Welcome to the first of many EOS “Behind the Scenes” blog posts. We’re launching this series because it’s easy to forget that the best place to see EOS in action is in our own organization. We hit the same ceilings as our clients and we “walk the walk” in using EOS tools to break through them. We also value transparency, so it’s only fitting that we would pull back the curtain and reveal the inside story on how we approach challenges and make decisions.
For the first in our series, we’re sharing a recent conversation between EOS Visionary Mark O’Donnell, EOS Integrator Kelly Knight, and EOS Marketing Leader Pam Kosanke on the thinking and strategy behind the recent EOS rebrand.
Have you all been through other rebrandings in your previous businesses?
Mark: I did multiple rebrands with the businesses I owned with my brother. We did one when we bought another company and it created a tremendous amount of momentum in the marketplace. People loved the newness and novelty, and it really propelled the business forward.
Pam: I’ve helped several companies through rebrands. One of the important things to remember is that it’s not just an aesthetic thing. The real reason you go through any rebrand is to create exponential value.
Kelly: I’ve seen two companies rebrand and they’ve both sold. One of them is now part of Goldman Sachs, so I guess it worked. : )
How did you recognize that EOS needed to rebrand?
Kelly: It really started when Pam came on board as Marketing Leader. When we interviewed her in November of 2019, she said we didn’t have an international brand and that developing one would add more weight to our IP (intellectual property). She charted out how it would happen and that it would be a steep climb. Hundreds of things would have to change. But my instinct told me she was right.
Pam: No one ever wants to do a rebrand. It’s a lot of work. But we had too much confusion in the marketplace, with different people doing different things and the international EOS community seeing the old logo as very “American.” We talk about clarity and control with entrepreneurs. We needed more clarity around our brand because it started to feel out of control. The rebrand was our way of saying, “Let’s take control of our destiny, get rid of the noise, and make sure our IP is as strong as possible.”
Mark: We also describe EOS as a system for managing human energy. So for me, the rebrand decision was at the core of getting all that energy pointed in the same direction. On a practical level, it’s about getting the most value out of the marketing spend we have. But it’s also about creating a sense of belonging for Implementers who bleed orange.
The rebrand happened roughly at the same time as the move to franchise. Was that planned?
Mark: Yes and no. We’ll go behind the scenes on the franchise decision in our next post, but basically, we realized that we couldn’t stay a membership model without massively diluting our brand. We had over 750 different Implementer brands with all that marketing energy going wasted. It was clear that we had to create one brand for every Implementer.
Pam: Any good franchise system requires a whole new level of brand power like this new idea of “One EOS.” So in that way, the rebranding was linked to franchising, but it wasn’t like we said, “We’re going to move to a franchise model, therefore, we need a rebrand.”
Kelly: When you think about it, we had a perfect storm of disruption. We knew we needed a rebrand. Then Covid happened. We lost our Visionary. We were working through the franchise issue. Pam was getting ready to launch the new brand in February of this year, but we said, “Let’s take our time.” We felt a little like two different camps: EOS Implementers® and EOS Worldwide. The rebrand brings us together as one community.
What specifically were you looking for in the design of a new EOS logo?
Pam: The first decision was keeping the EOS name. Some people think they’re running on Traction, not EOS, so we needed to put “EOS” front and center to clear that up.
Mark: Based on feedback from Implementers, we also knew that we needed to stay simple while creating a more updated and sophisticated visual experience.
Kelly: And we wanted our international community to feel more a part of what we’re building. When Pam came on board, there was a conversation about that. To some international audiences, the old lightbulb looked like clip art. We knew we wanted to keep that symbol, but with a more sophisticated treatment.
Pam: The lightbulb was actually a huge part of the rebrand story. A lot of Implementers assumed they knew what it meant, but there wasn’t a universal story around it. So I connected with Gino Wickman to get the background. That helped crystalize the role it was going to play: shining the light on root causes. Illuminating from within. The aha moments. Being open, honest, and transparent. Showing entrepreneurs “the light.” Keeping the orange was also critical because it’s iconic. We freshened it up and gave it some gradients and we replaced the previous Halloween black with a dark blue that feels more approachable.
Kelly: And then there’s the Six Key Components™.
Pam: Yes, representing that was critical. Once we integrated that element with the lightbulb, things kind of locked in. In our logo animation, you can see how it all comes together to tell a story. I can’t think of many other brands that can do that.
Which EOS Tools did you use in the process of developing the new brand?
Kelly: I’d say it started with “right people, right seats,” because hiring Pam was a huge part of the story. Initially, we made a mistake by hiring a marketing leader who was classically trained but couldn’t shed her skin to do things the EOS way.
Pam: Are you saying I’m a misfit toy? : )
Kelly: I’m saying you’re one of us! The hardest thing about getting the right person in the right seat is finding someone who wants to understand EOS on a deep level. Pam doesn’t care about ego. She’s curious, she takes feedback, and she’s willing to shed her skin for the greater good of what the organization needs. It’s similar to elevating Mark to the Visionary seat. EOS doesn’t work when people from the outside come in and say they know better, no matter how brilliant they are. It works best when people are experts, but they’re also either members of our community who already live and breathe EOS or they’re from outside but have the curiosity to understand our culture and brand.
Mark: I would echo that. We definitely needed someone who intimately understood what the EOS brand represents. I can’t imagine going through the process we’ve just finished with someone who wasn’t already an Implementer. The 1-Year Plan played a big role, too, as did GWC™ and core values alignment.
Pam: And IDS™ sessions.
Mark: Yes, a LOT of IDS sessions!
What has the reaction been to the new brand?
Mark: Overwhelmingly positive. We’re a big community, so you always have dissent. But it’s a big step forward.
Pam: I’ll never forget when I first unveiled the logo on Zoom. I was standing in a rented condo basement with my computer sitting on a cardboard box. I couldn’t see or hear anyone’s reaction, so I had no idea how it was going over. Then Gino texted me that he hoped I was seeing the chat because it was blowing up! People loved it. Everyone realized that this amazing thing they had built had now gone to another level.
Kelly: There’s a good lesson here for entrepreneurs and founders about empowering another group of humans who GWC their seat and love their company, and then take it to the next level. To Gino’s credit, when he sold the company, he really did let go of the vine. He celebrates the fact that the right leaders are in place. He probably wouldn’t have done this rebranding, but that doesn’t make it wrong. It’s actually a great lesson in good succession planning.
Pam: I can’t imagine what it’s like to start a company, sell it, and then see others change what you’ve built. For me, it’s a lesson that sometimes how you do something is more important than what you do. You need to share the vision and take people along the journey which we definitely did.
Mark: The bottom line is that if we’re going to grow, we have to change and evolve. Pam helped us see a weakness and move forward. The new brand balances who we are with a fresh new look and approach which is a hard thing to pull off. Personally, I feel like our brand just grew up and went to college!