Living our hardworking brand. (For 25 years and one extra-long day.)
For many companies, “living the brand” is sometimes easier said than done. But when your brand is “hardworking” and you’re in a service industry, you’d better epitomize that message each and every day or why even bother? For us at Crowley Webb, it’s easy. We’ve been hardworking since day one – when our agency was started in a telephone booth on the blue-collar streets of Buffalo, New York. Sure, we’ve grown and evolved in 25 years, but our industrious spirit is as alive today as it was back in 1986. We feel so strongly about our ethos, we had it tattooed on the side of our building (in mural form).
So when our 25th anniversary rolled around, we didn’t want to simply commemorate Crowley Webb, we wanted to honor what our agency stood for. Problem was, milestones are a dime a dozen in the news these days. Everyone seems to be celebrating some sort of something. We knew we had to do something big. Something with legs that would keep people interested. Something that would showcase our hardworking brand in action.
And so the Twenty-Five Hour Workday was born.
We decided our entire agency would donate 25 straight hours of labor to someone. How’s that for living the brand? Only question was, who’d be the lucky client? Well, we already do loads of pro bono work throughout the year, so we didn’t want to muddy those waters. We decided it should be a scrappy start-up – just like we were 25 years ago – and we’d hold a contest to find just the right one.
First came the announcement of the contest with instructions for young companies to enter. After a few weeks and more than forty entries, we narrowed the list to three ultra-worthy businesses. It was then up to them to work their social networks and get votes on our website to help them win. After more than 15,000 votes, You and Who was declared the winner.
The more we learned about this company, the more we fell in love. You and Who is a buy-one-give-one business that sells artist-designed t-shirts. For every shirt sold, one is donated to someone in need. A company with a conscience. Who else would be more deserving of a total brand makeover in 25 hours?
As the big day approached, excitement reached a fever pitch around Crowley Webb. We split up the entire agency into various committees to ensure everyone was involved, engaged, and had a job to do. When January 26, 2012 rolled around, many said it felt like Christmas. No one was exactly sure how it was all going to turn out. But knowing what we know about our people, we knew it was going to be good.
Over the next 25 straight hours, something amazing happened. You bet we strategized, designed, wrote, and worked, worked, worked. That was to be expected. Oh, and we impressed the hell out of our new clients. But this thing, this contest designed to get people outside of our company to realize how special Crowley Webb is, really had the biggest effect on Crowley Webb. We worked together – all of us – toward one common goal for a day plus an hour. The bonding experience was immeasurable. No one saw that coming.
When all was said and done, we got the press and attention we were looking for. And we created a brand for a neat little t-shirt company that introduced itself to the world at SXSW. But, most importantly, we supercharged the Crowley Webb brand inside and out. Now that’s hardworking.
Check out the video we created about the day.