Why Throw Out A Perfectly Good Brand After 23 Years?

Our name, The Metrick System, was born 23 years ago during the long transition from Imperial to Metric. Using my last name in the moniker might be considered clever had you met me.  For those hearing it for the first time, it is often thought of as the measurement system and spelled with a C, other creative spellings employed a K and occasionally X. Then there were those who thought we had many systems.

Our logo was Metrick System with a silhouette of a trailer, a nod to the three Airstream trailers we have in our office. This only made sense if you came to visit us. So now in order to understand our clever name and mark – you’d have to have met me for coffee in our agency. Finding us on the internet was another adventure in exact spelling.

After 23 years we had three brands in the agency, Metrick System with the trailer silhouette, Bee Diaries our social media platform to talk about our apiaries and honey products and a studio called TrailerWorks Studio for US broadcast work. We all know that it’s the accumulated touch points that build a brand; we were dividing our messaging by three and we’re a boutique.

How we Chose the Name

A couple of years ago, we were ranked the 2nd coolest corporate HQ in the world by Wall Street Journal. First was Red Bull in London, then us, then Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Twitter and Google. There were a zillion mentions on social media so I chose TrailerWorks, what we were known for best, the trailers in the office.

Was this a group effort? No.  If I had to identify any one mistake I made- I chose the name on my own. I found the URL and made a unilateral decision and thought everyone would high five me or at least do the wave. Big mistake, huge.

When we started to build the collateral materials for the name change we had maybe a 5.8% buy-in from the staff: me. Add another 15% for senior staff due to our close working relationship. The balance of our staff thought: “Laurence is an idiot, the Metrick System name works.” All processes to pull this together were ignored as it was internal. The only one into it was me and I was killing it with improvement, so they hoped it would go away.

Three years ago, we were given the work for the Albert Einstein Foundation, a project that took us from screwing up just in one country to messing up in many. We were given a blank page to work from and created what we called a Cultural Universe, which I believed was an important piece to gain new clients.

To get everyone on-board, I did the TW Cultural Universe for our staff so they could see where we were going, our reason for being and what the agency aspires to be in three years, and then we built a Customer Journey for TW client acquisition

Even though I alienated our staff, they eventually took over the launch, to show me they were for the name change all along.

We ended the year sending a video to our database: “365 days in 2 minutes”, then three launch videos (view here), which by the way were produced in 24 hours.

Was it worth it? Yes, though my Mom and Dad still prefer Metrick System.


From The Trailer Park, Laurence Metrick.
About the Author: Laurence Metrick is President, TrailerWorks and member of the CMA Brand Strategy Council.

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