Written by Kelly Guo I 2 min read


Mission control, we have an upcoming innovation sprint, request event branding support! On August 10-11, over 400 BMO DigiTech/Ops colleagues will embark on a two-day innovation sprint competition to innovate, create, and ideate on real business opportunities. At Onova, we had the pleasure of driving event branding operations alongside the BMO team. Read on to learn more about the step-by-step process and key takeaways from our journey. Mission: Branding BMO Destination Digital, ready for launch!

The Branding Process

Step 1: It’s All in the Name

The design process for BMO’s innovation sprint event was kicked off by deciding on the event's brand identity, including the name, tagline, and general design direction. Members of the event’s steering committee were tasked with brainstorming name ideas, which were then voted on to bring us to the winning option of “Destination Digital”.

Three initial logo design options were presented:

Following a feedback session, the design direction was determined to follow the rocket theme. Tagline options were then voted on and finalized, with the winning tagline “Powered by Ambition” to be included in the final logo.

The final logo design:

3 logo design options for BMO Destination Digital. Logo features a simplified rocket overlayed on a digital based location pin. It communicates digital destination and our "Powered by Ambition" Tagline.

Step 2: Who, Where, and What?

Next, we returned to the MURAL board to brainstorm the important questions of who, where, and what. It is key to define a clear marketing goal by addressing these questions, as this step establishes the tone of the marketing campaign and heavily guides the creative direction.

A snapshot of the “Who, Where, and What” brainstorming board:

MURAL board of BMO Marketing Brainstorm, a creative exercise to get some ideas for our marketing strategy. We brainstormed on the topics of who, key messages/feelings, and location/channels.

Step 3: Concept Planning

The next challenge was to determine the storyline concept for marketing materials. We explored 3 major ideas during this process: Space, Harry Otter (Otter spinoff of Harry Potter), and Innovation Cup.

A snippet of the storyline brainstorming board:

Three-way venn diagram visualizing concept combinations for the email storyline brainstorming. Concepts included Harry Otter, space, and Innovation Ciup.

Ultimately, it was decided that 3 discrete themes would be too overwhelming, so we looked to fuse 2 of the proposed ideas to form the storyline. The winning combination was Harry Otter and the Space theme, and thus, Space Ottersey was created: An epic space expedition by a team of ambitious otters!

Step 4: Tell the Story

Marketing deliverables from the Onova team included an animated launch video, website copy for the event registration site, and email marketing storylines. The first step of the creation process called for more brainstorming and storyboarding. Video storyboard:

Launch video story board. We collected our inspiration images, and mapped out a storyboard containing frame sketches and descriptions.

Email storyline outline:

Character brainstorming for the email storyline. Our main characters are: Hui the otter, Felix the fox, and Ellie the elephant.

A thorough planning and idea validation stage is essential in ensuring that deliverables are aligned with the brand vision. This saves lots of time and edits later down the line in the creation process. At Onova, we are are highly feedback-driven and value working through an iterative process. Frequent feedback points throughout allowed us to pivot quickly, ensuring that marketing objectives were being effectively addressed.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few things that we learned throughout the branding process for BMO Destination Digital:

  1. There are many opportunities for creativity despite strict branding guidelines. BMO’s branding guidelines placed several restrictions on the design of Destination Digital marketing assets, but despite that, we found ways to innovate through an out-of-this-world 🧑‍🚀 design direction and a playful storyline.
  2. Group brainstorming and feedback is incredibly valuable when it comes to curating a cohesive and effective brand image. It’s essential that the opinions and ideas of key stakeholders and the design team are taken into account when making important branding decisions. Group discussion is instrumental in helping refine and develop ideas— our unique Space Ottersey storyline is a successful product of this constructive, iterative process.
  3. Consolidate creative energy. At one point, our team was working with 3 distinct marketing storylines, all of which were viable ideas. However, it is key to remember that the end result is one cohesive brand, so time would be better spent deciding on and refining a winning idea rather than exploring all possible creative directions.
  4. Creativity is rewarded! Our team didn’t hold back in including touches of personality throughout our work such as proposing inventive storylines and writing fun copy (we love emojis 🙌🚀). This helped develop an engaging tone that cumulated into a truly unique marketing campaign.

And with that, Mission: Branding BMO Destination Digital was a huge success!

We can’t wait to see this event come to life on August 10-11, where BMO DigiTech/Ops colleagues will embark on an innovation sprint competition to innovate, create, and ideate on real business opportunities. Innovation… to 2025 and beyond!

Interested in seeing how we can support you and your business in your innovation initiatives? Book an introductory call with Victor Li, Founder & CEO of Onova.
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