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Glowing up: The Zaka rebrand story

Glowing up: The Zaka rebrand story
Glowing up: The Zaka rebrand story

By now, especially if you follow us on socials or you’ve driven past Zaka HQ, you would have noticed we’ve rebranded. In what has been a labour of love spanning six months, we’ve taken our branding from fire engine red to a vibrant shade of fuchsia pink. So let’s delve a little deeper and take a look behind the scenes of Zaka’s glow-up.

Back in 2004, Zaka emerged on the Gold Coast as a Public Relations (PR) agency, coinciding with the birth of Facebook, the iPod's reign of popularity, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King winning the coveted Best Picture award at the Oscars.

By the time Twitter launched, we flourished and diversified our services, expanding our presence throughout southeast Queensland and New South Wales. While we grew, our core values remained intact: approachable, modern, and refreshingly friendly.

Take a moment to glimpse our old branding:

Zakazukha logo 2004

In 2012, an exciting chapter unfolded as we relocated to Burleigh Heads, opening the doors to uncharted territory and new opportunities. Alongside our trusted PR expertise, we ventured into the world of graphic design, social media and custom publications. As our client and team base continued to grow, we embarked on our first rebranding journey, introducing the iconic 'skinny red flag reminiscent of Soviet art into our visual identity.

Behold the Zakazukha logo of 2012:

Zakazukha logo 2012

Fast forward to 2017, we felt another change was necessary to reflect the evolution of our services, with a particular focus on digital. It was time for our third rebrand, which saw our name split into two lines—Zaka Zukha—and the incorporation of a bold red dot into our logo.

Our 2017 transformation:

Zakazukha logo 2017

By the time 2022 rolled around, Zaka had firmly established itself as a fixture in the Gold Coast creative scene. With a track record of helping numerous businesses thrive and a continuous influx of new team members, we sensed that the time had come for a fresh, rejuvenated appearance. Thus, in December, we took to the plunge and decided to unveil a brand-new look.

Since Zaka’s establishment, each rebranding phase has symbolised a significant milestone in our brand’s history. It has allowed us to embrace change, adapt, and flourish within the ever-evolving landscape of the industry. There’s no denying change is the only constant, and this latest rebranding endeavour encapsulates the very essence of the Zaka spirit like never before. But to achieve this, we had to knuckle down and reflect on what a rebrand would mean for us.

What’s in a name

In the quest for a brand identity that truly resonates with our clients and team members, we made a pivotal decision—to adopt the name "Zaka" instead of "Zakazukha." This choice reflects the natural evolution of our brand and aligns with how our valued stakeholders already refer to us—we know it’s marginally difficult to pronounce, imagine spelling it out a few times a day!

By opting for the simpler and more approachable name, we unlocked a powerful tool to reinforce our values and connect with our audience on a deeper level. This decision, reminiscent of the Australian tradition of affectionately shortening names—we’re looking at you Shazza, Dazza and Kazza—allows us to cultivate a brand that is relatable, memorable, and effortlessly engaging.

As part of this transformative process, we have unified our name across our digital media materials, making "Zaka" the cornerstone of our new visual identity.

Our core identity

“Who is Zaka?”‍

This was the vital question we needed to answer before delving into colour swatches and typefaces. For our rebrand to be successful, we understood we had to establish who we were and who we aspired to be first.

Defining our core identity meant recognising the brand attributes and values that would remain steadfast as we continued to grow. This core identity acts as the beating heart of any brand, guiding and informing every decision that follows. For the Zaka rebrand, it was crucial that our brand attributes and values truly reflected our individuality as well as our collective spirit.

We wanted to make sure we were heading in the right direction, and we were communicating our values and culture effectively. We also wanted to ensure sustainable growth and continued success for our clients.

Part of what makes Zaka such an amazing place to work—and such a cool company, if we do say so ourselves—is that everyone here really cares. The people here truly believe in Zaka and feel a strong sense of responsibility for its success.

With so many impassioned stakeholders, getting the rebranding right wasn’t just an important business decision—it was a personal one. That's why we made it a point to involve everyone at Zaka in the process of defining our core identity. We wanted to understand what Zaka meant to those who know and love it best, empowering us to shape the brand into a superior version of itself.

