After a decade plus some change with the company, Common Giant founder Phillip Oakley set out to become a marketing consultant and fractional CMO. This latest endeavor required deep personal branding work. In other words, Phillip was not only selling his knowledge and expertise, he also needed potential clients and partners to believe in him.
Phillip understood the kind of work he wanted to do and the kind of clients he wished to work with, however, he needed an organized and purposeful brand image to help sell his vision.
Common Giant has ample experience crafting memorable brands, but we’d yet to take on such a personal brand, both in literal and figurative terms. Phillip is one man selling his expertise, and he is our founder to boot.
Since Phillip was starting fresh with an entirely new brand, he opted for our Emerge Brand Plan. This meant defining which brand archetype(s) he expressed as well as developing a logo, color palette, font style, and voice for the brand. These foundational elements were essential for him to get his new business rolling.
Each of these elements proved challenging in their own right. Discovering which archetype Phillip’s new brand expressed meant finding the lines between his business persona and his everyday self to uncover the version of Phillip clients could expect to get day in and day out.
This proved difficult because of Phillip’s multifaceted approach and array of talents. Narrowing his brand to one or two archetypes was too limiting. So we asked ourselves, why does it have to be only one or two? If the brand is multidimensional, this should be represented in the selection of archetypes. People are complex and this was a personal brand.
We believe most archetypes comprise a dominant and a lesser, i.e., The Sage/Jester. We uncovered two sets of archetypes for Phillip’s Brand: The Jester/Creator to capture his zany, imaginative side; and the Hero/Innocent to capture his work ethic and optimism.
Perhaps most surprising was this solution arrived during our voice analysis exercise, highlighting the advantages of our Emerge Brand Plan, a purposeful yet flexible package.
Visual aesthetics presented a similar challenge: how do we express Phillip the person AND Phillip the brand expert and marketing strategist? This required lengthy discussions and interviews with Phillip as well as multiple internal revisions and workshops with the full team.
Even though the client team was small—one person—it was truly an all-hands-on-deck experience.
The process was unlike any we'd experienced before, but the result was an exciting and memorable brand that embodies Phillip Oakley, the brand expert.
The end result expresses not only what Phillip does but conveys his keen professional insight with the high-energy creativity he’s known for. The approachable yet evocative logo is easily recognizable and even speaks to one of Phillip’s preferred work methods—the abundant use of sticky notes.
In addition to an exuberant and memorable mark, we created a style and voice guide for the brand. A voice guide was imperative since one of Phillip’s primary platforms is LinkedIn.
Lastly, the end product proved that our lean and nimble Emerge Brand Plan could be executed to great effect in a relatively short time.