Edge Summer 2020: Sherpa's Brand Evolution

On many occasions, I’ve commented that the value of introspection should never be lost on those who wish to improve personally and/or professionally.

Sherpa’s pursuit of change is driven through introspection. Always asking ourselves the question, “how could we be better?” or “what did we do to cause that success/failure?”

We used the tail-end of 2019 to look at Sherpa and how we’ve evolved as a marketing service provider and realized that we weren’t communicating the unique advantages that we relentlessly pursue to deliver for our clients.

Marketers suffer from (an often-deserved) disdain from other professionals. Too often, our industry has delivered expansive and expensive campaigns while failing to demonstrate the efficacy of the dollars put at risk.

The story of why we chose the Sherpa name is well-known and the name continues to serve us well. What we felt was, we, Sherpa, could do better – to create a diverse set of visuals and taglines that would more effectively indicate the expected outcome of choosing to work with Sherpa.

Our core belief is that brand is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room. And at its core, as a branded business, you must decide what it is that you wish people would say about you and then go about consistently delivering experiences that will illicit your ideal testimonial. As Franklin Covey says, “begin with the end in mind.”

We believe the only reasons to exist as a marketer are to help clients:

  1. Make money
  2. Save money 
  3. Communicate for “good”

With that in mind, rather than pulling up in my truck to visit a client and have her looking through her office window thinking, “Here comes Sherpa Marty, he costs me money.” Sherpa’s goal is to change her disdain to, “Here comes Sherpa Marty, he helps me make money... AND proves to me how he does it.”

Brands today are not sacrosanct: they can be fluid and “fun”. We can thank progressive companies like Adidas, Starbucks, and Salomon for knowing how to take the iconic elements of their branding and stretching them to their limits.

Edge summer 2020 - branding - Adidas mural

Using vanguard brands as inspiration (and aspiration), our update is a chance to tether on our core brand, and to explore Sherpa’s fun side.

After a few hundred PowerPoint presentations with only Pantone 294, Grey, Black, and Cyan as the colour palette, we welcome a more contemporary and versatile range of colours to break the monotony.

Edge summer 2020 - branding - colour palette

While the aesthetic side of branding is something that we easily gravitate toward, we broke our update into several major categories, including:

  • Documenting and describing our culture
  • Brand positioning – defining and outlining how we “Grow Good
  • Expressing our narrative and setting guidelines
  • How we communicate to different audiences
  • Photo styling rules

These major sections were carefully crafted after our deep dive into who we’ve become and, perhaps more importantly, who we want to be as Sherpas.

We’ve always been a fun group (or at least we think we are 😊). Sherpa is our serious side, but the Yeti has been our mascot and our team name for years. With that in mind, we used our illustration capabilities to make our low polygon count mascots. Each critter represents a group within the Sherpa team. You will start seeing them reinforcing our positioning and capabilities in our communications moving forward.

Here’s the squad

Edge summer 2020 - branding - critters without subhead 

Who belongs to which group at Sherpa? If we’ve done a good job, it should be easy to figure out!

Perhaps the most important – and certainly the thing we spent a significant amount of time on –  is our tagline or qualifying statement. In the past we didn’t have one at all. We wanted to succinctly communicate what it is we do, and what you can expect as our client. To that end, and circling back to the reason we exist, we will use one of the following, depending on the situation in which we are communicating:

  • Generating Results through Innovative Marketing
  • Experts in Business Scaling
  • Climb Higher with Sherpa
  • Climb the Growth Curve with Sherpa

Peter Drucker famously said (among other things), “Innovate or Die”. We live this mantra at Sherpa. It was one of the driving forces behind this change.

One thing you can be sure of, this update is only the trailhead for Sherpa.

To find out how Sherpa can help elevate your brand, reach out to Marty at 204-290-8234.

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