Ahola was featured in the latest issue of Cleveland Magazine’s Community Leader, with a feature article announcing the upcoming brand refresh this fall.
The rebranding, now underway, has involved more than a year of research efforts and included input from an outside consultant, clients and Ahola employees. The result will go well beyond a refreshed logo or website, says marketing manager Sonya Ahola, a third-generation member of the family business.
“It’s about redefining who we are as an organization and as a brand, and making sure it’s aligned with who we are and who we want to be,” she says. “Historically, we have been a local, small payroll company providing a necessary service that [businesses need].” The rebranding initiative is meant to reflect the changes that have taken place as Ahola has evolved from strictly payroll to human capital management.
Today, the Ahola Corp. has the distinction of being the world’s longest continuously operating family-focused payroll service provider. It has since been handed over to the second generation of owners, with Chet and Rheta’s four children — Mark, Marja, Jeff and Scott — all involved. Jeff serves as CEO, and Scott as CIO.
To date, Ahola has provided automated payroll services to more than 10,000 corporations. It serves thousands of clients across the country and recently announced the opening of a Cincinnati office to supplement operations in the Cleveland and Columbus markets.
What Ahola intends to get out of this process is a better understanding of what its brand means and reenergizing is staff. Plus knowing why clients choose to work with them, and what makes them unique. When all is said and done, the initiative will lead to a refreshed mission statement, vision, brand promise and values, and a clearly communicated message about the company today. It is primarily about telling the company’s story in the right way, but will also include some of what Sonya describes as “aspirational” elements.
“The company is still the same,” she says. “We’re making sure we’re conveying who we are in a way that’s authentic to what we can bring to the market.”