News and Updates
The Future in Focus
by Bill Kenney
It all starts with an idea.
Sometimes an idea can feel so simple. It sure felt that way when we founded Focus Lab in May of 2010, sitting at a dusty Applebee’s booth. But as we continue to learn, even simple ideas can unlock a journey impossible to imagine. Over the last decade, this journey has taken us from a two-person operation in the sleepy southern city of Savannah, GA to a team of 20 talented individuals working in harmony with organizations around the world. Bill Gates captured it perfectly: “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” He’s not wrong. We could have never imagined the impact our work would have and the amazing relationships we would forge both internally and externally over that time.
Evolution is inevitable
Growth is exciting, and never a straight line. Building a business is the most rewarding and horror-filled coaster you’ve ever been on (not to mention you’re building it while riding, weeeeeeee!). On that wild ride, you learn a lot. The learning is where the gold resides. One lesson businesses learn (or don’t) is how to avoid getting lured by shiny new ideas. It’s par for the course, exciting even until you realize it’s all a distraction from your greatest opportunity. Over the years, Focus Lab’s service offerings have fluctuated; we even launched a few side companies. While we still believe those ideas were valuable, what matters most is the realization that they were not our calling. Said plainly, the past 10 years allowed us to discover without question who we are and who we aren’t. How we tick, what we value, where we struggle, why we exist, and ultimately where we want to go. I can’t overstate how rewarding this clarity is. It’s rewarded us with a more precise purpose and a refined position in the market, among other things. In a refreshing way, it’s revealed who we were becoming all along — a leading B2B brand agency. With this clarity, we are taking the next step, rebranding ourselves for our future.
Expressing our deeper purpose
The multitude of decisions that go into how a brand looks, speaks, acts, etc. is vast. I won’t go into full detail here, we will save that for a follow-up post, but it is worth covering some of the foundational thinking behind the new Focus Lab brand expression.
Our visual identity — starting with a new mark — cements the idea of a never-ending growth cycle, signifying that everything and everyone has room to grow, and Focus Lab exists to unlock that potential. Each growing bar of the wheel depicts the stages of growth; potential is unlocked one step at a time. Our new custom type, “Focus Display,” brings a level of sophistication to an overwhelmingly sans serif world. It adds personality with a flavor of wisdom, a perfect symbol of our expertise. The larger visual language balances both clean aesthetics, occasional hand-drawn elements, and an intentionally imperfect collage style for blog/social images. All of this combined represents our comprehensive brand identity, which is passionate, imperfect, strategic, hands-on, seasoned, inventive, unpretentious, creative, empathetic. Need more?
As important is our new brand voice. A brand without a voice is a pretty painting without a story. Thankfully we understand this and have fantastic brand writers on our team. The new Focus Lab voice is bold, focused, and human. It's a seamless extension of our singular purpose -- the unwavering belief that the potential for greatness is already within each one of us, and we exist to unlock that potential. We've evolved to a place where we can speak and listen; succeed and falter; teach and learn. As a unified brand voice, we aim to embody this ethos.
The last point I’ll touch on quickly is our position in the market. We recognize how vital it is to be great at one thing, versus average at most. For that reason, we will never call ourselves a full-service agency. At Focus Lab, we will be brand-centered, and even more specifically, B2B brand specialists. We are positioned to lead in this space and plan on furthering that reality. FWIW, this does not mean working with great organizations outside of B2B is off the table, it simply means B2B will be our main domain.
Our future is now
Becoming one of the leading B2B brand agencies in the world is now our path ahead. We are ready to raise that flag high and march forward. Our why calls us to unlock the potential in the people around us, our how defines branding as our tool to do so. A new Focus Lab mantra, “Brand First, Brand Forever,” shines light on our cause.
So with all that, we are proud to unveil the new Focus Lab brand. What better way to test our resolve, our why, and our how than to trust our own process and rebrand ourselves. This new brand represents who we’ve become and points clearly to where we’re headed. It speaks directly to our customers about the value we deliver and why it matters. It’s not design for design’s sake; it’s about connecting with our purpose and helping our customers realize the undeniable power of brand.
Today marks the next chapter in our journey.