This is a brand transformation story of an organisation that went from being another oil sands company to a sector leader that “creates energy for a better world”.
The goal was to build a better brand that would reflect the strategy to unify the workforce around a common purpose and leverage commitment to sustainable business practices and envirornmentally responsible behaviour. Having acquired the PetroCanada brand, coupled with the controversy surrounding the oil-sands industry, the company recognised the need to develop its own narrative.
We were commissioned to review Suncor’s mission, vision and values and to develop the brand and branding. It was apparent that a well defined and well understood brand would be key to future success as it would help to unify, differentiate from competitors; and tell Suncor’s story in a manner that builds trust. Altogether, this would ensure successful license to operate, community support, employee recruitment and retention, as well as support from the investment community.
Our process included hundreds of 1-to-1 interviews (with a cross-section of audience groups), workshops, desk research and insight sessions. There was real commitment to a more values-led proposition to better reflect the business approach and intention. That proposition is summed up in the statement “we create energy for a better world” .It acted as the basis for the vision: “To be the trusted stewards of valuable natural resources, and, guided by our values, to lead the way to deliver economic prosperity, improved social well-being and a healthy environment for today and tomorrow”, which also clearly underlines the commitment to a triple-bottom line approach to business.
To help Suncor tell its story to a wider audience, our strategy for external stakeholders went beyond simply raising awareness; as our objectives were to increase understanding and build trust. We therefore built a multi-channel brand campaign that literally invited audiences to join the conversation.
As part of the new identity we created a range of content including new visual identity, brand guidelines, brand collateral, annual reporting, environmental design, web design, a new brand portal (www.whatyescando.com), and film.
All communications focused on helping people to learn more about the business and see its commitments lived out in actions. Essentially, we invited people to come and see “what Yes can do”. This affirmation connected all aspects of the brand, reinforcing Suncor’s willingness to work with others, innovate and share learning and see things differently.
“…you should be very proud of all the work that you and the whole team at Appetite has done to get us to this point. You’ve shaped the DNA of this company and given us clear, meaningful purpose and focus.”
Suncor senior management
HealthcareUK is a joint venture between the Department of Heath, NHS England and UK Trade and Investments, promoting the best of the UK’s academic, public and commercial healthcare expertise to a global market.
Our work centred on the strategic development of its proposition and the design of the new brand and key communications for international roll out.
HealthcareUK’s aspiration was to create a partnership between public and private providers, uniting them in the shared ambition to export British healthcare expertise competing against existing countries with a strong reputation such as Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany. The challenge was to help HeatlhcareUK define its purpose, and develop a strong proposition that conveyed the UK’s global leadership in this sector.
Our approach, based on insights and a series of in-depth interviews with stakeholders helped us in identifying HealthcareUK’s key differentiators. Having the key differentiators in mind, led us to articulate the purpose statement, which is a true reflection of HealthcareUK “The vital partner in global health”.
We created a strong brand identify, and developed a communications framework that allowed us to raise the global profile of the organisation. Delivering a clear and comprehensible vision across a multinational audience. In the first year HealthcareUK attended 23 major events around the world, brought together over 600 UK healthcare providers and generated £550m of revenue from 22 major new contracts – significantly more than the government’s already ambitious initial target of £350m.
UN Women NCUK
UN Women NCUK is the national committee of UN Women, the only global agency dedicated to gender equality. It works with government, businesses, women and men to deliver effective programmes that accelerate economic empowerment, education and the ending of violence against women and girls.
Our work centred on the strategic development of its proposition, key messaging and the design of a refreshed brand and key communications for the UK.
Whilst awareness and understanding of UN Women on a global scale was high, audiences were less clear about what is done here in the UK, creating a barrier to participation. The committee is spread across a number of locations and works with a wide range of audiences with varying needs, making consistency and relevance a challenge when developing communications. They lacked the visual tools to support communications, with an identity that had little distinction from the global brand and the expression of a personality to create engagement.
With plans to launch a large-scale funding campaign and increase its presence in the UK, the time was ripe to review the UN Women NCUK brand.
Working closely with trustees and board members in a series of workshops, we built an understanding of who UN Women NCUK is now, and where it is going in the future.
We developed a proposition that defines and articulates UN Women NCUK’s position in the UK, the people it touches and the value it brings. This formed the backbone of a messaging toolkit, with value statements and messaging themes tailored to key audiences.
We created a brand identity that takes its cues from the UN Women logo – a logo recognised for its undeniable authority and clarity – and also the key insights and characteristics from the brand strategy.
The result is an identity and visual language that is authentic to the global brand, yet contemporary and distinct for the UK. Inspired by the ability for symbols to transcend language barriers and become the short hand for more complex ideas, a new graphical approach resulted within a richer, more compelling brand identity.
Over time, we see audiences recognising the meaning of the symbols, equipping UN Women NCUK with a set of universally understood symbols that help communicate and reinforce their purpose, regardless of language.
The brand is being rolled out across communications, and used in the launch of the Dines In and Dines Out fundraising campaigns and a new website.
This is a critical time for UN Women NCUK as it builds on the success of the UN Women global activities and develops its own momentum and recognition. The brand signifies direction and momentum for the organisation as it builds further to help others.
Kingsley Napley is a mid-size, multi-practice firm of solicitors based in London. Its wide range of expertise provides support for its clients in all areas of their business and private life.
Working with the strategy team we helped Kingsley Napley find the purpose at the heart of its brand. We also developed a new brand strategy, identity and communications.
Differentiation in the legal sector is notoriously difficult, and the top legal firms are famously conservative when it comes to their brands.
