Symbols are power. They can start world wars, save lives, and call super heroes out of hiding. They can also hurt businesses. Hill, Chesson & Woody learned that the hard way.
Ampersands aren’t just for law firms anymore.
Hill, Chesson & Woody is a benefits consulting firm. But if you asked anybody outside of the Triangle prior to 2016, they would have told you HCW was a law firm. Cue the identity crisis. Hill, Chesson & Woody had no name recognition and the “&” in their name was the major reason why. So they came to us for help.
It was a sensitive situation. From HCW’s standpoint, the “&” was there to stay. From our position, we couldn’t take away its power. After all, if you throw up the bat symbol, Batman is going to show up. So we asked ourselves the question: What if we didn’t strip the “& “of its power? What if we reassigned its power? We decided ampersands weren’t just going to be for law firms anymore.
Take back the &
Our creative team threw that idea on a whiteboard with a resolve to “take back the &.” We wanted it to be more than a campaign. We wanted it to be a rallying cry. A sense of identity. It was an interesting concept, but our creative director wasn’t sold. One of HCW’s other pain points was the perception that benefits and compensation are boring, so we needed a more interesting idea. It wasn’t enough to just take back the symbol. We had to do something once we took it back. We had to make people believe in something.
We believe in &
It was from the belief that we needed to make people believe in something that the “We believe in &” campaign was born. It was malady turned remedy. It was Roadrunner luring Wile E. Coyote into his own trap.
“We believe in &” became a brand identity that we rolled out in print ads in major business and trade magazines. It was a concept that represented the direction HCW was trying to steer their company. “&” gave excitement to an industry that most people find boring. “&” became a union of stability & freedom that people didn’t know could exist in a benefits company. “&” became a versatile symbol that could reach whoever HCW needed to reach, from auto dealers to businessmen, and mean whatever they needed it to mean. “&” no longer was the reason for the identity crisis. It was the reason for their identity.