Enough logos already
In a world which is crowded with logos, we look at the other ways to create a brand that will own a space in the mind of a consumer.
Have you ever received an email with an offer to design a bespoke logo for only $10 dollars? How many swooshes, loops, geometric shapes and blobs do we need?
Our world has become crowded with logos. Every product, service and organisation needs one. Complexity breeds sub-brands and variants. As we embrace constant change consumers await the next rebrand. A new logo is a signal to re-evaluate a relationship with a brand. Mergers and acquisitions need brands to come together into something new and different that will show what the future will look like.
People say, “branding is just a logo isn’t it?”. And to be fair a distinctive symbol was the first recorded example. Ancient Egyptians used hot branding irons to mark their cattle and safeguard ownership.
Today apps and social media encourage the use of symbols as a visual shorthand. Scrolling through page after page of choices we only get a split second to attract buyers. However, there are other ways to create a brand and own a space in the mind of consumers.
Centrica is a complex business with employees around the world contracted to do very different jobs: traders, engineers, marketeers, call centre workers, etc. Their existing company benefits had developed over time and were inconsistent and undersubscribed. Their communications were fragmented and there was a clear challenge to get employees to actively engage with a new benefits portal.
Educating employees about the new company pension scheme, Sharesave, provided an opportunity to get groups in a room and demonstrate how to make the most of their pay. By using colourful boxes we demonstrated what was on offer, what packages might look like and how to select them. Each box represented one of twenty or more benefits.
We had fun with the boxes, using them for workshops and filming the activity. We created a stop motion animation which explained how savings are made and the portal itself needed visual assets. We also created installations in communal spaces and left boxes in canteens to promote a deadline for the Sharesave scheme.
Not relying on a logo to badge the scheme meant that assets could be shared across the Centrica group including British Gas and Direct Energy. It also meant that individual benefits could be promoted without reinventing communications each time.
Avanade have a great brand, their people are full of energy and genuinely want to create change through technology. When you join the business, you’re invited to Go Orange! A simple rally call that speaks to the induction process. Go Orange! is a team mindset and distinguishes Avanade from other global IT consultants who only seem to use shades of blue and green.
The Go Orange! effect is seen in the environment, clothing and swag (merchandise). For Avanade its people are the brand and they own orange.
One symbol and one symbol alone represents the rich heritage of British policing. Established in 1829, New Scotland Yard is now a brand that is recognised worldwide. New Scotland Yard is only an address, it’s the headquarters of The Metropolitan Police Service. The revolving metal sign is often used as a backdrop for TV reporters and filmmakers. The highly polished metal is a symbol of excellence. The heritage and craft of the typography, the strength and precision of the sharp edges and the mysterious qualities of the constantly revolving sign make it distinctive.
Catalyst uniquely combines teams of financial markets experts with organisational change specialists to deliver enduring excellence. A graphic pattern illustrates the concept of going from strength to strength. Used across different channels and media. Both unifying and memorable.
Images of brain activity can be awe-inspiring. Their beauty and complexity are fascinating. In developing the brand for Brain Research Trust, inspiration was drawn from a tractograph brain scan – with kind permission from the Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab. Overlapping the scans with other images creates a distinctive look and feel. We’re intrigued by the electric colours. The final colour palette is deliberately multi-coloured. Many brands in the same sector lead with cyan and magenta only.
It was important that the Boots mission, purpose and values were reflected throughout communications with employees every day. Communications needed to be consistent, easy to understand, and joined-up – reflecting one organisation.
Our role was to help make Boots’ employees feel good so that their patients and customers could feel the same way. Everyone was receptive to the colourful, vibrant ‘brushstroke’ visuals which gave new life to internal communications.
Research suggests businesses with ‘organisational integrity’– that’s where the values on the wall are reflected in day-to-day behaviours – are more successful. Therefore, it’s important that a promise, purpose and personality is reflected in the way a business communicates with colleagues every day.
A way to make this possible is through having an internal tone of voice, a clear and consistent way of communicating with people.
Tone of voice isn’t what we say but how we say it. It’s the language we use, the way we construct sentences, the sound of our words and the personality we communicate. It is to writing what logo, colour and typeface are to a visual identity.
In fact, think of it as language, not tone of voice. Language is practical. Useful. Essential. It’s one of the most tangible and emotional parts of a brand. Get it right, and it’s an opportunity to connect with people in a way that a colour or a typeface can’t.
If you live in or around London, you might have heard the radio ad for Gatwick Express. The beep beep of closing train doors and the echo of an airport speaker system. Although you might not hear those sounds every day they are immediate and distinctive.
Sound can set a product or service apart. It can enhance recall, evoke an emotion and improve other senses. Food tastes better, perfume smells sweeter and a car door feels sturdier. Sound generally enriches a brand experience.
It’s a cliche but if you want to test if your brand is more than just a logo then put your thumb over it. Is the communication still recognisable, unique, memorable? Is there enough personality on show for people to make a connection?