February 26, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When Greg Daake returned from a conference in Minneapolis where he heard a panel present their experience with a 24-hour total rebrand, he knew he wanted to try it. Daake, founder and creative director of the Omaha rebranding company of the same name, wondered how would his 10-person team respond? A complete rebrand usually takes anywhere from three to eight months. Was it even possible? Would anyone else want to attempt it? Was he crazy?

“Everyone was all in,” Daake says, grinning.

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Once the seed was planted, things started falling into place. This was going to be a total volunteer effort, so Daake wanted to choose a nonprofit that was in need of a rebrand, but maybe couldn’t afford the price tag. Through a series of fortuitous circumstances, Omaha’s Montessori Co-op School fell in their lap.

Once the school was on board, they had to do a little homework of their own ahead of time so the creative team could hone in on Montessori’s vision and understand their mission. “We had submitted some questions to orient us to who they are and what they were,” Daake explains. “We also had them fill out a 2-3 hour questionnaire that kicks out a profile. So when we began the real work, we knew who they were and the lens they see the world through,” Daake says.

After that initial fact-finding, they were on the clock. On rebrand day, representatives from the school were brought in at 8 a.m. and Daake’s team presented their findings. After that first face-to-face, the team worked all morning on creating a tagline and identity. After another short meeting at noon, Daake’s team brainstormed all afternoon and brought the school’s representatives back at 5 p.m.

“At our 5 o’clock presentation, we said, ‘Here’s what we’re thinking for a tagline, and identity, the brochure and the webpage.’ So at 6 p.m. that night, we were off and running.” They closed their doors. They locked themselves in. They worked all night long and didn’t sleep. “It was intense,” Daake says.

After a full day of conceptualizing, the night was spent on the execution. Another piece of homework that sped the process along was shooting photography and film at the school for a video. Daake’s team built the entire website overnight. “Our web designer was buried in empty Red Bull cans,” Daake laughs. “We were all exhausted.”

At 8 a.m. the next morning, representatives from Montessori Co-op returned for the unveiling. “They were crying. We were crying. It was so fulfilling and amazing,” Daake says, emotion welling in his voice. “We were fueled by the clock, but also by their appreciation. They were so moved by it. I get misty thinking about how fun and cool it was just to see their reaction. Wow,” Daake says, shaking his head.

Daake says that beyond what they did for their clients, it was great for his team.

“To see everyone pitching in, everyone sacrificing. There is something about 4 a.m. when you’re riding the caffeine wave, when inhibitions are gone and you really get to know someone. It really grew the team.”

When asked if he would do it again, he answers with an emphatic, “Yes! It was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.”

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