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Life is an adventure we take with our friends

The Brunch brand concept started, appropriately enough, over brunch with founder and CEO Josh Levie. Every brand strategist has a different methodology, and mine revolves around people – the leaders, creators, administrators, workers, clients and customers who will encounter and engage with the company day in and day out. And the best way to learn more about people is to talk to them.

Creative Conversation is my term for sitting down with people and getting to the bottom of the “why” that should form the foundation of any design project. It’s a directed, purposeful, and free-form exchange designed to draw out unexpected, actionable, personal insights. When the process is done right, it doesn’t feel like work — and yet a great deal of work gets done in the process.

Josh had built his company, JEL Creative, from the ground up over the last 7 years, to great success. His combination of best-in-class technology solutions and creative design attracted some of the largest clients in his market, and he felt like it was time prepare for the next decade of growth. He wanted a brand that reflected his way of doing business: building lasting and reciprocal relationships over the long term, both with clients and employees.

All of this was very important to the development of his new brand. But at some point during brunch, he said “I see everything I do as an adventure. And it’s one that I want to take with my friends.” That’s when we all knew what had to be at the heart of whatever JEL’s next chapter was. So we started with a simple call to action, a story inspired by the simple idea that the way you move forward in life and business is by building a community and then exploring with them.

We’re all in.

The “in” crowd:
Inclusive.
In-the-know.
In our hearts.

We’re indivisible, a family
of thinkers and dreamers.
We conquer the uninspired,
invest in the unexplored,
and embrace the incredible.

Here, there’s an open invitation
to have a seat at the table.
Because at JEL,
creativity and community
are indistinguishable.

Building on this vision of what community means, we engaged the people of JEL in a week-long creative workshop to both test our new direction and expand our access to different creative points of view. It was during this workshop that we discovered the purpose that drives Josh and his team: to create work inspired by their connections to the world around them.

The best brand processes uncover and define ineffable elements of companies that had previously gone unsaid. As the new direction began to take shape, it became clear that Josh had built a uniquely community-oriented company that valued deep relationships over momentary gains, and that this quality was an essential part of the business’ success.

At this point, it was obvious that “JEL Creative” simply didn’t live up to or express what made the company special, and six months into the process, after developing our brand framework, we embarked on a naming exercise to find what exactly the perfect first word was in the new company’s story. “Brunch”, a casual, group-oriented meal where a diverse gathering of people share stories and reconnect over amazing food and delicious drinks, quickly rose to the top of the list. Combined with Josh’s strong connection and devotion to the gay community, in which Brunch is a key part of socializing, the name’s evocation of adventure, comfort, friendship, and storytelling, all around a common table, effortlessly started the conversation Josh wanted to have with his employees, partners, and clients.

And a new company was born.

The ideals instilled in the Brunch brand framework and conveyed by its name are based on the real business philosophy of the man who founded the company and the community of creatives he’s gathered around him. They’re fiercely loyal to the concepts codified in the work we did together, so much so that they spend their own time exploring and expanding on the strategy, working to develop new business, and reaching out to existing clients with ideas on how they can work more closely together.

Brunch remains one of the most successful brand projects I’ve worked on, simply because it does in spades what all brands need to: it discovered and then elevated the human truth underneath the business, connected it to the passions and beliefs of the people who engage with it, and proudly declared its core points of view: 1) creativity and community are indistinguishable, 2) here, everyone has a seat at the table, and 3) life is an adventure you take with your friends.

John Zajac is a storyteller and design narrator who uses the disciplines of the performing arts to create unique, human-driven brand identities and strategic frameworks for companies like Intel, Adidas, Amazon, Experian, and also companies whose names start with consonants, like Brunch.