The BrainStorm Group formally introduced its new name, Bob’s Your Uncle, along with new exterior signage and a revamped website, on Thursday. For Bob Froese, who arrived at the agency in 1996 and succeeded Ron Telpner as CEO in 2011, it was the culmination of an intense year-and-a-half process that was both exhaustive and exhausting.
The process also came with a significant price tag of more than $100,000; staff members’ time was the biggest commitment though the company also worked with outside consultants. For Froese, the entire excercise went a long way towards answering the age-old question “What’s in a name?”
The previous name had served the agency well when The BrainStorm Group served primarily as what Froese described as a “strategic think-tank” for clients. However, it had evolved into a more traditional full-service agency, producing work for clients including Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
Froese felt frustrated at the fact that, despite some well-regarded work in both Canada and the U.S., the name was simply not resonating in the advertising community. He attributed the lack of pizzazz to a name and a concept – brainstorming – that has become somewhat cliché in business.
So when it came to renaming the agency, Froese figured he could pursue one of the two most common options: 1) Name the agency after its founder or principals, or 2) seek out a deliberately esoteric name that conveys a certain amount of hipness and an unconventional approach to business.
In the end, Bob’s Your Uncle is a hybrid of the two.
“We were definitely going for interesting and memorable,” said Froese. “But we also wanted it to somehow communicate our purpose, and reflect that moment when you land on something and everybody’s eyes light up and they say ‘That’s what we need to do.’”
It didn’t come easily, however. Froese said Bob’s Your Uncle was first suggested about a year ago, but he shelved the idea because it seemed too connected to him. The name resonated so strongly during testing, however, that it became a clear choice.
“When we started to unveil it to our clients, they started to have so much fun with it,” said Froese. “It’s a name that communicates a sense of joy that’s getting lost in the marketing world these days because life and the industry is becoming so complex and data-driven.” Froese also admits to taking pleasure in how the name suggests finality, a signal that “we’ve got there.”
Still, he admits that he wavered at the last minute when a client expressed doubts.
“Changing your name is a big deal,” he said. “It gave me enormous appreciation for what our clients experience when going through something like that. I can see why you would stop just short of the goal line.
“Carrying on [the way they were] is the easiest thing to do,” he added. “There’s nothing wrong with the name, but I think sometimes you need to make change in order to have things change.”