The Story Behind Cherrylake’s Rebrand

The Story Behind Cherrylake’s Rebrand

Undertaking a rebrand is a major challenge that gets to the heart and soul of a business and its people.  For Cherrylake, what started as a marketing initiative turned into an immersive journey of discovery into our company’s strategic vision, cultural identity and purpose.

We knew it was time for a rebrand. After 30 years of consistent branding, our name and logo had become well recognized and respected industry mainstays; but over these three decades, we had also evolved, and our business had changed such that the original brand no longer fairly reflected all that we had become.

Change and growth is the nature of a thriving business.  We adapt, we innovate, we grow.  We overcome adversity and we seek new opportunities.  Each critical strategic step moves us along our unique path and changes our complexion and yet there is an essence at the core of the business that stays true and constant.  Though we did not know it at the time, the decision to rebrand was to set out on a quest to unearth this essence.

Exploration and Discovery

Our first step was to form a cross functional team of employees representing the different divisions of the company, including our construction and maintenance divisions that had been operating under the brand LegacyScapes.  The team’s first task was to explore the potential of merging both LegacyScapes and Cherry Lake Tree Farm into a new integrated brand.

Next, we set about conducting over a hundred interviews with customers, vendors, employees and industry veterans to gather perspectives and impressions.  We wanted to understand how our existing brands were perceived.

The feedback from the interviews got us moving in the right direction.  We gained insight not only into our brand but also into how our products and services were meeting (or not meeting) customer needs, how our strategy was playing out in the marketplace and which aspects of our culture were most compelling to the outside world.  Much of this feedback came into focus when we created word clouds out of the collective responses.  This is what we saw:

As we listened to our customers and gazed at these word clouds we gradually began to sense that a brand is much more than a message and a logo.  We needed to go deeper, to clarify our strategy and our vision for the company’s future.  Branding was becoming strategy; and strategy, we were soon to discover, is about Purpose.

Our customers and partners were telling us over and over again that our people make Cherry Lake Tree Farm and LegacyScapes special. They are what differentiates us and drive the process of strategic value creation.

So we had to ask:  If our people drive our strategy, what drives our people?

Passion and Purpose

This is where things really started to get interesting.  Seeking to better understand our brand we started asking existential questions: What are we passionate about?  Why do we do what we do?  Why do we get up in the morning and come to work?

We immediately sensed that these questions held the key to unlocking the essence of our brand.  We also knew that they could not be answered by the leadership team or cross functional team alone.  We had to ask each employee about their personal mission and purpose.  We invited them to share their WHY.

We organized two separate workshops for our employees to come together and share their stories with each other.  We played a word game that started with 200 unique words submitted by employees early in the week.  Through a series of rounds, these words were narrowed down to just 5 words that best represent our shared beliefs and purpose.  Some words were ruled out quickly, many were the subject of lengthy consideration, heated discussion and fiery debate.  You could feel the passion in the room – why we should keep this word, why we should get rid of it. By the end of the day, both groups of employees had unknowingly and independently winnowed over 200 words down to the same 5 words.

We had found the heart of our company:  Sustainable. Beauty. Vision. Life. Community.

From that point forward, the name, the logo, the colors, the fonts and all the things we initially thought we were after came together seamlessly – almost effortlessly.  We had given a voice to our purpose and it has given us our new brand.