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A modular rebrand for a bold gaming platform #BehindTheBrand

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This week, I spoke to Nikola Jellačić, Chief Marketing Officer at online casino brand Casumo, about their recent rebranding by SNASK.

What was the brief for the rebrand?

The initial brief was a brand refresh rather than a full rebrand. But we quickly realised with the ideas we had, it would be better to start with a clean slate. You have to embrace the brand's legacy and honour the past, but equally, to have the desired impact, you must also build for the future.

So the brief, in the end, was how do we pay homage to Casumo and how the brand looked in the past, but also how do we come up with something fresh, something that feels new, and something that feels like it was built for the future.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

The initial pitch centred around what we can do to have more flexibility to help bring the brand alive across every touch point internally and externally. It’s all well and good having a brand book with rules but that’s not reflective of real life.

There are so many scenarios you can’t imagine where branding is needed that you can’t predict when writing guidelines. For example, one minute you could be designing for the website, the next you could be tasked with ensuring meeting rooms embody the company values and then be tasked with making event spaces or new sections of the app branded too.

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So, we wanted to have something modular, something that has a lot more colour options for example, and something that can be easily recognisable. So whenever people would see designs they would say, “Oh, yeah, that's Casumo”.

And even if someone copied us, people would still recognise that it is Casumo - we are the originators of that style, look and feel and the only ones to execute it with authenticity.

Describe the purpose of the brand and its target audience & what was your thinking behind the rebranding solution?

The purpose has always been to be different and to stand out. That's something that Casumo has been known for since day one, from the first website to the gamification and everything that lives within the product. So it has always been about adding incremental value to our platform and also into our brand.

Casumo has been built differently. It has been built by people who think who have always, and will always, put customer experience first. We want to continue on that path but with a pivot here and there to take it one step further. The legacy of a brand is really good. And the rebrand focused on how we just sharpen the edges.

How do we crystallise exactly what we want to be? We want it to be different. We want to celebrate the uniqueness of Casumo. We want to be instantly recognisable. And we want to constantly stand out from the crowd.

Did you learn anything new during the project?

Massively. I’ve known Casumo pretty much since day one. Not because I was part of the company originally, but because I was one of the first Googlers to walk through the door of Casumo as part of a collaboration.

I kept my eye on Casumo throughout the years because there was something special about the company’s founding values and how they were embodied through everything they created. However, you still don't know as much as you think, until you join the company and you work alongside people who have been here for a very long time. What I've learned is how much passion - genuine, authentic passion - goes into daily work.

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How many people care about what they are involved in and how proud they are to be part of Casumo. Because it's different, because it stands out because it takes pride in making decisions that have an impact. You learn this most when you see how much people care about the small things, it’s the attention to detail.

The team won’t publish work until they're proud of it. So I've learned how much brand equity Casumo still holds and how much pride people have in being part of this company.

What was the biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was deciding how to balance our colour scheme. We wanted to expand the range of colours to give our designers as many options as possible - we now have eight secondary colours for example - but we recognised we also needed a selection of primary colours that would be the main bolthold and easily identifiable as ‘Casumo colours’.

We have achieved this by having core colours used on touchpoints that cannot be changed every five minutes, for example, key parts of the website and the app. And then expand the colour palette on projects that are more fluid and interchangeable, for example, customer emails and internal communications.

What kit/tools/software were used to create it?

When it comes to rebranding, we used an agency called SNASK and they have helped us throughout the process.

I'm not 100% certain about what tools they used, however, one of the tools I used during the early phases, especially when brainstorming, for example, was Chat GPT.  I wanted to explore more about the ‘sumo’ in the name and how that relates to the company’s values, legacy and what it can mean for the future.

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I would throw out ideas to Chat GPT and go down rabbit holes on the culture of Sumo wrestling and Sumo fighters. The traditions, the values, the dress, how it’s changed, what it means culturally, how it’s viewed in other cultures, the history and the future, the associated pride and understanding and so forth.

By going back and forth with Chat GPT, I learnt valuable insights that helped the process quickly - I learnt more than I could have possibly done through reading lots of books.

What details are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of how the rebrand has gelled people together from different departments. A project of this scale requires people to collaborate and naturally throws up the unexpected. But it was how these departments embraced working with one another and how quickly, when there were hurdles, they found solutions together.

Teams aren’t built when everything is great, running on time and delivering to objectives. Teams are built when you’re going through the fire. When you have to tackle challenges, navigate the unexpected and stretch your skills and understanding. And I have to say, this rebranding has meant we have created new connections and bonds. This is a relatively new team and because of how everyone pulled together, we have built bonds and built trust that may never have arisen had the rebrand not taken place.

What visual influences fuelled your solution?

One of the first things we did as part of a workshop with the agency SNASK was investigate our personality and how we want to not just look, but also talk, feel and behave. And we considered characters we wanted to define us. And one of the things that stuck with me, and to this day still does, is that we want to be like the genie from Aladdin. He is quirky, he’s not rude but he says the obvious, he's funny, in a very sarcastic but again, nice way.

You will laugh at what he says or does, but you know where he's coming from with a good heart and the best intentions. And this is where one of the key elements of inspiration came from. So now, whenever we talk about a project or task, for example, sending out a newsletter, we task ourselves with what can we change to ensure it resembles more of that genie-style personality. We want our content to put a smile on people’s faces.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

Two things.

One is that it brings a new sense of energy within the company, for the company. I wouldn't call it a rebirth necessarily, but I would call it a comeback story. I want people from within the company to recognise the change and be confident in saying ‘Now we're making a comeback’. People will remember us but now they will remember us again.

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The second is that I want our customers, our partners to look at us and see that something is changing at Casumo but it’s fresh, it’s new. For existing customers to enjoy their experiences even more and for new customers to want to join us because it’s refreshing, different and built for the future.

It’s the same feeling of excitement for all involved but for different reasons.

What would you do differently if you could do it over again?

If there had been more time, I would have set up customer interviews.  We have broader market research that provides a huge volume of insight, but we’re lacking detailed, first-hand feedback. 

 I’d like to understand more about customers' honest thoughts – what are they happy with and what are they not happy with? I’m keen to know if they feel excited about the new brand.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time. But moving forward, I will factor this into projects without a doubt.

Credit list for the work?

The agency, SNASK, has been a great partner. I know it's not easy to work with clients, and we haven't been easy at times, but it has been part of the process, and they were with us every step of the way.

 I also want to give credit to the whole creative studio team and the brand team that sits within my team. They have been given a huge task, and the rebrand is just the beginning of the story. Once the new approach is finalised, then the actual work needs to be done to roll it out.

So, I really want to give a shout-out to the whole team. Especially to Laura, our Head of Brand and Creative Studio. Alongside her team, she has delivered amazing work at volume and speed. There have been things popping up left right and centre, but they have been super helpful, hands-on, driven and so passionate. Their care and attention to detail cannot be faltered.

 I really appreciate them all because to get a project like this through the door, you need these people in your team. You need people who genuinely care and want to be proud of the project. I am proud of them, and they should be very proud too.

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