Kazoo’s got an updated logo, and a story to tell

I began my strategic branding business 20 years ago. It was a consulting firm, leveraging my wide range of experience in sales management, publishing, market research and advertising. During the early years, the burning question was, “Why do people buy the products or services they do?” Applying this experience along with a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota, I worked with some great clients and began to provide valuable observations, advice and action plans, which were mostly presented in three-ringer binders. 

There was something missing. It was the visual expressions, the graphic design that would make the marketing plans vividly come to life and emotionally connect the clients with their customers. I really missed working with creatives, sharing my strategies and watching the magic happen when an idea came to life. Five years ago, I met a young Dutch designer, Mila Samson and immediately took to her design sensibilities, problem solving, beautiful personality and asked her to join in on the journey of developing brands for clients. Two years ago, we were looking to hire an intern from the University of Minnesota School of Design. We discovered Ellen Puls from a large stack of resumés. There was a strong vibe that made her emerge. It was her work ethic, a design talent that cut a wide swath across all forms of media, coupled with her grit on skis and skateboards.

You didn’t need a spoiler alert to know this was coming. Mila and Ellen will be taking over the business. They are both extremely talented designers with a strong bent toward answering the burning question that plagued me in the beginning. People buy the products and services they do because of the emotional connections they have to the brand. I’ll be sticking around to help clients make those connections.

-Tom Dupont

Brand is all about story telling, and one of the best ways to build a strong, identifiable brand is to leverage the brand’s story into new messages and creative. Since Kazoo Branding is introducing a revised logo this week, you know there’s a story to tell along with it.

Tom Dupont started Tom Dupont & Associates in April 1999. His name had awareness in the Twin Cities area and therefore, it made sense as the name for his new business. As the story goes, after a few years one of Tom’s employees called him out on the company’s name. What does it mean? There was no emotional connection with the name, no story. And anyone who knows Tom, knows he loves a good story. So, Tom had to do some thinking, some brand-storming so to speak. What was the core essence of his brand? It was all about getting people excited about brands. It was combining strategy with design. It was helping clients create buzz for their brand.

What buzzes? Bees do; Cellphones buzz; Alarm clocks, electric shavers, and snare drums all make a buzzing sound. But what buzzes, is catchy, and is legally protectable? A Kazoo.

Thus Kazoo Branding was born. Kazoo is a graphic design studio that offers a proven, brand centric approach along with a broad set of creative capabilities that are scalable to client needs. We focus on working with small to mid-sized businesses and divisions of large companies seeking new opportunities with the spirit of an entrepreneur. Clients who work with Kazoo access a plethora of strategic and creative options for developing their brand, as well as a partner to help build their business. Strategy + Design = Buzz For Your Brand.

There you have it. That’s Kazoo Branding’s brand in a nutshell. As Kazoo Branding evolved, along came a few interpretations and visual executions. Here’s a peek at what some of this looked like:

 
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Fall of 2019 brings us to a new chapter in Kazoo’s story. After 40 years of work in sales, publishing, market research and brand development, Tom is now dedicating more time to baking bread, golfing and furniture building, and has passed on the company’s ownership to myself, Ellen Puls, and Mila Samson. Both trained in graphic design, Mila and I have worked with Tom over the past several years, integrating his brand strategy into our practice. We are both very excited to be at the helm of Kazoo and to bring it into this new chapter. Don’t worry, Tom is still on-board as advisor and chief brand strategist.

That brings us to our new logo. Mila and I are both designers, and we didn’t like the old Kazoo logo. Simple as that. See below for a breakdown of some of the decisions we made while designing the new mark.

 
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It’s a healthy exercise to reflect on your company’s brand once in a while. Is it still working for you? Does it still reflect your core brand? Have there been any changes within the company that might warrant a rebrand? If the answer is yes, then give Kazoo a buzz!

Ellen Puls