Words by Rachel Newell | Account Director, Rapt Studio
At Rapt, we consider ourselves “radically personal”—valuing the stories and authenticity that make us us. Part of my authenticity comes from being raised by a philosopher father and therapist mother: a probing curiosity into what makes people tick—no surprise I ended up in brand strategy! Putting human behavior and emotion at the center of things feels natural…and sometimes uncomfortable.
Wrestling with discomfort, learning to embrace it as a marker for growth and change, is tough. Bréné Brown champions the need for vulnerability—to show-up, do the work and accept our true selves. Yet an area that gets less coverage is the notion of RESPONSIBILITY—the acknowledgment that change can only happen when we are accountable for our actions and commit to solutions.
In Rapt’s recent Think Tank, “Bring Your Whole Self,” we talked about the parallels between seeing ourselves holistically as people and how we define and manage brands.
Typically, brands are brought to life through a human “persona” that helps express emotive design. We uncover truths and shape them into core principles. Packaged nicely as Guidelines, the strategic deliverable is a watershed moment in “launching” a brand (cue fanfare).
Yet branding, like life, isn’t a one-and-done scenario—it should be seen as a commitment to continuous improvement. Often as companies mature and evolve, a brand’s foundational strategy feels put on the shelf.
Today, companies have become transparent to the outside, and as employees bring more of their “whole” selves to work, values and vision are key vehicles for retention. Lighting and ping-pong will only get people so far.
At Rapt, a holistic approach to brands (aligning internal and external worlds) underpins our design. We challenge the linear project process, think holistically, and bridge gaps between siloed departments. The result is a commitment to viewing a brand as the sum of its parts. And, like people, its authenticity starts within.
Moderator: Susan Szenasy – Metropolis Director of Design Innovation
Ivan Cash – Interactive Artist and Film Director at Cash Studios
David Galullo – CEO and Chief Creative Officer at Rapt Studio
Ellen Petry Leanse – Innovation Coach and Author of The Happiness Hack
Rachel Newell – Account Director at Rapt Studio
Maya Razon – Executive Development, Learning Space Initiative at Google