To achieve this, we organised a team-wide strategy day. We explored who we are, who we want to be, and the positive changes we want for ourselves as a business and for the world. We gathered insights from our team and clients, redefining and articulating our purpose, values and brand identity, highlighting our current culture.

Redefining our purpose

With our newly carved out vision, we decided on the following purpose statement which encompasses the work we do, the way we do it, and our impact model:

“To provide innovative and collaborative business solutions through passion, creativity, delivery, and a commitment to people.”

Our values: guiding principles for how we show up in the world

We’re proud of the culture we have at Zaka. Too often, it can feel like a company’s values only exist in employee training docs or on an“inspirational” wall somewhere around the office—usually in the toilet or kitchen.

At Zaka, our values are more than just words. They infuse every aspect of our work, both as individuals and as a collective. With input from our team, we agreed on five well-defined values.

1.    Passion: Continually seek to improve our skills, think bigger, value our relationships, enjoy what we do, and have fun.

2.    Creativity: Be curious, look at things differently, go beyond and offer real value, and innovate.

3.    Collaboration: Respect others' backgrounds and perspectives, be open to new ideas, be involved in the community, and say what we think.

4.    Delivery: We value results, not just effort. Do what we say we will do, be open and accountable, be committed and reliable, go above and beyond, and act with integrity.

5.    People: Employ the best from people to design practices and principles, to ensure we provide our clients with the best value and business solutions.

Our brand attributes: bold, approachable, and energetic

Our new brand identity reflects the unique culture we want to cultivate. We wanted a brand that was edgy and stood out, particularly as we turn our focus on the digital landscape.

But we wanted to delve even deeper. If our values serve as the guiding principles we live by, then our brand attributes are the defining personality traits we aspire to be known for. To identify these traits, we turned to our team and invited them to envision the future of Zaka.

We asked the following …

  1. If Zaka were a person, who would Zaka be?
  2. How would you describe the Zaka style?
  3. What kind of car would Zaka drive?
  4. What other brands would Zaka hang out with and why?
  5. What keywords best describe Zaka?
  6. What does Zaka and working at Zaka mean to you?

After numerous rounds of revisions, thoughtful discussions, and self-reflection, we arrived at six brand attributes we believe best capture the essence of Zaka and align with our vision for the future.

We determined Zaka is:

Client-centric: We’re focused on providing a positive user experience at every stage of the journey and we care about our client’s clients!

Trustworthy: There’s no shady business here! We’re honest, transparent, direct, and reliable. We love our clients and want to build strong, honest relationships through authentic and open communication.

Witty: We are smart, quick, and quirky. We love to make people smile, whether that’s with a cheesy pun or a fun social post. We’re tactful, situationally aware, and never joke at the expense of others.

Confident: We know we’re good at what we do and aren’t afraid to take on new challenges. We balance confidence with humility: “We don’t beat our chest, but we will toot our horn.”

Creative: We champion creative problem-solving to uncover innovative solutions. We empower our team and clients alike to think beyond the conventional, embracing the power of imagination and ingenuity to achieve remarkable outcomes.

Humble: Modesty, sincerity, and reliability define our approach. We value feedback and actively seek opportunities to evolve and improve. No matter how much we grow, we remain grounded, never losing sight of our humble beginnings and the lessons that brought us to where we are today.

Style attributes

Style encompasses how we communicate, including design, writing, and the people behind the Zaka brand. Consistency and recognisability are key factors in establishing a strong style.

After thorough discussions, we identified five style attributes that beautifully align with Zaka's personality:

Style attributes:

Clean: Zaka embodies a clean, modern, and minimalistic aesthetic. We believe in a less-is-more approach to design.

Casual: We keep it real with relaxed, comfortable, and friendly vibes.

Distinctive: Zaka is an embodiment of uniqueness, authenticity, and inspiration. We pride ourselves on setting trends, breaking moulds, and leading the way as thought leaders in our industry.

Warm: Zaka is warm, approachable, and welcoming. We’re your favourite sweater in company form.

Playful: Zaka embraces a playful, nerdy, and witty nature. We find joy in striking a balance between our creative and analytical sides, infusing our work with a sense of fun and light-heartedness.

By aligning our values, brand attributes, and style attributes, we created a unified and powerful representation of Zaka's essence.

Glowing up: our transformation

Once we had our core identity defined, it was time for a makeover! And because everyone loves a good makeover montage, we are thrilled to share this exciting process with you.

