You have worked long and hard to build a solid reputation. You are not worried about what people say when you leave the room. What bothers you is that they judge you by what you have already done, whereas you know what you are still capable of doing. You feel that your brand may no longer reflect your potential.

A company’s brand is everything that constitutes their reputation and visibility. A brand is the sum of all the points of contact with clients, partners and stakeholders, both current and potential. Yes, these touch points include the visible brand identity, such as the logo and marketing material, but also the business premises, communication style, company culture and community engagement. Our website is a selfie of a modern professional services company; it is a snapshot of our story, of who we are and what we stand for. STP’s brand identity did not require a major overhaul, but a subtle change was needed to the elements communicating our story, vision and values. That is why we decided to redesign our website.

A brand out of step with the story

STP’s brand has always stood for Nordic translation services. This concept has been so strong that it has overshadowed the fact that we also have a large team providing excellent translation services into English. We wanted to address this imbalance on our new website. Not to discard anything, but to emphasise that we translate into English as well as into Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish.

A brand associated with the wrong images

It was also time to move away from the Nordic landscape imagery of forests, fjords and pretty log cabins. As serene as they are, they are not a true reflection of contemporary Scandinavian society, let alone the region’s sophisticated business and versatile foreign trade. Nor do they reflect STP as a business. On our new website, I want to talk less about the capabilities of STP and more about how they benefit our current and potential clients. And I want to showcase the industry we are part of and the community engagement that fuels our passion.

A brand not trained to listen

In fact, a well-designed website can and must be more than a selfie. It must be an engine that drives two-way communication. Our new website helps us to understand how our audience engages with us and to gauge whether our message gets across. It is a platform through which we not only speak and share, but also listen and learn.

A brand-new brand identity

The branding of many language service companies is too similar to that of their competitors. I wanted STP’s rebranding to reinforce our individuality. I didn’t need to reinvent who we are, just find a visual language for expressing it. I chose all the images on the website with this criteria in mind. I want them to be textured, exciting and vibrant, creative rather than polemic, cool and streetwise rather than corporate and polished. That is how I see our people, our service and our space in our industry.

We tried to assign a committee to manage the rebranding effort, but it didn’t work. The project required one leader – focused, inspired and able to lead. I took on the role, and it occupied my days and occasionally my nights during this sunny, scorching summer of 2018. Some companies outsource branding activities to creative agencies, but we didn’t. Of course, we had a partner for the basic template design, development and hosting, but every image in our new brand identity has been hand-picked by us and every word on our website written by us. I am pleased that the website showcases the transcreation and copywriting skills of STP’s in-house staff. They demonstrated great teamwork while contributing to the content creation, and while translating the website.

Right now, I am pacing the floor of my well-organised office, too restless to sit on my comfortable chair or to concentrate on what is on my desk. I am eagerly waiting to hear what people think of STP’s new brand identity. For better or for worse, mea culpa.

Director's Cut, Icebreaker, Icebreaker October 2018