Your identity is so much more than who you are. It is also about what it means to be you, and how this is linked to your values and beliefs. How do you view yourself and how are you viewed by the rest of the world? These were some of the questions we started with when we first began our journey to a new identity at OpenUp.
Last week, we launched our new website and while this is just the first phase of our rebranding journey, new and exciting features will continue to be rolled out over the next few months.
The process of rebranding has mostly been about understanding how we want to present ourselves within the various spaces that we inhabit. On one hand, we have been known for several years as an NGO, with pretty much the same identity for much of that time. On the other, we often find ourselves advising and working in an increasingly more glitzy tech field.
"You can’t change your outfit every day, so you need to fashion an outfit that works for all occasions." - Matthew Stark
At times over the years, we have outsourced certain tasks but when it came to reshaping our identity - the very look and feel of OpenUp - we decided to focus the entire process within the organisation. One of the key aspects of any good brand is the ability for it to be rolled out consistently and by having someone at OpenUp dedicated to making this happen. This also means that we always have someone (sometimes, multiple someones) overseeing and expanding the brand's applications and usage from start to finish, and beyond.
The upside to rebranding
One of the most useful exercises that rebranding forced us to do was a full audit of the organisation. This entailed every person at OpenUp sitting down and, together, re-examining all of our projects and why we choose to take on the work that we do. We asked ourselves questions like, what projects are most important to us? Where is our visibility lacking? And should our mission statement and organisational goals evolve?
Shedding old branding thrusts your organisation outside of its comfort zone and forces you to adapt.
Impacting the way people see us
There is still a lot more to come, in the form of marketing material (online and in person) and expanding the impact and usefulness of the website. The website is there to guide our other brand elements and to let people know that while we may look different, we are still the same OpenUp at heart. We will also blog a lot more, with a strong focus on articles that include useful and important lessons we've learned along the way (and are constantly learning), tools and resources we've used and encountered, and data that tells stories we believe citizens will value.
In the past, our brand assets have been severely lacking, which leaves team members feeling like they are constantly starting over from scratch. When you have a strong set of branded elements and items that you can rely on, it gives you a great sense of confidence when putting projects out into the world.
In many ways, our new brand represents a recommitment to our reputation as industry leaders in the civic tech and open data spaces, both locally and internationally.
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