelming at times, but it was absolutely fun.”
The team began to almost speak their own language, chipping away at what to do with the logo that had served them so well for years. They became better at knowing what they didn’t want than articulating what they did, somehow never wearing down the patience of graphic designer Justin Wright, who sometimes had to remind them they need to actually tell him what they wanted as opposed to speaking in abstractions that only they understood.
Gold Bond president Mark Godsey managed to avoid the chaos of those brainstorming sessions, but any images or ideas with potential would always reach him before any final stages.
“I would describe it as painful at times,” Nasledova jokes about the trial and error of bringing ideas to the leader of Gold Bond.
“Mark, our president, is very protective of the brand in general,” Britney Godsey says. “It's funny because it’s like nothing tests your relationships with your colleagues like creative brainstorming. Everybody’s got an opinion, right?”
Both women had their president’s full support, however, and they trusted each other to keep being wrong until they were right.
“It was so easy to collaborate with her because no idea was off the table,” Britney Godsey says.
“Same Vibe, Different Feel”
The challenge facing the rebrand was balancing the past against the future. Gold Bond was founded in 1947, and experience means trust, so how do you tap into that trust without seeming antiquated?
“How do we maintain and pay respect to what we’ve had in the past and twist it in a way where it’s still the same vibe, but it’s a different feel?” Nasledova says.
Gold Bond’s offerings have adapted with the times, including influencer kits and pop-up shops, but Britney Godsey felt the logo and mission statement said too much without really saying what they wanted. The old logo, a globe that Gold Bond had become known for, showed off a lot of colors, something Godsey referred to as a “buffet” that “almost watered down the brand unintentionally.”
Revealed Monday was the new logo, stripping down some of those colors and focusing on a charcoal, orange and cyan.
The globe is 3D, intended to suggest depth that represents the new products Gold Bond has developed over the years.
“It’s breathing,” Britney Godsey says. “It’s almost like it’s pulsating, right? We wanted somebody to experience the brand, not just notice the brand.”
And of course, there is the new mission statement: “We strive to spark brand connection at the intersection of people, passion, and branded merchandise.”
The final product passed the Gold Bond president’s test. “While our globe represents our worldwide commitment to service across the world, we decided a new brand was due,” says Mark Godsey. “With that said, you will see a new logo, new commitment to service and, as always, a firm dedication to delivering more than you expect.”
It took a lot of planning to get the message perfect.
“We’ve been slowly building up to, ‘I know what I want to be when I grow up,’ Britney Godsey says. “So now we’re like, ‘Hey, this is the coming out ceremony.’”