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  • Marianne

Becoming tincubate

The Why

“A great brand is a story that is never completely told.” (Scott Bedbury)

Just like our work, we’re constantly iterating on our business strategy, our messaging and – ultimately – our brand. In a way, rebranding from JTD Consulting to tincubate has been 3 years in the making. It took 3 years of projects, inspiration and vision to find the right brand. And also somehow it only took 30 minutes. Here’s how it all came together.

Where it started

JTD Consulting started in 2017, with just Joe doing some independent consulting work. And JTD are Joe’s initials. Thus, JTD Consulting was born. In 2018, I joined Joe and we started growing and shaping JTDC together. Right from the start, we wanted to find the right name, but our business was still finding its path. Trying to find a new name while we were still finding our business identity proved to be too hard a task, so we stuck with JTDC.

The need for change

The funniest thing about JTDC is that no one could say it. I guess 4 letters is too many. JDTC, JCDT, JCTD… it doesn’t roll off the tongue.

As our business evolved, the word Consulting wasn’t fully resonating with what we do. People hear Consulting and think we trade advice and expertise for money. And it’s true, that’s part of what we do. But we do so much more than that, and we wanted an identity that reflected that.

During COVID-19, as the world was coping, we had more time to explore some of our own projects. We starting building a portfolio of ideas of our own, spending more time tinkering and iterating on our own ideas. We hired engineering students to literally spend their time tinkering with ideas and electronics… all day, every day.

We could feel the shift.

Finding the name

We say it was 3 years in the making, and it was, but all it took to actually make the change was a whiteboard, 30 minutes and a domain registration.

One Thursday afternoon, Joe and I were at the office looking at our portfolio of custom products the team had built over the last few months. We had given them codenames to make it easy to chat about the projects since we were constantly multitasking on them. The names were mostly mash-ups of words crammed together; sport sensor = Spensor, modbus bridge = midge… you get the idea.

We were going to create pages on our website for them. And if we’re going to do that, we may as well update the whole site. And if we’re doing that, why not just find a new name?

So we did. We wrote some keywords that describe what we do, and then mashed them together. Literally. I won’t go through all the names we considered, but there were some 90’s boy band references involved.

Two words that really resonated were tinkering and incubation. We mashed them together, wrote it down, checked the domain, bought it and that was it. tincubate was born!

"Products are made in a factory but brands are created in the mind." - Walter Landor

The How

The idea of rebranding sounded daunting, but in true tincubate style, we moved quickly and got something to put out there really quickly, knowing we can iterate and tweak it anytime we want! Just dive in and go...

Brand Identity

Our Designer whipped up a quick brand identity for us, using a template structure we've used a few times for products in the past. Sometimes branding takes weeks or months. For us, it takes a couple hours and we run with it.

I need to mention that she also came up with brand identities for 3 of our custom products IN THE SAME DAY, including custom logos. That's 4 branding kits in a day. She's truly a design superstar.

Website and Messaging

With the brand kit in hand, I went to work on the website. Almost all the messaging was updated to reflect our current

It started simple, with a mock definition of "tincubate" and an updated view of what we do, which has deviated a lot since our initial website was built up 3 years ago. Here's some imagery of the progression of the website over time.

The old JTDC site was more professional, corporate-facing and (honestly) stiff. The new brand was focused on being more playful, curious, exploratory and informal. And the services are focused more on our core focus of prototyping, firmware, connectivity and solution design... trimming out the 'extras' that we 'can do' but really don't focus on as a core competency.

Rewriting the bios for Joe and I, I realized how far we've come in 3 years and I'm so proud of what we've built - especially our unique office space in Uptown Waterloo, which we have now affectionately named the tincubator.

About tincubate

tincubate supports a variety of different initiatives all being incubated together. We incubate our own ideas into solutions people can buy, and we help incubate other people's ideas into solutions they can own. We also own and operate a collective space where entrepreneurs and businesses can grow their ideas into reality, called the tincubator.

If you have a project you want to explore, reach out today.

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