Zoo Advisors and The Tenby Group are now Canopy Strategic Partners. Read more →

October 11, 2022

Understanding Rebranding

Bailey Brand Consulting explains that to stay relevant, brands must self-assess constantly because the business landscape is always changing.

Canopy branding session

By: Bailey Brand Consulting

The Strategy, Passion & Process Behind Developing a New Brand Name

Let’s discuss the elephant (and octopus and oak tree!) in the room: Zoo Advisors is now Canopy Strategic Partners! A new name is a big deal, but it would be reductive to view this update only at the treetop level. The journey that Canopy’s senior leadership undertook in partnership with our team at Bailey Brand Consulting spanned many months and was deeply rooted in a desire to define and deliver on the organization’s core purpose: to passionately support mission-based organizations and the people who lead them.

Among the many reasons this partnership was so successful is a shared understanding of the importance of organizational introspection. To stay relevant, brands must self-assess constantly because the business landscape is always changing—sometimes in big, dramatic ways but often in subtle, less obvious ways. This volatility has only increased in recent years as consumers grapple with an ongoing global pandemic and market forces such as inflation that meaningfully drive attitudes, behaviors and purchasing decisions.

In order to maintain relevancy amid all this uncertainty and flux, your brand must keep its finger firmly on the pulse of change and work proactively to address the needs of your audience. This could be as simple as establishing or expanding your social media presence or extending a timely promotional offering—or as complex as reevaluating your brand at its most foundational level. The latter approach means asking big, potentially scary questions such as: Why do you exist? What is the difference you’re trying to make in the world? What are your values and guiding principles?

These questions are not rhetorical. The answers must first be articulated, agreed upon and understood by all internal stakeholders (leadership and employees alike), then expressed externally across every aspect of your brand (how and where you engage with your audience—up to and including your brand name). Helping organizations navigate these questions is the heart and soul of what the teams at both Bailey and Canopy do every day as strategic partners and consultants. And it is the necessary first step in understanding not only your own corporate identity, but your customers as well—what they need, what they value and how best to deliver against those needs in an authentic and engaging way.

Determining how and whether your brand name is aligned with the vision and values of the broader organization is just one such question—and making a change presents both challenges and opportunities. The largest and most obvious challenge is rolling out the new name (and explaining the reasoning behind it) to current and prospective partners. Brands must overcommunicate during the delicate transition period to help their audience understand the meaning behind the new name and, more specifically, how it helps clarify the purpose of the brand and better reflect its values.

With Canopy, the case for change was clear. In addition to zoos, the organization also serves aquariums, botanical gardens, conservation organizations and other public green spaces, so the “Zoo Advisors” name was simply too narrow to encompass the full range of work it does for mission-based organizations across the country.

The process of selecting a new name was complex and multifaceted. Over a period of months, the Bailey team worked closely with Canopy’s senior leadership to fully immerse ourselves in the brand. We led in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in order to form a clearer understanding of the organization from the inside out; then we moved on to external interviews and conducted a comprehensive competitive audit to gain an objective perspective on the organization and the category. Our team leveraged the insights we uncovered to develop formal brand positioning materials, including ownable attributes, key messaging and actionable pillars of success.

Armed with a comprehensive understanding of the core characteristics of the brand, we then embarked on a naming initiative, vetting hundreds of possibilities in close collaboration with the leadership team. After weeks of collaborative ideation and exploration, “Canopy” emerged as the clear favorite.

The definition of the word conveys so much of what we had come to learn about Canopy’s work, their corporate philosophy and the people who make it possible. In short, a canopy is a diverse, organic network of branches, leaves and foliage that envelopes, encompasses and supports the growth and development of other ecospheres. Thus, the name, “Canopy,” speaks to the organization’s commitment to elevating the leaders of today and tomorrow by providing them with the tools, insights and information they need to further their mission and grow their business to new heights. “Canopy” also vividly illustrates a passion for helping organizations foster powerful connections within their own communities.

Following completion of the naming initiative, the final step for our team was to bring the refreshed positioning, vision and messaging to life through a vibrant new visual identity that has been implemented at both the brand level and across every page of the fabulous new Canopy website. The new logo reinforces the meaning behind the name and visualizes a range of natural elements—a pair of leaves, the tail of a fish, an arching treetop—as a nod to organic growth. All three elements are combined into a single circle to suggest the power of harmony and community in which everyone can thrive.

On behalf of all of us at Bailey, we couldn’t be prouder of our friends at Canopy, and we can’t wait to see the next chapter of their story unfold!

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