We inherited an freshly completed, existing brand identity, but from our audits we discovered that the brand was mostly superficial and lacked any significant depth. The firm had a new wordmark, colour palette and a set of guidelines, but lacked any narrative, tone of voice or strategy for how the brand might work in the ‘real world’.
From conducting interviews and surveys amongst key stakeholders, clients and peers, we identified a disconnect between what the firm were saying about themselves and reality. The firm’s human-centric approach was a strong point-of-difference in an industry perceived to be ‘full of empty suits’, but none of this was being communicated externally.
The result was a brand that was very limiting and restrictive. The guidelines had become a rulebook and didn’t offer any creative flexibility. Internal brand custodians were struggling to keep the brand current and to implement it in the ‘real world’.
As part of the wider strategy for the firm, we conducted an in-depth brand architecture exercise to firstly create, and then align the firm’s internal sub-brands. These ranged from the Alumni and CSR Programmes, the annual Cycle Day, the firm’s canteen, Braithwaite’s and their music programme, Soundsmith.
These sub-brands sat under the main brand and followed the same verbal and visual language, which resulted in a cohesive and consistent family of identities.
Our strategy was simple: to humanise the brand and give it some personality.
Based on the insights we gained from the investigative stage, we targeted three primary channels through which to implement the brand idea: photography, film and updates to the existing guidelines.
Bringing a sub-brand to life
As part of the brand architecture exercise, we created an identity for the firm’s canteen. This followed the over-arching strategy of the wider firm and covered disciplines such as signage, apparel, environmental and print design.