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Rebranding a Family Store

When a client asks for help with rebranding an established, well-known brand, there is typically a lot of baggage involved. Not baggage as we traditionally think of it, but rebranding is, for all intents and purposes, a reinvention. We take into account public perception, as well as the company’s professional goals and ambitions. When the company in question is a family business, one that began sixty-three years ago with a guppy and a schoolboy’s dream, there is a lot to live up to.

Rebranding is a big job, but it’s always one that we truly embrace. Pet Warehouse came to us with this request. They wanted to update their image to better realize company goals, but they also wanted to make sure and keep the original vision of their founder, Karl Keller.

Our response? Bring. It. On.

Anyone familiar with our Process Wheel knows everything at ADsmith starts with research. In this case, we began with a focus group to determine existing perceptions of Pet Warehouse and how a rebranding effort would be received by customers.

The findings of the focus group and the additional research we conducted gave us two starting points. First: the word “warehouse” inspired some negative reactions. Second: focus group participants felt concerned that a name change might imply the family-owned business had been sold. We addressed these concerns at the same time.

A name change was needed, but it didn’t need to be a brand new name. As it happens, Pet Warehouse had a sister company, Petsway, that was well established in stores outside the Springfield area. Petsway also had an online presence, which helped us bridge the two identities into one, fully capturing the forward momentum sought by the client.

We had the direction we wanted to go—we just had to make sure the execution was perfect. We played with the color and form of the logo to address some initial issues in reading the name (Pets Way vs. Pet Sway), and improved brand recognition. Working side by side, we fine-tuned the emotions we wanted to evoke in the design, particularly the playfulness of the paw in the disk, all the while maintaining the simplicity required for an enduring logo.

We created stylized icons and bright, easy-to-read graphics, which were implemented across various forms of media, from storefront windows to the company website. The new graphics conveyed clean, contemporary idealized images of the pets everyone loves.  The public could easily recognize a renewed vitality and commitment to great pet care and products.

The new PetsWay logo represents the happiness experienced by anyone lucky enough to have a furry (or non-furry) friend in their life, as well as the love that inspired Karl Keller to open his remarkable pet stores so long ago.

Being trusted with rebranding a long-standing company is such a great moment within an agency. You get to be part of a rebirth and experience firsthand the excitement. When you love what you do, energy becomes contagious. When a passionate client comes to a passionate agency to create something amazing, the sky is the limit.