Empowering a new Resonance | Resonance

Empowering a new Resonance

Insights — 06 December 2023
by Tom Gierasimczuk, VP, Communications

A Resonance designer reviews rebrand materials.

An interview with Resonance Group Creative Director Dominic Prevost

Recently, you may have noticed that your favorite placemaking and branding experts look a little different. A little cleaner. A little more vibrant. A little, dare we say it, more resonant.

Good eye! Because, led by our new Group Creative Director Dominic Prevost, we spent the summer crafting a new identity for Resonance. Sure, we refreshed the logo and streamlined the website, but at its core, this reinvention went much deeper than a redesign: it was an exercise to reflect Resonance’s unique positioning at the nexus of lovable, livable and prosperous places after a decade and a half of growth and evolution.

“The thing that drew me to Resonance was the incredible potential of the positive impact we can make on places around the world,” says Prevost. “However I saw an opportunity to sharpen our messaging and our brand,” he says. “So in my first week, I began interviewing people, gathering insights and defining how we can be more direct in how we empower our clients. After three company-wide workshops with everyone contributing, we had a pretty good idea.”

With the rebrand out in the wild, we sat down with Prevost to get deeper into his process, inspiration and the meta challenges of rebranding an organization like Resonance.

Why did Resonance undergo a redesign? Why now?

Over the course of the pandemic, Resonance has transformed and evolved faster than at any other time in its history. We’ve evolved our work, our client list, our value proposition, our solutions. But our brand remained unchanged. So we asked ourselves, is our brand working hard enough for us?

Does it communicate our world-class design, marketing, research and strategic planning capabilities— the fact that we have urban planners and futurists and journalists on staff? Does it tell the story that there’s nobody like us in the market? We quickly realized we needed to create a new brand that could propel Resonance into the future.

Did the impulse for a redesign come externally, due to the competitive landscape, or internally, more organically?

Internally, our team reflected the concerns we had about external perception. So we were able to use their feedback and concerns to build a foundation. They noted a lack of clarity on our offering, a disconnect between our brand and the proprietary data we provide our clients and use in our World’s Best Cities rankings. And they pointed out that, given the fact that Resonance works with everyone from neighborhood advocacy groups to entire countries, we lacked a holistic elevator pitch. How do we get our arms around such a scope of work and the in-house expertise necessary to communicate it to everyone from local place-makers to national governments?

That’s a lot of different takes on the purpose and mission of the company! What happened next?

We distilled why our clients have trusted us for the past decade and a half. We are sought out because Resonance creates transformative strategies, brands and campaigns that empower destinations, cities and communities to realize their full potential.

There was some magic in the concept of not just improving, or educating, or helping places. It was more than that. We heard it from our 100+ clients over the years: they felt empowered with our strategies and our place brands: empowered to instill pride and confidence in their citizens and champion the unique competitive advantages that we surfaced together. 

Our offer, in its simplest terms, was that Resonance helps—empowers!—places to realize their full potential. Everywhere we work, we strive to foster community, preserve cultural heritage, create vibrancy and generate economic benefits by making places more livable, loveable and prosperous for all.

That’s… a mouthful. How did you summarize this? 

Empowering Places. The recovering journalists and award-winning copy writers on our team liked the double meaning of “empowering”: where the focus is both on our work, as well as the places after our collaboration. It’s a noun as places engage with us on their journey, that evolves into an adjective to describe a changed, more confident and resilient place and community. Given the complexity and diversity of our clients—destinations seeking help with their visitor economy, cities seeking clear economic development roadmaps, and developers trying to do right by their communities—we needed one overarching promise.

This statement also managed to suit the needs and represent the skills of each member of our team. Everyone rallied behind it and could see themselves and their work being represented by it.

We also named our redesigned monthly email newsletter the same thing to reflect the inspiration and insights we hope our 15,000+ subscribers around the world get from it.

The design language of our brand and website reflected this devotion to data-based place performance. A slick, understated and friendly font and a logo that is equally at ease in an economic development report or a design deck for a daring urban hotel.

We still hold onto our editorial roots, with big photos, bold headlines and a black and white color palette. Yes, the stereotype about all designers dressing in all black is very true here at Resonance.

The one thing I really wanted to emphasize throughout is how our brand comes to life with a sense of purpose. Everything is there for a reason. It’s smart, confident, and design-forward. Now even our nerdiest economic development reports feel elevated.

Given that the new positioning and brand have been out there for a couple of months now, how does it complement what Resonance has planned in 2024 and beyond?

It’s exciting to see Resonance’s  brand coming to life in our work now with clients around the world. Whether it’s working with communities in Maui after the fires, envisioning new communities in India, revitalizing Downtown Calgary or putting together a campaign for the European Union, our clients have been very receptive to the contemporary, cosmopolitan way we are presenting ourselves and our work. In many ways, the brand has now caught up to the company we’ve become – a transformative change agent for destinations, cities and communities around the world. 

LET’S TALK! Resonance creates transformative strategies, plans, brands and campaigns that empower destinations, cities and communities to realize their full potential. Please connect with us and let’s empower your place together.

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