Acronym firm names are getting ditched as some established consultants are now looking at branding their firms for a future without the original partners.
Consider the West Coast shop formerly known as SCRB, which recently rebranded as Bearstar Strategies. The move coincided with the elevation of George Ross, the firm’s long-time creative director, to partner along with Erica Kwiatkowski Nielsen.
“We’re so much in this alphabet soup of acronym names,” said Sean Clegg, a partner at the firm. “Rather than rearranging the letters, we wanted to go with something that was durable and not another variation on the acronym. Those brand identities are a dime a dozen in our line of work and not differentiating. If you create a strong firm brand, you’re potentially creating something that could outlive any of the original partners.”
Clegg, who is now helping lead California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall fight, said the rebranding process started remotely last year with himself, partners Juan Rodriguez and Averell “Ace” Smith brainstorming inside Google docs and on Zoom calls.
“We sort of agreed on the concept of something that was an allusion to, but not limited to, the California thing — a sense of where we come from that differentiates outside,” Clegg recalled.
To help with the process, the shop turned to an outside designer it had long worked with: Robert Arnow, the creative director of Brooklyn-based Incitement Design. Arnow said the assignment for a new logo for the firm was one of his easier ones.
“They already were, out of the box, ‘We’re doing Bearstar, we want it to include a bear, we want it to include a star.’” But they also wanted something that’s not common in political branding: an actual photograph incorporated into the logo. Finding the right photograph of a bear “was fortunately fairly easy,” said Arnow. “They liked one of the drafts, and we just had to refine.”
The rollout of the new brand was also made easier by the nature of the consulting industry.
“As a business, we live in a very small world of potential clients, so we have two audiences who are important to us in the roll out — all your existing clients and relationships, and all the potential [clients],” said Clegg.
He added: “In our line of work, it’s not that heavy a lift to communicate the change. I would strongly encourage anyone who feels imprisoned in the humdrum world of acronyms to bust out and have fun with it.”