WithumSmithBrown starts the new year with a fresh look

Jessica Perry//January 12, 2016

WithumSmithBrown starts the new year with a fresh look

Jessica Perry//January 12, 2016

Accounting firm WithumSmith Brown has taken the expression “New Year, New You” to heart.The company unveiled a new logo Monday as part of a rebranding strategy. The rebranding of the company, which works to produce a forward-thinking culture for its young workers, is meant to show a look forward, according to CEO William Hagaman.

“It’s been about 15 years since we refreshed our logo and, in looking at it, we thought it was time to take a fresh look at it,” he said.

Hagaman said it’s an opportunity to reintroduce clients to the culture of the firm.

“We just thought the new logo reflects who we are currently, as a firm that’s easy to work with and the name that our people and business community knows us as, which is ‘Withum,’ ” he said. “But we held on to the plus sign because we thought we had brand equity in it.”

Part of the rebranding involves shortening the name of the brand, unofficially, to simply “Withum.” The official corporate name, however, remains WithumSmith Brown.

According to Hagaman, the shortening of the name is a recognition of a natural evolution.

“As the firm has evolved, people think of us as ‘Withum’ and we wanted to be able to reflect that,” he said.

Rhonda Maraziti, Withum’s chief marketing officer, said the new logo is also in line with current trends among companies.

The new logo was designed by Rizco Design in Manasquan.

The wonders of rebranding

Talking to WithumSmith Brown’s CEO, William Hagaman, it’s easy to get the impression its recent rebranding is a simple logo change.

But a good rebranding strategy, if done effectively, can create enough buzz to change the entire identity of a brand.

Just look at Pabst Blue Ribbon.

If you’ve been anywhere near a college in the United States, the economical beer carries certain bottom-shelf connotations, but when the beer popped up in China in 2010, it had been repackaged by a company licensing the Pabst name and sells for $44 for a 720 mL bottle.

Of course, for every “Blue Ribbon 1844,” there’s a New Coke.

“It seems to be a trend in logos, name shortening to just one name,” she said. “That’s with law firms, as well, and so we thought it was a natural transition and the current logo we’re using now looks a little dated.

“We just wanted to be innovative, fresh and modern.”

Like any good 21st century rollout, the rebranding was announced via a YouTube video that premiered at the company’s 2016 “State-of-the-Firm” event Monday night.

Maraziti said some workers arrived at the office early Tuesday morning to leave rebranded knickknacks around the office for employees.

“The next day, on their desks, they’re getting all new branded backpacks, business cards, stationery and name badges,” she said. “It’ll be almost like Christmas Day the next morning when they’ll get the newly branded Withum stuff.”

How does an accounting firm account for the cost of a new masthead on stationery and rebranded business cards for its 550 employees?

It turns out the reason to take on the cost is in line with the very reasons to rebrand in the first place.

“It’s certainly an investment in the future,” Hagaman said. “It’s a marketing cost and it certainly creates buzz about the firm, which is why we’re doing it in a big way.

“Hopefully a potential client or two looks at it and shows some interest.”

In the lead up to the rollout, the company was even having fun posting a six-second teaser video to its web page that announced “something big” on the horizon, giving the Jan. 11 date.

Maraziti said it created a buzz around the office.

“We’re excited,” she said. “We’re getting everything delivered to the offices and all the marketing coordinators and officers are holding everything until Jan. 12.”

In the end, that excitement is enough for Hagaman.

“It’s hard to get excited about a logo, but I’m excited about the opportunities and I’m excited about getting everyone else excited,” he said.