A Re-Branding Story
When we were approached by the Oakville Children’s Choir with an RFP for a re-branding project, we saw it as an opportunity to take an established organization and develop a new look that reflects their positive impact and strong presence in their community. After 24 years, Now Creative Group and the choir worked collaboratively to rename the organization and give them a refreshed visual identity that truly represents the organization that it is today. This was a big undertaking, consisting of a complete re-brand that would involve a new name, a new visual identity and a new website.
After receiving a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Oakville Children’s Choir put out an RFP for a branding and marketing agency. As an award-winning musical institution in the greater Toronto area active for nearly 25 years, it was time to invest in a strong identity and online presence. The misconceptions that came with being called a “children’s” choir, combined with an outdated website were becoming barriers. The new brand that Now was to conceptualize would have to represent the organization’s prestigious approach to musical education and international recognition, all while still being accessible and welcoming.
Creating a new website on a modern platform is straightforward, but we had to develop the brand that would dictate the structure and look of this website. How could we trump the stereotype that a children’s choir could be amateur? The term “children” wasn’t exactly accurate for Oakville Children’s Choir; although many of the choristers began their musical career at a very young age, they would often continue their musical education into their early teens, some even until post-secondary school age. The new name had to encompass and represent both the young children and the older choristers.
By bringing together choristers, conductors, board members and parents to our brand strategy sessions, we were able to gain a robust, well-rounded understanding of the key brand drivers and values. This allowed us to conceptualize new names reflective of those findings. Each key stakeholder brought a different point of view that allowed us to create a new name that displayed the choir’s true brand identity.
Although we initially planned to be renaming the choir as a whole, we identified a new need. While the overarching name was a key aspect to this project, it became clear that we should also address the names of the individual choir groups. With the boys stream having been named a few years earlier, and with the new organization name on the way, it only made sense to create a name for the girls stream. For this rebranding project to have full impact, it had to be reflected in all aspects.
With a summary of their brand foundation and the core essence of their organization, we could provide them with directional tools for their marketing activities and ways to communicate their focus to stakeholders within the organization. The project would go beyond the re-branding, but would also provide the choir with all the necessary means to grow and apply this new brand.
The Oakville Choir for Children and Youth was a name that said it all. It addressed the two main concerns: the misconceptions that came with youth choirs and accurately represented the choristers age range. Based on our research and the insight collected in our sessions, we decided that the best approach for naming is to keep the word ‘Oakville’ in the main brand name. The reason for this is that we felt it has a lot of brand value both as a key component of their old name, and due to the perceived value associated with this geographic region. The name is also still clear when compared to other choirs, especially when competing on a national and international level.
It also helped the choir easily position themselves geographically and offers the ability to leverage your reputation without the risk of moving too far away from the essence of who the choir is and the community they served for nearly 25 years.
The boy’s choir, A Few Good Men, gave the students an identity and voice. We wanted to create a brand identity for the girls choir that would also do this, all while supporting the parent brand. Raise Her Voice was the result!
The Oakville Choir for Children & Youth is an inclusive and welcoming organization that offers music education and leadership training to young people from 4-24. We provide a fun, safe and educational space for children and youth to receive exceptional music education and develop outstanding leadership skills that foster community, connection, and confidence – both in and outside of the classroom.
Visual Identity Design
There was a lot of discussion about being an Oakville institution, the choir’s accolades and achievements, and the importance of the mentorship program.
From this, we wanted to highlight the fact that the choir has been around for over two decades, and that it is an academy where children and youth learn music but also leadership skills. That being said, we wanted to find visuals that would made it look prestigious, but approachable, like an educational institution, all while including a musical aspect.
Typeface: Caslon Black because it has a very prominent, bold, and official feel to it. We balanced it with Proxima Nova as a way to connect it to a modern look.
Colour: Running with the City of Oakville’s colours, we added a bit of warmth. With the blue and gold, we “muted” them a bit and chose pastel alternatives and introduced a warm red, with the same pastel-quality. This provided a good variety to apply colour in interesting ways for the variety of sub brands they have for the boys and girls stream.
Symbols: Finally, the brand needed a musical icon to tie it all together. Although we played with different concepts, the one that stuck out was the idea of repetition. Because the aspect of leadership was very important – we chose repetition as way to symbolize the choristers journey from younger students, towards the transition to older choristers and mentors to the younger choristers. It represented the idea of “going back to the beginning”.
Now Creative Group also created a visual identity system to include the sub-brands, giving a consistent identity to various choirs within the organization.
Updated Online Presence
To accompany their updated social media presence, Now launched a newly designed website, consolidating and updating the user experience.
Social media usernames were selected, and profiles were updated to reflect the new branding. An Instagram account for each of the 3 brands we created was launched, sharing posts with their new logos and colours regularly.
Now Creative Group was thrilled to attend the first official concert since the new branding took effect, only a few short months after the branding process. The first fully designed event programmes were printed in time. We couldn’t be more proud to see how they’ve embraced and applied the branding so well in-person!
It was an immense pleasure and honour to have worked with the choristers, board members and stakeholders involved with the choir — both as an organization and a community. We couldn’t be more proud of the outcome, and are excited to continue see this new brand grow in the future.
Creative Director: Daniel Francavilla | Lead Designer: Andrew Ly
Brand Strategist: Heather Briggs | Account Manager: April Hossain
Copywriter: Mikhaila Leech