Brand Makeovers: Scott Seymour of 9Rooftops On The 5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize Your Brand and Image

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

To truly set your brand apart, it’s important to challenge yourself and envision what your brand could become. This means striving for greatness and setting your sights high, rather than settling for mediocrity. By creating a clear vision for your brand’s future, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and establish a powerful brand identity that resonates with your target audience.

As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” we had the pleasure to interview Scott Seymour.

Scott Seymour is EVP & Chief Creative Officer at 9Rooftops — a global marketing agency fueling ambitious brands. He leads and inspires a talented team including an in-house content studio to create award-winning creative work.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I am originally from Upstate New York, where I began my career in design before venturing into the world of advertising. Fueled by my passion for creativity and driven by my entrepreneurial nature, I eagerly
seized an opportunity to relocate to Hilton Head Island, where I was able to establish a ground-up agency that thrived on creative possibilities.

In the early stages, I forged a partnership with the nearby Savannah College of Art & Design, assembling a team that would grow alongside our ambitions. As our agency expanded, we set our sights on establishing new offices and attracting talent from all corners of the globe. Our primary objective became finding exceptional creatives who love what they do, while creating the ideal environment that would enable them to produce their finest work.

Fast forward to the present day, and we stand tall with a formidable team of over 200 members. Our recent milestone includes the establishment of a brand-new office in the United Kingdom, marking our continued growth and global reach.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’m certain I’ve made numerous mistakes throughout my journey, but here is an amusing one that comes to mind. Early on in my career, I was working on a tequila experience branding project where we were looking to connect with snowboard culture. We came up with the idea to create the first ever quarter-pipe competition and music festival in the U.S. that would result in snowboarders reaching new record-breaking vertical heights. We wanted a bold tagline that resonated with our audience, so we came up with “It’s all about getting high.” Shockingly, our client loved our implied double meaning and went on to design all the materials for the event.

However, a few weeks before the launch, the global brand team had second thoughts about the tagline, especially because the event was going to be televised. So, they asked us to swap it out for something safer. Disappointing, but understandable. We updated the language and sent out new design files.

Cut to the day of the event, and I’m checking out all the branding up and down the mountain when I see a group of snowboarders huddled in front of one of the huge banners with our original infamous tagline on it. I had a huge pit in my stomach. Somehow the bolder line made it on the final signage. We were going to be toast for sure. There were TV crews everywhere, and the global brand team was due to arrive any minute.

Thankfully, our client’s flight was delayed, and we had just enough time to swap out the banner before their arrival and the live broadcast. Crisis averted. The lesson learned — always triple-check everything and arrive early, just in case. Oh, and maybe don’t use taglines that could be misinterpreted by an audience that likes to “get high” in more ways than one.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

On a typical Wednesday, I found myself in the waiting area of Coca-Cola’s global headquarters for the first time for a creative presentation. I arrived very early, so I was reviewing briefing materials for the latest Harry Potter movie launch I was working on and then adding some finishing touches to an integrated campaign for Captain Morgan. As I juggled the demands of the day, I had the realization that somehow all the smaller project work had finally transformed into larger brand campaigns.

The creative challenge and possibilities were what I loved most, and I was right in the middle of it. I realized that trusted client relationships and word-of-mouth referrals fueled my progression, as clients looked for partners who could deliver consistent creative work that stood out. This focus on outstanding creativity, passion for their brands, and exceeding expectations was paying off.

During our daily hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget to celebrate our wins, no matter how small. However, we need to take a moment to recognize and appreciate these victories as they happen.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am currently thrilled about a few projects. One of them is our Virtual 360° Reality Experience Series for South Carolina State Parks. While not all visitors have the time or ability to hike long distances, climb to the top of a lighthouse, or kayak the waterways, they will be able to immerse themselves in these experiences through virtual reality. We are currently capturing some amazing content to be used in simulating real-world experiences with sight, sound, and movement. Users will be able to enjoy breathtaking views from the Table Rock Mountain summit, kayak Landsford Canal amidst blooming Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies, and take in the scenic views from the historic Hunting Island Lighthouse. These activities that were once deemed impossible for some will be accessible to all.

