Big Haystack recruits executive level talent for big-data strategic and analytic positions. Mary Morris, the owner and operator of Big Haystack, contacted me with a huge problem. Her biggest, and only, client was downsizing and no longer in need of her services.
When I met with Mary she knew that she needed to start marketing to bring in new business, but wasn’t sure of where to start. For the last 10+ years Mary’s business was called SelectQuest. Because she worked almost exclusively with one client, she didn’t need branding, marketing, a website, or hardly even business cards. Her client hired her because they knew her and how good she was at finding the right candidate for their job openings.
The old business name, SelectQuest, felt tired and didn’t describe the business well. The biggest problem though, was that Mary couldn’t get excited about marketing because she didn’t like the visuals of what she had to present.
Like many business owners, Mary knew it was important to have a brand and logo that she was excited about.
During our early meetings we talked a lot about competitors in the recruiting space. It was pretty clear that her direct competition was very slim, but it was important to establish a clean and professional looking brand to differentiate her from independent recruiters.
[image from worksheet]
I wanted to avoid using data motifs, such as: ones and zeros, networks, graphics, etc; which were really common in her space and often looked like generic logos. In order to standout from her direct competitors we would need to approach the brand a different way.
The first round of concepts focused on form only. There were a lot of restrictions on color for the Big Haystack brand. We wanted to avoid colors used by her previous client in order to make it clear there was no relationship. We also wanted to avoid colors that were overused in the industry. Because color was a complicated issue we decided to focus more on shape in the initial rounds.
[image of concepts]
The top two logos were quickly crossed off the list. They were fun and cute, but not the right fit for the Big Haystack brand. They didn’t fit the executive feel that was needed to appeal to hiring managers. After revisiting the concepts it was also clear that they were too literal. It wasn’t necessary for people to get the word play and overall they didn’t hit home with the client. Moving forward we wanted to pursue the idea of a needle for the icon portion of the logo.
In the second round the client liked the concept of the “shadowed” needle and requested that we add an eye to the needle. Ultimately we decided it just wasn’t necessary, you don’t need the eye to know that it is a needle. It makes the logo more difficult to print at a small scale because the eye was so small. In addition to that you also lose the elegance of the shape. For our target market it wasn’t necessary to hit them over the head with the icon, subtlety was better.
[eye of needle next to no eye]