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What’s with the otter?

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What do Outrank and otters have in common?

That might sound like the start to a terrible dad joke, but it’s a question we’ve been asked one way or another a fair bit since ‘Ozzy’s’ debut on our website a year ago.

Well, (as everyone in the office somehow knew) today is World Otter Day, which seems like the perfect time to set the record straight – and who better to do it than Ozzy’s biggest (former) hater.

A Wild Otter Appears…

Around this time a year ago, during a major rebuild of our website, our team was knee-deep in code, design choices, and coffee cups. In those early days, our website was still a blank canvas, waiting for the first strokes of creativity. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, an otter appeared.

It wasn’t planned. One of our developers, looking for a placeholder image, somehow landed on an otter.

Why?

Honestly, who knows? Only Charles can answer that – and what goes on inside his mind eludes us daily. But nevertheless, there it was – a small, unassuming otter, staring back at us from the screen with those cute, curious, dumb, stupid eyes.

If you couldn’t tell already, I wasn’t a fan at the time. So much so, I secretly made it my mission to get him out of there. But as the weeks went by and more elements were added to the website, the otter stayed. And stayed.

Impervious to time, it burrowed itself there while every pixel around it changed for the better, proud and stubborn, a bit like that house situated slap bang in the middle of the M62 motorway because the owner refused to sell it.

Untitled design 99

A Plan Scuppered…

Just like the local council had to accept they couldn’t move the man, I soon accepted that my plans to get rid of it had fallen short.

The team loved the otter, (I admit, even I was growing to its charm) and before long a poll circulated around the office to name him, giving birth to Ozzy. It’s much, much harder to kill something once it’s been given a cute name, and what’s more – I actually found myself disappointed that it wasn’t voted to be called Otto. I was officially converted.

So, now all we had to do was rationalise it. What exactly are we going to say when people ask why there’s an otter on our website?

At a stretch, you could try to draw some loose threads between otter characteristics and our agency values. Otters are playful, diligent, and team-oriented, just like us. But honestly, we’d be lying to ourselves and to you.

We kept Ozzy because we liked him. And sometimes, that’s all there is to it.

Don’t Think, Just Do It…

In business, where every brand decision can be micro-managed and agonised over, Ozzy was our breath of fresh air. While you should spend time giving everything consideration, sometimes the best results come from not overthinking it. Happy accidents.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Phil Knight.

He had really wanted to call his business “Dimension 6.” The day before his company was to ship its first shoes, an employee proposed the name “Nike,” after the Greek goddess of victory. It wasn’t the name Knight had in mind, but he went with it. And the rest is history.

If you’re wrestling on the small details of your businesses brand, know that it really does not matter. Yes, you should try to be catchy, memorable and hopefully tie into your product or service, but most of the biggest global brands don’t even do that.

Ultimately, your brand isn’t what we tell the customer it is – it is what customers tell each other it is.

So “Just do it”.

The Quick Answer…

So, what does an otter have in common with Outrank? Not a whole lot.

Ozzy is here because he brought a smile to our faces. And we like to think that when people land on our site, or see Andy seething in the heat of a full size otter costume at some expo, it does the same for them.

We’re not just another one of those countless, nameless marketing firms, but the one with the cute, curious, dumb and stupid otter.

(And for the record, I still stand by the fact he should have been named Otto)

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