What’s in a Brand? Alina Cincan from Inbox Translation

Today is a bit special for the What’s in a Brand? day. Indeed, having interviewed many freelancers, I thought it would be nice to go see what’s happening on the other side of the pond and chat with an agency owner. The first agency taking part in this series is Inbox Translation, run by the lovely Alina Cincan and Flo Bejgu… A former teacher, translator and interpreter with over 9 years’ experience, Alina is a total language geek and avid reader. When she is not writing on her own blog, she is writing on other people’s. She has a soft spot for sushi, books, shoes and make-up. You can get in touch with her on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

Hello, Alina! Thanks for being a part of this series. I’m very excited to have you here as you’re actually the first agency to take part! This interview should thus be a bit different from what our readers are normally used to. All the people I have interviewed so far agree on one thing: branding is important to differentiate yourself as a freelancer. Do you think branding also has a point for an agency? If yes, how so?

Hi, Emeline! Many thanks for the invitation. I’ve read all the interviews in the series and I find it a fascinating topic. I’m really excited to be the first agency owner to take part, but our story may not be that different from those of the freelancers you’ve interviewed so far.

Branding is paramount for anyone trying to play their part in this market or any other field. Freelancer or agency, it makes little difference. Branding is not optional in any case, it just needs to be approached accordingly, depending on what you’re marketing.

Your branding is actually a rebranding. You still managed to stay true to your essence, which is quite fantastic given the huge change! How did you decide it was time for a rebranding?

Inbox Translation's previous logo. Can you spot the difference?

Inbox Translation’s previous logo. Can you spot the difference?

It was a big change indeed. Since we are a small agency and not (yet) well-known or on the market for a very long time, we decided we can be bold and do a major change. If you have been in the market for more than 10 years, this might not be the best way forward as current clients might be confused by a radical change.

One of the most important elements that were representative for our name was the envelope – people liked it and said we should keep it, so we did. In a different font and with different colours though.

Our old image was dated, let’s face it. It just didn’t have that ‘Je ne sais quoi’, at least for me. And when we decided to build a new website, we thought it was high time we went beyond that and updated the image as well. In the future, I think that we will try to update the branding at least once a year so the changes are less obvious and to keep it fresh.

I find your new branding quite bold. It’s definitely not easy to pull off such a font, yet it works! Can you give us the reasons why you went for this different look? Was it to differentiate from very corporate-like agency websites? Do you feel it represents you, your team and the way you work better?

The font was the designer’s choice, and she opted for Dosis to go with the new logo. Of course, this decision came following a brief we completed. We also went for a flat/minimalistic design to reflect the idea of simplicity and the way we work.

We chose a design that works perfectly on any medium, that is another reason why we decided to keep it clean and friendly, with clear focus on what we do and how we do it.

The font is certainly different from what others use and we believe it does indeed help us stand out and not look like corporate-type agencies, which we aren’t. I am not sure if the font itself represents us, I think it’s the whole package and approach that does.

What motivated you to go from green to blue in terms of color?

Well, neither of my two favourite colours would have worked – black for obvious reasons and purple because it wasn’t just me behind the agency and purple would not have represented Flo at all. So we initially went for green (my third favourite colour). When we did the rebranding, we decided to give Flo’s favourite colour a chance (we had to choose between various logos, colours and the blue ones just popped).

I think people are happy to see that your envelope is still part of your logo. I noticed it changed a little bit, as it is now pictured open and the little arrows have been taken out – could you explain the process behind it? Is the message you want to convey to your clients still the same?

Yes, like I said before, the envelope was one of the elements people wanted us to keep. The arrows are still there (cleverly disguised as part of the envelope; if you look closely, you’ll notice that the sides are a darker blue and they look like arrows). We wanted to refresh our brand, while staying true to the symbols it incorporated and the values it stood for.

Oh, right, now I see them! That’s pretty clever. And now for the traditional questions! We all know that branding is more than a name and a logo. If you had to choose three words to represent your brand, which ones would they be?

Straightforward, friendly, professional.

Finally, how do you manage to convey these aspects to your customers?

Straightforward– Everything, from what we offer to how we work, is clearly explained as we want to make the whole process seamless for our clients. All prices are available on the website, clients can get a quotation instantly, no hassle.

Friendly – This is a word that came up quite a lot in the feedback we received from clients, so it’s clear it’s one of the aspects clients perceive and appreciate. And we believe that being friendly helps create that invaluable bond with both clients and freelancers.

Professional – I think our clients’ testimonials speak for themselves.

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