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6 min read

Our Rebrand Story and What We Learned.

By Annie Wissner

We’ve Got a Fresh New Look!

You might have noticed that the High Level Marketing (HLM) brand has undergone some big changes over the last week. We're the first to admit that change can feel uncomfortable, but we've learned that it’s necessary for growth.

Over the past 90 days, our internal cross-functional teams, working with a number of HLM’s key clients, have been collaborating to zero-in on our new visual identity.

HLM was built by people passionate about advertising and digital marketing. And while our look has changed, our core purpose hasn’t. We remain steadfast in our commitment to accelerating client growth by unlocking their true potential.

Get ready to be inspired as we share the journey of our rebrand and the valuable lessons we have learned along the way. Our hope is that it will help you take your organization's brand to the next level!

How it Began

If you haven't heard the story, our origin dates back to 2007, when our CEO and Founder, Scott Bell, was a senior at Auburn University. Based on a business plan he created in school for the outdoor advertising industry, Scott founded Bell Media with his brother, and the two began selling outdoor advertising throughout Alabama and Georgia. As the business grew, Nathan Yates, our current CFO, joined the team and became a shareholder, allowing Bell Media to expand its outdoor advertising business.

Then, in 2015, a buyer approached Bell Media, prompting the company to sell its outdoor advertising business and shift its focus to digital marketing services. From there, Bell Media adopted a "build and buy" strategy, leading to significant growth with four successful acquisitions over six years. In 2021, Bell Media rebranded by acquiring High Level Marketing (HLM) which brought on board two new shareholders, Wesley Mathews and Jon Bowerman, and over 700 digital marketing clients. Today, HLM remains committed to delivering value to its clients by staying on the cutting edge of digital marketing and technology, seeking new opportunities, and evolving as a business to ensure continued success and growth.

As a Brand, What Do We Believe In?

Prior to the rebrand, our team put extensive work into defining who we are as a company. We don't try to be everything to everyone; our strength lies in our focus.

"At HLM, our focus is on serving small and mid-sized service-based businesses by providing them with the right digital marketing services to accelerate their growth. Considering 97% of searches for local businesses start online, we know how crucial a solid digital marketing strategy is for these businesses to succeed.”
Scott Bell, CEO and Founder of High Level Marketing

Our Niche

Helping small and mid-sized service-based companies strengthen their online visibility and grow in their local market(s).

Our Guarantee

Transparency that’s unmatched in the industry.

Our 7 Core Values

  1. Do What’s Right
  2. Pursue What’s Next
  3. Learn Every Day
  4. Celebrate Wins
  5. Deliver Meaningful Outcomes
  6. Work as One Team
  7. Embrace Change

Our 5 Unique Differentiators

  1. Holistic, Multi-Channel: We offer a comprehensive and versatile marketing approach that covers all aspects of your business.
  2. Transparency: We’re committed to transparency, providing clear and detailed reporting on all of our clients’ marketing efforts.
  3. Industry Verticalization: We deeply understand the industries we serve and create customized solutions catering to each client's specific needs.
  4. Experience: We have a proven track record of success, with over 2,000 satisfied clients.
  5. Footprint™ Technology Platform: Our technology provides real-time solutions and insights to unlock the true potential of our clients.
HLM's Footprint Technology Consists of Three Major Solutions: Footprint Insights, Footprint Dashboard, and Footprint CMS
Footprint Insights:
  • Access real-time competitor insights to win online.
  • Footprint technology is engineered by both marketers and scientists and designed to think like a search engine.
  • Compares your business to your competitors on hundreds of data points used by search engines.
  • Reveals competitor digital strategies and areas you need to improve to get ahead.
  • Provides benchmark and ongoing data to track your performance against competitors.
Footprint Dashboard:
  • Get the transparency you need in your next digital agency.
  • The Activity Tracker shows what we recently worked on for your organization, what’s in the process right now, and what’s planned to provide the industry’s best transparency.
  • The Lead Tracker allows us to discuss your lead quality together so that we can make adjustments to your campaigns and improve your results.
  • The Customer Feedback and Review Generator tools save you 3rd party costs and help you obtain and manage reviews.
Footprint CMS (Content Management System):
  • Gain more customers with a fast, secure and user-friendly website platform. 
  • Reach more customers, stay relevant, and operate leaner with a new website built on the Footprint CMS.
  • Website hosting on the highest-performing server architecture to ensure the industry’s best speed, security, and stability.
  • Update content quickly and confidently, knowing your website is built with tools and guidelines to prevent anyone from causing a major performance issue or derailing your goals.

So What’s Changed?