Kingsley Napley has a well-earned reputation in the industry amongst “those that need to know”, particularly in the Criminal litigation arena but it needed to tell its story to a wider audience, and identify how its brand should stand out from other high-quality firms of solicitors. As a multi-practice firm, it needed to find the common thread that connected all of its practice, from Criminal to Family, Immigration to Clinical Negligence.
The firm needed to reassess its brand to see what made it special in a crowded market place, what was really valued by clients, and what their vision for success should be. It also needed to establish the importance of brand within the firm, moving past brand as colours and logos to understanding the brand as an operating principle that should influence decision making across the organisation.
From the outset, we worked closely with a cross-functional strategy team. We stressed the need to really understand the current perception of the brand, both inside and outside the organisation, before looking forward to identifying the brand that Kingsley Napley wanted to be in the future.
Our recommended approach was to:
- conduct a full brand strategic and competitive review, including review of business strategy, interviewing internal and external stakeholders, including clients of the firm
- re-establish the firm’s commercial positioning
- create a brand platform with a new purpose at its core – “we know what’s at stake, we know what it takes” – a new vision, updated values and supporting personality traits
- apply these concepts to different business functions, beginning with commercial propositions for the whole firm and individual practice areas
- update the visual and verbal identity
The brand strategy was enthusiastically received internally, firstly through a series of workshops that explored what it meant to be a “KNer” and then with launch materials including an interactive “story behind the brand”. However, a successful strategy is useless if it’s not used, and we quickly moved on to apply the new strategy to different areas, developing firm-wide commercial messaging pillars and specific commercial propositions for different practice areas and campaigns.
Simultaneously, the visual and verbal identity of the firm was developed to better reflect the brand’s new sense of purpose and its expanded personality. Whilst this was an evolution rather than a “rebrand”, holding on to its heritage, we placed a core creative idea at the centre of its expression – The KN line. This led to a refreshed identity and website with clear stand out and story-telling quality, and met our brief to develop a ‘modern classic’.
The result is a brand, and a firm, with a real sense of purpose at its core. It feels relevant and distinct from its peers while remaining authentic to its employees, peers and clients. It also pays homage to its history but looks forward, not back.
“I have never worked with an agency so keen to scratch beneath the surface and create such an impact with people at all levels in all departments in a firm. The project ran so deeply it was about understanding how and why we do things and ensuring that was remembered in the work we do with our own clients.”
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is one of the world’s leading centres for environmental impact and sustainability research, but it needed to make sure its own house was in order. The University has committed to reducing emissions by 35% by 2020/21 – no mean feat for an organisation with 40,647 people, more than 100 buildings and around 70,000 tonnes of emissions annually.
We worked with the sustainability team to help develop and articulate a purpose for the carbon management plan, and created a multi-channel campaign brand to engage and activate all audiences.
There was little awareness and a limited sense of individual accountability for sustainability amongst our target audiences. For the Carbon Management Plan to be effective, we had to challenge and inspire behaviour change in both staff and students.
We worked with the University to define the purpose of the Carbon Management Plan, with the idea to bring together everyone’s actions around a single common cause. This led us to develop a multi-tiered awareness campaign ‘It All Adds Up’ aimed at both staff and students to influence their behaviour in regards to energy consumption. This campaign included a visual teaser phase, an initial ‘test’ holiday shut down initiative and subsequent campaigns focused on reducing heating by one degree in all university buildings.
Our innovative and engaging campaign won ‘Best Sustainability Communications Campaign’ at the Environment and Energy Awards. The shutdown periods generated over £42,000 of savings and a 235 tonne reduction in CO2 emissions. We were also able to create a sense of community around sustainability awareness, with 90% of staff and students agreeing that ‘they would be likely to take action’ on matters of carbon management.
CHAS (The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) is a well-known UK leader in the provision of safety accreditation to contractors in the trade. It is on a journey to also offer a broader range of services to professionals and corporate organisations, supported by a new digital platform. This created the need to help provoke a re-appraisal of its brand.
We developed a new band strategy, with a strong purpose at its heart, expressed through a differentiated proposition and new, more modern visual identity.
CHAS benefits from great brand recognition in the trade for its safety accreditation scheme, as testified by the ubiquity of its sticker on the back of the nations’ white vans and commercial vehicles. Yet, its offer has now broadened and also developed to encompass a digital management of suppliers for corporate needs. In this new field of supply-chain management, CHAS found itself competing with a range of sophisticated and technology-enabled businesses.
In order to fulfil its ambition for growth, it was clear that CHAS needed to reassess who it was, where and how it delivered value, and how it told its story.
Working with the leadership team, we explored and identified the key insights that made CHAS who it was. This included a strong sense of dedication and responsibility towards improving businesses as well as social impact – expressed through a single purpose to “make the world of work safer”.
We also developed a proposition to help the organisation compete more effectively across a broader range of services and help them reach new corporate audiences with key messaging.
Finally, we refreshed the visual identity and provided the necessary toolkit for the development of their digital platform.
To support the launch, we also developed some key creative campaigns to drive re-appraisal and adoption for their contractors and corporate clients’ audiences.
CHAS is now going from strength to strength, achieving all its commercial objectives since launch. The brand continues to provide a solid bedrock to its growing ambitions, while still taking pride and place on the back of a white van near you!
“Our purposeful new brand has had a transformative impact on the organisation. It has played a major part in our ability to deliver outstanding year-on-year results, improving ever more businesses, helping them to succeed, and truly making the world of work safer.”