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A New Identity for Visual Effects: How Rodeo FX Rebranded


As one of the world’s largest independent visual effects studio enters its 15th year with a new visual identity, LBB goes behind the scenes with marketing and communications director Solène Lavigne Lalonde

A New Identity for Visual Effects: How Rodeo FX Rebranded

We’re living in the era of immersion. And, given their passion and expertise in the fields of visual effects and cinematic storytelling, that’s exactly the way Rodeo FX likes it. 

Having been founded by the digital effects artist Sébastien Moreau in 2006, the company has built up a decade of experience and excellence in the VFX game through some of the biggest productions it’s possible to imagine. With feature projects such as Blade Runner 2049, Wandavision and Game of Thrones, as well as work for brands such as Apple, NBC, and YouTube, the studio has spent the past decade and a half going from strength to strength. 

And yet, throughout all that time, Rodeo always kept the same brand. Today, however, that’s changed. In order to ‘expand their brand without compromising their DNA’, the studio is applying a new visual identity to communicate its evolved place within the market. 

To find out how the rebrand came together, and what the new look aims to communicate, LBB sat down with Rodeo FX’s marketing and communications director Solène Lavigne Lalonde… 

LBB> Why is now the right time for Rodeo VFX to undergo a rebrand? 

Solène> We should start with a little background on the company’s story: the name ‘Rodeo FX’ comes from the chic Beverly Hills strip, Rodeo Drive, in Los Angeles. At the time, our founder Sébastien Moreau had spent many years in San Francisco working for George Lucas’s company, ILM. He decided to come home and open his own boutique studio and offer high-end VFX services, which has become Rodeo FX. Over the years since then, the studio grew - and today it’s very established in the industry, providing visual effects for the most prestigious clients.

We are, however, expanding. And our brand, as it was, was not quite ‘expandable’. The little description “Visual Effects Company” in the logo had become somewhat limiting, while still very much our core DNA. We needed an option that would let us expand without denying that core DNA. The big change in the rebrand and repositioning is to move from Visual Effects Company to Creative Company. The position of the ‘FX’ is also interesting - it’s there, but has a different location on the logo. 

LBB> So in what ways has Rodeo changed as a company since it was founded? 

Solène> Today, Rodeo is positioning itself as a strong creative partner to clients in VFX and in every other service we offer. We are at our best when we are involved in a project early, so we can partner with our clients and bring the best creative solutions to their stories, ideas, and visions. 

We offer Advertising, Experiential, and Animation - in fact, we are currently developing short animated films with writers and directors on our team. In this context, the description of ‘Creative Company’ more adequately expresses what we do, how we think, but also our ambitions as we continue to expand our creative skills without borders or limitations. 

With close to 750 employees and 15 years of experience working with the best storytellers in the world, we felt it was time to bring our brand to a whole new level. 

LBB> Are there any particular characteristics or qualities that you’re looking to communicate with this rebrand? If so, what are they? 

Solène> Yes. Specifically, that we are a strong creative partner, we are established, we NEVER compromise quality, we offer high-end visual effects and creative solutions, and there are very few remaining independent VFX studios at our scale. 

Part of this process has also been developing an employer brand. Our strong culture is a key differentiator at Rodeo, and we wanted to ensure we had something that would elevate our employer brand. 

As a result, we can articulate a stronger narrative that better translates who we are and what we’re about. We have a very strong culture, distinctive I would say, and we are now very established. We needed to own this a little more confidently. With our scale, combined with our experience of working with the best storytellers in the world and the studios with the highest standards, we can have a stronger voice without impostor syndrome. 

Rodeo has always been very humble, and we will never compromise the integrity of who we truly are and where we come from. But, at the same time, we can be proud of what’s been accomplished and celebrate it. 

LBB> What can you tell us about the rebranding process itself? How did you get to the final results? 

Solène> We had a few agencies presenting to us, and decided to go with Sid Lee. Having worked for the agency myself previously, I left the decision to my CEO. As well as working with Sid Lee on the rebranding, we partnered with Leeroy who developed our new website.

With Sid Lee we tried many things, we went really far in order to generate reactions within the teams at Rodeo. Eventually within this process, it was clear that we had to come back to the core, and to the DNA of Rodeo. We worked closely with the CEO and key artists here, as many of them have been part of Rodeo for over a decade - so it was important to respect their view and ensure we were reflecting the company’s DNA. It was crucial for us to stay true to the language of the artists and create an option that would still let us expand.

We came back with a very classic and elegant aesthetic, and a territory that’s reflective of who we are but stronger, fresher, and more flexible, too. 

LBB> In a strange kind of circularity, I understand that you also helped Sid Lee with their own rebrand in the recent past. What kind of experience or perspectives did that give you which you applied here? 

Solène> That’s right - a few years ago, as Director of Marketing at Sid Lee, I was mandated by Bertrand Cesvet to do the Repositioning and Rebrand of Sid Lee. I led the project alongside a good friend, Simon Chenier (former Creative Director at Sid Lee), and worked closely with Philippe Meunier (Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Sid Lee) and Bertand. Alongside, of course, a whole fantastic team. The learning I applied is that you need to lose yourself a little and explore in order to end up right where you need to. You have to go outside of your comfort zone and be extremely open-minded. You will come back to what feels right, but without allowing yourself to search and explore, you can’t achieve such a precise result. 

LBB> And finally, what’s one thing you wish you knew at the start of this rebranding process with Rodeo? 

Solène> In all honesty, nothing. I am actually grateful that I was pretty green at the company and in the industry, because it gave me a different perspective that I absolutely cherish. I believe that helped me in the process. 

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Categories: Media and Entertainment, Movies

Rodeo FX, Tue, 21 Dec 2021 17:30:00 GMT