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How We Built Noble West Part I

About the Author
Sarah is Noble Wests' Vice President of Client Services and Strategy. She empowers clients to navigate the complexities of the modern food landscape.

Welcome, westies. It’s an incredible honor to have you along on this evolutionary journey with us. I’m Sarah Tjoa and I am AC&.... Noble West’s Vice President of Client Services and Strategy. The last few years have yielded some incredible growth opportunities for us; but none so rewarding as the opportunity to bring to life our collective vision for an agency built for the future of food. I had the great honor and pleasure of being the architect of this agency evolution, from how to best position ourselves, showcasing how we support soilborn stories and curating a creative platform that would be representative of our incredible team and the partners we represent. I’m elated to share a little more about how we arrived at where we are today.

It all started with Ali, our founder. Ali’s a remarkable woman - a true force of nature - with a deep passion for agriculture and our food system. Nearly two decades ago, she created our agency as a way to help bridge the gap between consumers and their food. (You can read a little more about that her incredible journey and business evolution here.) And while the growth kept coming, she knew there was more to do if the goal was maximizing impact.

Ali will be the first to tell you, this journey wasn’t easy - any attempt to elevate requires a whole new level of vulnerability, trust and a little (or a lot of) discomfort. I told her what we tell our clients, “The good stuff is worth it. It’s going to require due diligence and introspection; but trust us. We’ll show you the world beyond the horizon that you’ve been dreaming about.” Remember this part 😉.

So, we dug in. Our new brand, or mindset as we’ve come to know it, is the product of years of conversations, discourse, good ideas, some not so good ones and just enough of the moments where we all nodded our heads in unison knowing we cracked it. For me, this had to be about more than creating a new logo for our place of work. The mission we’re on is an audacious one, and finding the words, colors and motifs that felt big and nuanced enough to represent it felt beyond daunting. But, once we hit it, we know we had found something that we could scale a business around, cultivate a movement from and collectively feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. Her name is Noble West. 

Our mission is to disrupt and transform the food system by bringing consumers a deeper understanding of where their food comes from and all that goes into it. The brief to ourselves was to create a brand identity and creative platform that truly reflected this mission, brought to life our values and provided enough runway for us to do the critical, somewhat daunting, but everso inspiring work of transforming and elevating our food system. We knew that rebranding our agency would be a significant undertaking, but I don’t think we realized how truly worth it it would feel. 

Let’s begin with the name. When I first joined Ali and we were discussing our clients, their hopes, their dreams, what they do and don’t have in common, she told me in the simplest of terms (you might remember this from her blog too), “Whether in truth or in mindset, they are cowboys/cowgirls. Our partners are always looking to the horizon to imagine what’s next and while they may not see it, they know better is out there.” 

Enter, a westward mentality. A belief that we can find new ways to do some of the oldest of practices and still create something incredibly nourishing. This is what we seek to provide our partners and how we approach delivering those new ideas. Additionally, the industries we serve are some of the oldest in the world - I like to think about agriculture as the original economy and it seemed natural for us to talk about what we do as answering to a noble calling. It also happens to be what Alison means in latin - to be noble. 😏

Our rebranding journey was not just about changing our name or our logo. It was about creating a new way of thinking, experiencing and engaging with our food system. As Westies, we embrace a future with optimism and possibility. One where we know there can always be more problems; but know that there are endless solutions if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone, think from multiple perspectives and be brave enough to change.

Reflecting back on this experience, it’s been one of the greatest honors of my career. As a female leader, it was especially meaningful to lead this largely female-fueled team towards a new future that would honor our founder's vision and legacy, and to create a brand identity that truly reflected our values and impact. 

While in her infancy, Noble West has been graced with some tremendous growth opportunities: 

  • Expanding our portfolio of ag tech clients

  • Defining new ingredient initiatives that are more sustainable

  • Creating deeper connections between regenerative food brands and the consumers who are epically curious to learn more

And we’re just getting started.

There’s also so much more to tell about this process - how we champion hybridity of thought/skill and embrace a changemaker mentality. But for now, we’ll leave it at this - to my team who created something so powerful, to those who have joined us on this journey and to the individuals looking to make change who we can’t wait to meet and work with - THANK YOU.

To the journey ahead,