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JDW Accounting: A brand 60 years in the making

Jolly, Duncan and Wells had 60 years of history and experience – but the brand was starting to show its age. With two thirds of the named partners no longer in the company and a new Director, Serena Irving, stepping in, it was time for a change.

“I felt apologetic when I would say who I worked for. I constantly had to explain who Jolly, Duncan, and Wells were – two have sadly passed away while Murray Wells is retiring in two years,” explains Serena. “Our receptionist would get phone calls for Mr Jolly or Mr Duncan.”

Not only was there huge confusion over who was actually in the company, the brand was feeling a little old fashioned. “I felt that the logo and everything else around it was pretty dated; it looked like it had been done 20 years ago and there hadn’t been much thought put into why those particular shapes or colours were used – they probably just seemed nice at the time!”

Serena knew it was time for a change – but she didn’t want to throw the old brand away entirely. “It’s important to remember our history. We’re quite proud of being around for 60 years, but we also want to let people know what we do and have a more modern look that is attractive to newer, younger potential clientele.”

Serena knew Tonia through networking groups and decided Crisp Graphics were the perfect partner to help her refresh the brand.

A team effort

When it came to JDW, it was all about the team. While most rebranding exercises would involve just one or two principal people, Serena was determined to include as many of the team as possible. “I felt it was important to get our managers’ buy in on any changes we made. If our brand didn’t resonate with the senior team, it was going to flop. The best way to achieve buy-in was to involve them in the process.”

Crisp Graphics’ brand workshop was the perfect solution.

“Tonia took us through her brand workshop, where we discussed what the personality of our business was. We joked that our firm wears business shirts without ties and drives a Lexus!” laughs Serena. “We talked about what was important to us, what we felt the look and feel should be like. All the different points of view came through. Tonia had to navigate that and move us along in the process when we got a little tied up in everyone’s feelings.”

Following the workshop, Tonia put together design concepts to appeal to not only the team, but also JDW’s target clients. “We went backwards and forwards quite a few times – we liked aspects of the initial drawings so could say ‘keep that, but let’s take it again and come up with more ideas.’ It helped that we were understanding ourselves a lot better in the process.”

Although the process involved a lot of back and forth, Serena felt confident that the end result would be right thanks to Tonia’s calm demeanour, and willingness to go the extra mile. “She was really switched on and was happy to do revisions. When we got a bit stuck, she gave us some guidance and we respected her ideas on colour combinations .”

A brand for the future

Finally, the team was in agreement and the brand was decided – Jolly, Duncan and Wells were now officially JDW Chartered Accountants Limited. Holding onto the initials kept the original name alive, while moving away from specific names enables the team to continue to grow the brand into the future.

As for the visuals? Serena and the team couldn’t be happier.

“We’re really happy with the final brand. It reflects the inclusiveness and friendliness that we’re trying to portray to our clients. A little plus symbol in our J means a lot more than its size suggests. It shows that we don’t just do tax returns – we do so much more. That tiny little element was something that Tonia brought out from our discussions.”

Since then, the new brand has been implemented across the board – from a refreshed website to a new Facebook page; branded wine cooler bags for client gifts to branded lollipops for the Ellerslie Santa Parade; business cards and letterheads to Xero financial statements.

“The new brand is a big part of telling everybody that we’re looking towards the future. We’re not just traditional accountants – we also do forecasting, budgeting, and business planning; work that will help you look forwards.

“We’re feeling really good and are looking forward to the coming year where we can use the brand in other things. We’ve still got more work to do on the website and with promotions to existing clientele,” shares Serena excitedly.

“I’m not embarrassed anymore – I rather like handing out my business cards now!”


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