U.S. and U.K.-based the projects*, a global branding agency, has rebranded after its junior employees expressed discomfort with the company name in a town hall meeting.
While the name initially referred to the way the agency organized around project-based work, it began to raise red flags among employees in the U.S. as the agency scaled globally. In America, “the projects” colloquially refers to low-income housing developments.
After a group of junior employees raised their concerns, the agency officially embarked on a rebranding process and changed its name to New Moon.
“There was always the understanding of an unintentional cultural subtext that the name had, and that was part of the conversation around why we felt the need to change," said Jonathan Jayasinghe, a junior creative strategist who led the rebrand. "As an agency we're very inclusive and diverse, so the subtext of it didn't really align."
Encouraged by New Moon CEO Jack Bedwani, Jayasinghe and another junior creative strategist, Lauren Preble, created a task force of mostly junior staff to approach the rebrand, treating Bedwani as a client.
“We decided to have a small working group so that we could be really focused and intentional, and work as efficiently as possible,” Jayasinghe said. “Usually we'll be hired by clients to come up with unexpected solutions to problems that they haven't been able to solve themselves, but [we] turned the lens on ourselves and questioned some of our assumptions about who we are and what's important to us.”
During the process, the junior team presented a number of names to leadership after consulting with some of their own clients, including the PR and marketing teams at Target, Pandora and Porsche.
“With the projects* being such a literal and definitive name, we wanted to go into a different direction that was more exploratory,” Preble said.
Jayasinghe added that mysticism and cosmic phenomena were interests the team shared.
While it was difficult for Bedwani to sever his attachment to the brand name, he ultimately felt reflection and change was good, given the events of the past year.
“There was an opportunity to change and pivot into a place that they felt aligned with our vision and our values, so we embarked on this journey,” he said. “We always want to be future proofing our business because it's a big part of what we help our clients to do.”
To introduce the new name, rather than gifting clients Valentine’s Day goodies, New Moon will send swag emblazoned with its new brand this month.
“New Moon feels really appropriate [given] the way in which our relationship with our clients and our work has changed,” Bedwani said.