Welcome to Backpack!

March 2, 2020

Why the change? 

With a new decade, the desire to improve is high; new beginnings brought ideas, opportunities, and momentum to CLAgency. To better reflect the evolving agency, CLAgency launched a new name and brand on Friday, January 31: Backpack.

Founded in 2014 with only eight employees, the agency wrote stories to highlight faculty, staff, and students for the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). In the fall of 2018, Backpack expanded to work with external clients. 

ServeMinnesota—Minnesota's branch of AmeriCorps—is our longest-acting client. ServeMinnesota was struggling to connect with a Generation Z audience, especially college seniors and recent graduates, making it the perfect collaboration. They partnered with Backpack to communicate the benefits of serving and creating social change to college students.

“We have insight into the young adult-college market and a wide network of industry professionals. From social media strategy to brand communications to design, our collaboration and diverse talents allow us to push advertising and marketing into a new direction,” General Manager Selena Thor says. 

Finding the name 

Creating and building a brand is a complicated process. We have branded and rebranded for external clients before, but doing it for ourselves was more challenging than we initially thought. 

There were three main components to the new name that were non-negotiables: easy to pronounce, simple, and student-focused. Through every brainstorm and review session, the name had to be grounded in those factors. Backpack's leadership team, consisting of the general manager, operations director, account director, creative director, and editorial director, met semi-regularly over the summer to brainstorm names. They eventually settled on five options, and they shared them with coworkers, Backpack alumni, and industry professionals.

The team pared down the list further for a presentation to the board of overseers, a committee of 10 industry professionals who help guide the agency. After the meeting, the team processed the board’s feedback and brainstormed more names. We had to finalize the name in a second meeting, where they finally settled on Backpack. Everyone knew it was the right choice.

With the name chosen, Creative Director Molly Klima initiated the rebranding process. The branding had to be simple and adaptable. "We've always walked a fine line between being students and professionals, and our brand needs to present us as both because those identities are tied together so tightly,” Klima says. “Our system needed to function professionally without losing the personality and perspective that mark us as young people, and, in some cases, needed to emphasize that." 

Backpack's brand assets include digital stickers that give the agency a fun look. While the mark, font, and colors stay consistent, the digital stickers allow the agency to change with seasons, trends, or occasions. 

Launching its new brand

Backpack revealed its new name and brand at The Battle, an advertising and marketing industry battle-of-the-bands. Our band Fannypack competed against four other agency bands on First Avenue’s legendary stage, and ended up winning for their performance of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” 

Today, Backpack celebrates diverse growth across employees, clients, and skill-sets through its new brand. Because we keep our student experience at the forefront of our work, we embrace dynamic approaches and an eagerness to learn. Our brand is modern, fun, and innovative. 

Over the past few years, we have tripled our headcount, nearing 40 employees, and have grown our account roster across the board. Our rebrand marks a new era for Backpack and paves a bright future in the Twin Cities market.