Another dream project was designing a series of limited-edition Adidas tennis shoes to celebrate the legendary Stan Smith. These shoes were auctioned and raised a record-breaking $750,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of America. It even inspired us to launch the Shine Bright program, we are currently in the middle of, that mentors and inspires future designers from within the Boys & Girls Club.

We are also just finishing up a ground-up redesign of our brand-new office space in Chicago. It now fully embodies our creativity and passion with a vibrant energizing blue exposed ceiling that spans the entire area, complemented by floor-to-ceiling bold and colorful murals crafted by local artists. The result is an inspiring place designed to foster collaboration to ignite limitless creativity.

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

To avoid burnout and thrive, it’s great to surround yourself with free thinkers to collaborate with and be open to trying new things. Inspiration can come at any time, so stay receptive. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is also important for growth. Lastly, don’t forget to take some time to yourself to relax and recharge. Down time can really help you stay creative, productive, and mentally healthy.

Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

So, branding is basically all about showing people who you are and creating loyal fans. Marketing, on the other hand, is about getting your message out to make sales happen. When you nail the combo of branding and marketing, you can keep people engaged and loyal for the long haul. It’s all about making a great impression to stand out from your competition.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

You can’t just rely on regular marketing and ads. Your brand is the heart and soul of your business and can create deeper emotional connections with your customers and build trust. When your brand is perceived positively, you can charge higher prices, get better recognition, and the advertising performs better. Plus, building a brand takes a lot of precious time and energy, so you want to make sure it’s shown off in the best possible light to be seen and heard in the right way.

Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?

First off, it can make you more relatable, stand out, and differentiate you from competitors in your category. It also helps you refocus and bring clarity to what matters most, especially in today’s chaotic and noisy world. Great branding can showcase the very best version of yourself, giving you the edge, you need to succeed.

Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?

When it comes to rebranding, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind: Firstly, if you already have a loyal fan base, you don’t want to risk alienating them with new branding. So, make sure you’re taking their preferences and opinions into account. Secondly, a rebranding shouldn’t be used as a band-aid to distract from underlying product issues that need to be addressed first. It’s important to tackle any problems with your products or services head-on, and then focus on creating a rebranding that reflects your improved offerings.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.

1. Challenge Yourself to Aim Higher

To truly set your brand apart, it’s important to challenge yourself and envision what your brand could become. This means striving for greatness and setting your sights high, rather than settling for mediocrity. By creating a clear vision for your brand’s future, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and establish a powerful brand identity that resonates with your target audience.

When it comes to rebranding, it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to explore all possibilities. This means being open to the idea that everything is on the table and that anything can change. To fuel your inspiration and creativity, surround yourself with examples of other brands that have done this well — even if they are from different categories. By broadening your perspective and seeking out inspiration from diverse sources, you can gain valuable insights and ideas that can help you create a truly unique and impactful brand.

To do it right, you need to dig deep and really do your homework. This means researching and assessing the entire landscape of your category and competition. Only then can you truly understand what it takes to stand out and create a brand that rises above the rest.

Oatly is a remarkable example of a category-defying branding and visual design system that is bold and cohesive, setting them apart from others in their industry.

2. Discover Your Unique Brand Personality

To create a powerful brand that resonates with your audience, you need to find your unique brand personality. This means understanding the role your brand plays and how it makes your audience feel.

When it comes to discovering your brand’s unique personality and creating a strong emotional connection with your audience, there are a few exercises that can be helpful. One effective approach is to imagine your brand as a person, a car, or a restaurant, and then articulate its personality traits and characteristics. By doing this, you can gain a deeper understanding of what your brand represents and how it should be communicated to your target audience. Ultimately, this exercise can help you create a brand that is relatable, authentic, and uniquely your own.

Liquid Death in the sparkling water category provides a striking example of utilizing a distinct brand personality that has truly connected with its audience. By adopting a bold approach and not taking things too seriously, is reflected in their branding and tagline “Murder Your Thirst.”

