How we built our brand

By founder Eric Zimmett

When I launched my agency in 2014, my first step — almost before securing any clients — was developing the brand. As a social brand agency, I wanted to treat the agency as our first client.

I chose Braden, my middle name, as our company name — first with Braden Zimmett LLC then later in Braden Social Media LLC.

After initial research, I found that the name Braden had an interesting history and some potential branding options. Braden is derived from an Irish Gaelic word meaning “salmon.” Immediately I recalled that salmon Swim Upstream (and a quick Google search confirmed). Though I thought that was a bit too cliche for a tagline. So I tweaked it a bit.

Swim Against The Stream had a nice ring to it. Another search revealed, surprisingly, that the domain name was available, Sure it was a lengthy domain, but any time you can own your brand or slogan on social media is a bonus. I also noticed that the hashtag #SwimAgainstTheStream was used some but not as much as other variations. That’s a plus too, I thought.

Braden Social Media first logo

Next I created our first logo, a simple badge design with the letters “BZ” in the center, for Braden Zimmett. Though I inserted a little fish in the bottom to showcase our salmon origin.

My first intern, Emily Burke, thought the fish looked out of place. But I told her I had bigger things in mind (I just wasn’t sure what that was yet).

I began to dig deeper into the Braden name, soon finding it had even more history, mythology even. In Irish Folklore, bradán feasa is the ‘Salmon of Knowledge.”

Scales on the Big Fish or Salmon of Knowledge sculpture in Northern Ireland celebrates the return of fish to the River Lagan

“According to Celtic legend, an ordinary salmon ate nine hazelnuts that fell into the well of wisdom. By this act, the salmon gained the world’s knowledge. The first person to eat of its flesh would, in turn, gain this knowledge.”

A fantastic tale of a poet, Finneces, and his student Finn McCool. Swim Against The Stream… The Salmon of Knowledge… Finn McCool… Now this is something I can really see my brand embracing. Next I edited my own version of the tale and sent it to a voice-over artist to record. Listen below: 

With a little work, we had developed a brand name, a logo and a connected to a story.

I felt a strong connection to the story, the slogan and the brand. 

Granted, few visitors to will feel what I feel when recounting this brand story, or telling the history of Finn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge. But that’s not important.

What matters is giving the brand a story, and making sure the story has meaning — that our brand stands for something.

Braden Social Media

Published by Eric Zimmett

Principal at social media agency Braden Social Media

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