Featured CLIMBER: Devin Prater
In December 2021, A-LIGN revealed a new brand and website design, which was a massive project led by our Senior Director of Brand and Creative, Devin Prater. Devin and his team spent countless hours researching and working to bring this project to life. Judging by the positive reaction we’ve seen, it’s safe to say that hard work has paid off! This is why we chose Devin Prater as this month’s Featured CLIMBER; to discuss the challenges he faced, how these changes benefit our clients and partners, and what excites him most about our new brand and website.
Where are you from, and how did you begin your career at A-LIGN?
I grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where I also attended the University of Florida and earned a degree in Business Administration. I have lived in the Tampa Bay Area for almost 20 years now. The early part of my career consisted of various marketing roles for B2B companies. Eventually, I made the decision to shift my career and become a creative designer. Prior to joining A-LIGN, I worked on the brand and creative team of a large online retailer for nearly ten years. Then, this great opportunity opened at A‑LIGN and I’ve been here since!
Tell me about your role as Senior Director of Brand & Creative.
I lead the brand and creative functions for A-LIGN. As it pertains to the brand, I am responsible for our brand strategy and ensuring that our brand continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of where we’re headed as an overall organization. I also lead a small team that provides creative services for all the business functions within A-LIGN. Specifically, we have a very active marketing team, so we’re juggling many different types of projects at any given time.
You just led A-LIGN through an entire rebrand and website launch and the response so far has been very positive. What are you most proud of on this project?
I’m excited about the overall impact of our new visual identity. Our previous brand’s visual identity had started to grow stale and feel a bit outdated. So, this feels like a huge leap forward to having a true expression of who we are now as a company and where we want to go in the future.
What steps did you take to ensure that our visual identity was an expression of who we are?
We were very methodical about this project, starting back in December of 2020. First, we focused on how we view ourselves and our messaging. We took a look at our brand values and thought about what they really mean and how we want to express them. We thought about things like “Are we saying the right things that we believe we are as a company? Are we expressing that properly to our clients and to the market in general?” We did research, conducted surveys, and took input from our employees. From there, we took what we gathered and partnered with a great branding agency to help us look at our visual identity, and the brand that you see now is a result of our partnership with that agency.
Can you provide a sense of what went into making this project successful?
We took our time and made sure we were thorough in everything we did. It was great having some timeline flexibility — it allowed us space to digest the project as a whole and then adjust where necessary to make sure everything feels right. We involved as many people as possible to gain different perspectives and feedback, and the fact that we had the time to ensure we got all the inputs right definitely played a role in our success.
What kind of challenges did you face during the rebrand project?
One of our biggest challenges was balancing our day-to-day responsibilities with a project this big. It was a really heavy lift, but it was a team effort that every single person on the marketing team had some role in. For most people on in-house creative teams, you will complete a rebrand or a new website project maybe two or three times over the course of your entire career. So for us, there was a lot of learning by doing and the sheer amount of work it took was a challenge.
How do these changes benefit our clients and partners?
While this is a rebrand, we’re not fundamentally changing who we are, rather we’re just communicating it better now. We’re clarifying what our message is, who we are as a company, and where we want to go. We’re able to express ourselves in a clearer way now and talk about our value propositions and what it means to work with us, which helps us build trust with our customers.
What advice would you give someone that is managing a big project such as this?
Take your time and don’t skip any steps, even if they seem tedious. There are some things you feel like you know and can just speed through, but it pays off to work through every single detail. Take the time to get all the proper input, all the feedback, and all the information you need in general because they sort of feed into one another and act as building blocks to eventually what became our brand identity.
What excites you most about our new brand and website?
As a creative team, it’s fun to have a new set of tools to use so we’re really excited about that! I love the new look and it’s been really encouraging to hear all the positive feedback we’ve received on this project. But to me, this is just a starting point. I am excited to use this as our foundation and then see where we can take things as our brand evolves and we look at what we’re going to be doing in the future. Overall, it’s just exciting to have something new to work with and feel like it’s a true expression of who we are as a company.