Online Optimism was incredible to work with throughout the process to rebrand and refresh our firm. We wanted to elevate our brand, our messaging, and our website and OO did just that with Stratus. They were incredibly responsive, using Slack for quick and easy updates, and were there to jump in on changes and updates. I have already recommended them to others and look forward to recommending them in the future.
Stratus Firm is a premier events production company in Washington, D.C. Formerly known as RJ Whyte Event Production, Stratus Firm is well-regarded for producing everything from social events to large-scale experiences featuring top CEOs and the President of the United States.
When their Principal, Roger Whyte, approached us, he was ready to extend the vision of his company and create a new brand that reflected the leaps they had made during the past couple of years.
Stratus Firm’s (formerly RJ Whyte Event Production) previous logo and website
Online Optimism invited the RJ Whyte team to a workshop where we led them through discussions and exercises rooted in design-thinking to understand what sets them apart from others in the events production industry.
Understanding Their Customers
We facilitated candid conversations among their team members to get a sense of how each of them perceives the company and their work. By cross-referencing their perceptions to available customer data, we found common themes to base the updated brand on.
Opening the Design Process
Additional exercises brought the team into the design process and considered individual aesthetic preferences paired with our expertise in best practices for brand identity design.
Drafting a Roadmap
Our workshop produced a comprehensive roadmap to their new name and brand identity and goals for the finished product.
A Name that Rises Above
Online Optimism presented the RJ Whyte team with a spectrum of options that reflected key insights from our workshop. Additionally each option considered competitors and a digital footprint so their team could make a comprehensive decision. Additional iterations included mood boards and digital insights.
This resulted in Stratus Firm. From the Proto-Indo-European root, stere- and the Latin stratus, which mean “to spread”, we highlight the company’s expansion to new services, new audiences, and new geographies. The name also alludes to stratosphere and the stratified layers that compose it, just as Stratus Firm has carefully crafted a seamless process that has brought them to new heights.
A New Voice, A New Horizon
Based on our original workshop as well as additional interviews with staff members, partners, and clients, Online Optimism produced comprehensive voice and messaging guidelines for both internal and external communications. We presented a new tagline, mission, vision, values, and website copy to reflect Stratus Firm’s new branding, capabilities, and goals. In addition, we created tone and style guidelines, brand vocabulary, brand positioning, and a communication strategy to capture what makes them who they are and align it with their new branding to maintain consistency among the current team and assist in onboarding new staff in the future.
Crafting a Symbol
We knew that RJ Whyte wanted an icon to identify them. Our team considered different expressions for Stratus and the different meanings we could convey through it. Initial symbols included cloud-like swirls, an abstract bird composed of the company’s initials, and wordmarks with flexible configurations.
After several iterations, we constructed a symbol that captured the initials of Stratus Firm, symbolized the care and organization into every production, and represented the interlocked relationship between their team and the client.
The full logo emphasizes the word “Stratus” in a sleek typeface and allows for the brand to be referred to as both Stratus Firm and Stratus.
From the icon, we created a pattern that can be used flexibly across materials
Create, Experience, Elevate
Our team presented a variety of options for taglines, each highlighting a particular capability or differentiator that is key to Stratus Firm. We also mocked up designs for each tagline with the new logo to help the client visualize them. The final result was Create, Experience, Elevate, three key words for their company that could be mixed and matched for further adaptability.
Bringing it All Together
From coordinating social media account transitions to advising on IT changes, we ensured that the Stratus Firm team could retain the years of knowledge they’ve compiled across their digital properties. We also brought the new brand to life on an updated website.
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