The company successfully completed a rebrand transition from an athletic theme to a cleaner, more modern brand with greater universal appeal. With our core purpose and values leading the way, we prioritized building a brand that conveys our transparency guarantee, technology advantage, and pursuit of what’s next.

The transition began with extensive research and analysis of our ideal clients, ranging from Home Services Business Owners to Aesthetics Practice Directors, Medical Doctors to Senior Care Leaders. With such a diverse set of industries and personas served, it was essential that our new brand appealed to a broad audience.

The new brand identity includes a new logo, color palette, and imagery that reflect our bolder, more innovative look. We also revamped our marketing content and technology touchpoints, including our website, social media channels, Footprint Dashboard, and Footprint Insights Reports, to reflect the new identity. The website showcases the company's leading digital marketing services, emphasizing client proof points. The social media channels feature engaging content that highlights the company's expertise and understanding of the latest digital marketing and technology trends.

Our Logo

050523_blog_rebranding-01 (1)

The new logo was created to promote brand recognition and connect HLM with our audience. The logo is now simpler and more impactful by removing the extra graphical elements such as logo marks and different font styles. The special type treatment with round edges carries the legacy of our previous branding representing the history of HLM. The period is added at the end to punctuate that HLM will be the last destination for our clients in their search for a digital marketing agency.

Our Colors

050523_blog_rebranding-02 (1)

Our new color palette is designed to convey our message to our broad audience effectively. We merged two similar primary colors to achieve a consistent color scheme with a clear hierarchy. We also added three new secondary colors - yellow, violet, and teal - to create a richer, more optimistic, and conversational look for HLM across our various industries.

Our Collateral

Our marketing collateral has undergone a transformation to align with our new visual identity. The consistent design across all our materials, from the website to our technology, creates a visual ecosystem that ties together all of HLM's offerings and touchpoints. The collateral designs have been updated to ensure clear contrast and hierarchy, effectively conveying their intended purpose. Additionally, the use of QR codes allows readers to quickly access information about HLM's products and services online, bridging the physical and digital worlds.

Our Website

050523_blog_rebranding-04 (1)

We’ve made significant updates to our websіtе, giving it a fresh new look with improved functionality. We simplified the site’s navigation to help visitors quickly find the information they need. Making the website more mobile-responsive is one of our most significant changes. Now, no matter what dеvіcе our customers are using, they can easily access what they need.

Rebrand and Website Timeline

We accomplished our rebrand and website relaunch within three months, from mid-January through mid-April. We started by analyzing our target audience, industry trends, and competitors. We brought the new brand identity to life during this time with a new logo, color palette, and imagery. In March, we updated our content and social media posts. And in April, we unveiled our new brand and launched a fresh new website.

What We Learned

Rebranding is a big decision for a business. To pull it off successfully requires careful planning, execution, and communication. The top four lessons we learned include clearly defining the rebrand, incorporating key people, creating a solid project plan, and communicating early and often. By exploring these lessons, your team can better navigate the rebranding process and achieve success.

Here are the top 4 lessons learned from our rebrand:

Clearly define the reason for the rebrand: Before rebranding, you’ll want a compelling reason to launch the initiative. A rebrand can be time-consuming and costly, depending on the rebrand's breadth. So it's got to align with your overall business strategy and goals.

Include stakeholders throughout the process: Rebrands are much more than your company’s colors and logo. It's a complex project that includes all aspects of your business. Getting a variety of people involved throughout the organization can ensure your new brand hits the mark and is embraced and adhered to in the future.

Develop a comprehensive plan: A rebrand involves many moving parts, including messaging, marketing collateral, your website, and more. Your plan should outline all the steps involved and who’s responsible for each part of the project to keep things on track.

Communicate the rebrand effectively: Rebranding can be a significant change for your customers, vendors, and partners, so it's crucial to communicate the changes effectively. This can include updating your website, social media channels, other marketing collateral and clear email and PR messages to all stakeholders.

The Bottom Line

One of the most important things we learned from our rebrand is just how important it is to have a look and voice that aligns with your company’s core purpose and values. As you’ve read, HLM isn’t about trying to be everything to everyone but rather about serving small and mid-sized service-based businesses by providing them with the right digital marketing services to accelerate their growth.

What’s important is that our team remains committed to having a unified voice and vision. This will be our standard going forward, and while there may be some minor tweaks along the way, the overall vision will remain the same. The rebrand didn’t come without challenges. We had to navigate different opinions and perspectives when designing a brand as well-established and much-loved as HLM. And while some people were skeptical, we were committed to doing what was right for our team, our clients, and our partners.

Does your organization need a fresh new look? Reach out to us today, and we’ll put you in touch with digital marketing experts that can help you take your brand to the next level.

Author: Annie Wissner

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