The Zaka logo

The Zaka logo, a symbol of our evolution and spirit, underwent a significant transformation. We faced the choice of whether to make subtle adjustments or go for a complete overhaul. In the spirit of embracing change, we opted to go all-in and unleash a brand-new look.

Our primary goal was to create a memorable graphic element that exuded fun and approachability while capturing attention in the digital realm, particularly on social media platforms. Allow us to introduce our vibrant 'jelly bean' icon—a delightful representation of a simplified 'Z' that expresses our brand name.

This whimsical icon perfectly encapsulates the playful and light-hearted personality of our agency. It serves as a testament to our commitment to being friendly while standing out in the dynamic digital landscape.

Our typeface

To complement this eye-catching icon, we chose a typeface that embodies modernism, emphasising our unwavering commitment to exceptional service. The typeface in our old logo used all-caps and came across as though we were yelling. And since we prefer open and friendly communication over loud proclamations, we sought a typeface that retained its unique character while projecting a softer tone, ensuring it stands out effortlessly. Our new branding proudly showcases CoFo Sans, a minimal sans-serif typeface with rounded edges that exudes a refreshing lightness.

Sans perfectlyCoFo Sans perfectly captures the essence of our visual identity. Its boldness and vibrancy align with our commitment to making a bold statement while maintaining approachability. This typeface not only adds a touch of sophistication but also signifies our dedication and passion for what we do.

We also carefully selected a supplementary font ‘Lexend Deca’ to pair with our primary typeface, CoFo Sans. This fresh and stylised font strikes the perfect balance between readability and visual appeal. It effortlessly enhances the display and text elements of our communication, making it a seamless fit for our brand. This dynamic duo of funky fonts accurately represents the energy that is Zaka.

Revitalising our brand colours

As we embarked on our rebranding journey, we took a bold step to revitalise our colour palette. Our previous brand featured black and red, and we saw this as an exciting opportunity to infuse our brand with a fresh and vibrant personality that would captivate our clients and stakeholders.

After careful consideration, pink emerged as the vibrant centrepiece of our new brand colours. We believe pink not only resonates strongly across digital platforms but also enhances accessibility, particularly on mobile devices.

Pink evokes a multitude of emotions, including excitement, uniqueness, and creativity, while simultaneously emanating a sense of soothing friendliness. It is a colour that welcomes and invites our team members and clients to be a part of our dynamic journey.

In addition to pink, we introduced a gradient that brings depth and dimension to lift the design. This gradient adds a touch of visual intrigue and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of our brand. By embracing this energetic interplay of colours, we further amplify the impact of our visual identity, making it even more memorable and engaging.

An arse kicker website

While our old website served us well, we recognised the need to elevate our online presence in a highly competitive industry. That's when we partnered with Uxflow, a team of skilled web developers with 15 years of experience in crafting design-centric digital experiences. We knew we were in capable hands. Working closely with Uxflow, we embarked on a journey to create a website that not only tells our story but also showcases our capabilities in a captivating and playful manner. Their expertise enabled us to simplify our language, ensuring our website is optimised for search engines and easily understood by our audience. We consciously avoided industry jargon, opting instead to highlight how we support our clients and exhibit our brand's unique personality.

The result is a visually stunning website that captures the essence of Zaka. It introduces our talented team, shares our passion for good design and storytelling, and exemplifies best practices in branding and marketing. Our primary objective was to attract like-minded individuals who appreciate the power of exceptional design, and the new Zaka website accomplishes this and so much more.

With this transformation, we are confident that our website will not only stand out in the industry but also resonate with those who value innovative and impactful marketing solutions.

What happens next

Our transformation is not just about a fresh coat of paint or a new logo—it represents a deeper commitment to our core values and a bold leap forward in the future. We are thrilled to share our revitalised brand with the world and invite you to join us on this exciting new chapter.

At Zaka, we firmly believe that every brand has the potential to make a positive impact. We are passionate about helping businesses like yours become a force for good, driving meaningful change in your industry and connecting with your audience in profound ways.

If our rebranding journey has piqued your interest and you would like to explore the possibilities for your own brand, we would be delighted to have a conversation with you. The future is bright, and we're ready to make our mark—together.

With love,

The Zaka Team