3. Tell Your Inspiring Story
In today’s crowded marketplace, simply pushing your products or services isn’t enough to capture your audience’s attention. Instead, it’s important to focus on telling your brand story in a way that is engaging and relatable. By sharing the story behind your brand, you can create a personal connection with your customers and differentiate yourself from your competitors. A compelling brand story can help you build trust, establish credibility, and increase brand loyalty over time.

When you focus less on selling and more on storytelling, you’re able to capture your audience’s attention and create a lasting impression in their minds. Ultimately, by crafting a powerful brand narrative that resonates with your audience, you can make your brand more memorable, and more successful in the long run.

Patagonia is an excellent example of a brand that utilizes compelling storytelling to show what they stand for and are committed to. They do this through their history and extend it through platform of editorial storytelling called “PatagoniaStories -to get you out there” and keep their audience inspired and engaged.

4. Express Your Brand Creatively

Get creative with expressing your brand. Visual design is a key component of your brand identity, but it’s not just about the logo. Think beyond the logo and consider how all aspects of your brand work together to create a cohesive brand identity system. This includes typography, color palettes, imagery, visual elements, iconography, photographic style that can help bring your brand to life. When it comes to creative expression, remember that it takes courage to be bold and stand out from the competition. So don’t be afraid to take risks and push the boundaries of what’s been done before. With a strong and creative brand identity system, you can make a lasting impression on your audience and build a successful brand over time.

The latest rebranding for Dunkin’ is an outstanding example of creative expression in a with its new custom typeface, expanded icons, bold orange and pink color blocking, DNKN’ abbreviated and stacked logomarks for packaging, proprietary patterns for employee uniforms, and motion graphics executions for social.

5. Design Details Matter

Don’t overlook the importance of design details when upgrading your brand. Every little detail matters, and now is the perfect opportunity to customize your brand articulation and make it truly unique. By paying attention to design details, you can communicate quality, trust, and passion to your audience. Re-branding is your time to upgrade everything, from your logo to your website to all your marketing materials. When done well, a cohesive and thoughtful design can help differentiate your brand from competitors and establish a strong connection with your audience. So, embrace the chance to upgrade and make your brand stand out with attention to every design detail.

The recent rebranding of Levi’s is a remarkable example where everything was purposely considered and refined to express their iconic pioneering spirit.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

One recent example that stands out is the rebranding of Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, a brand that has been in existence since the 1950s and had become a household staple with little emotional connection. However, the brand has now adopted a fun and playful identity with a fresh visual identity system and new packaging that features a bright and colorful puffy-style world. To inject more life into the brand and embody its new upbeat whimsical attitude, a set of Jet-Puffed characters were introduced. The brand’s voice was also revamped with a new positioning line “fluffy side of life” and infectious lines like “little buddies you want to hug with your teeth.” This is a prime example of remaining true to one’s roots while introducing fresh and innovative ideas. By leveraging the brand personality in a unique way, Jet-Puffed has created a differentiating brand identity that can continue to evolve in inspiring ways.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The power of creativity is truly amazing. Just imagine if we could harness the collective creativity of everyone to make a real difference in the world, especially for those who need it most. By coming together with empathy and a focus on emotional well-being, we could create something truly special for the greater good. Recently, a dear friend and colleague passed away who was a true inspiration in this regard. He expressed his love and kindness through his creativity every day, and we can all learn from his example. Let’s use the power of creativity to uplift others and make a positive impact on the world.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I find myself constantly looking to “find the goodness”. It’s a lesson that speaks to the importance of looking for the positive aspects of both people and creative work. When we focus on the goodness in others, we are more likely to bring out the best in them and their creative work while creating a positive environment for growth and collaboration. When we approach creative work with a focus on finding the gems and bringing out the best in it, we can create something truly exceptional. By being on the lookout for the goodness in everything, we can cultivate a sense of gratitude and appreciation that can lead to greater creativity and a more fulfilling life.

How can our readers follow you online?


Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.

Brand Makeovers: Scott Seymour of 9Rooftops On The 5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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