Id Alert 0912 Method Branding

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Id Alert 0912 Method Branding

  1. 1. New Identity Alert December 2009
  2. 2. NEW IDENTITY ALERT page 2 December 2009 Among the new brand identities featured in A “radical” rebranding may result in lost equity if this issue are Commerzbank, AOL, MSN, Hertz, it is not properly done, and it requires significant Ferrovial, Hilton Worldwide, Renaissance Hotels investments in communication resources to & Resorts, Pfizer, and Sochi 2014. properly transfer existing brand equities to a brand completely different from its predecessor. A number of these new brand identities (Hilton, This is nothing new and it has been successfully MSN, Sochi 2014) have been previously accomplished countless times, most dramatically discussed on our blog, methodbranding.com/blog. when an existing brand has been acquired. For example, FedEx appears to have succeeded in It is interesting to note that while it has been its efforts to transition the brand equity of Kinkos, challenging to find major brands that have been and has now been able to drop that name in favour rebranded over the past year, this fall has seen a of FedEx Office. large number of major companies that have unveiled their new brand identities. Several of the This is easier to accomplish when a company is new brand identities featured are evolutions, simply rebranding, but it still cannot be done in refreshing older marks. This is true of the Hertz, a vacuum, assuming that nothing needs to be Pfizer, MSN, Renaissance and Commerzbank communicated. Brands, and brand identities, must identities, with varying degrees of success. be properly introduced to their stakeholders if they are to succeed. It should not be surprising that the economic climate has made companies more reluctant to push the envelope with their brand identities and would rather evolve their existing brand Y2K+10 identities. Regardless of economic decisions, Ten years ago, the world nervously waited for this is often the correct course to take anyway. the clocks to turn to 12:00 am, 2000, worried that computers would not recognize the date and Companies have to weigh what real equities that they would crash – from home desktops, to exist in their current brand identities, versus the major systems guiding commercial aircraft around benefits of signalling real change by adopting the globe. something that is unique and unlike their previous mark. Either scenario brings real chal- Well, computers are still working. But other lenges and risks. A timid rebranding may not disasters, both natural and man-made, hit in communicate anything, with the only result being the past ten years. that the company has spent a significant amount of time and resources on the rebranding. So here’s wishing everyone a happy holiday and a healthy and prosperous new year, as well as a less eventful decade.
  3. 3. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 3 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. H I LTo N W o R L D W I D E This past fall, Hilton Hotels Corporation launched its new name, Hilton Worldwide, and new corporate brand identity. It has also moved its global headquarters from Beverly Hills, California, to McLean, Virginia. The hotel brands, including Hilton Hotels, will remain unchanged. On the other hand, the Hilton HHonors brand identity has been updated OLD BR AND iDeNtit y to align it with the new corporate brand identity. Hilton Worldwide states its portfolio of ten brands – including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations – has over 3,300 hotels in 77 countries, with more than 300 slated to open in 2010. Comment Not a bad new identity, though comparing the H symbol to the posts of a bed, as the Hilton press release does, is a bit silly. The more interesting issue here is the decision to use different marks for the Hilton corporate brand identity and the hotel chain. Does this clearly differentiate the corporate and loyalty program brands from the hotel brand? Other than a com- mon name, there is no link. (With the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites brand identi- ties, these at least share the same typographic treatment for the Hilton logotype.) They are trying “to be a little bit pregnant,” and ultimately it won’t work. Don’t be surprised if in the next 12 to 24 months, they launch a new Hilton Hotel brand similar, if not identical, to what they have just launched for their corporate brand. hiltonworldwide.com
  4. 4. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 4 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. R E N A I ssA N cE H oT E L s & R E s o RT s Part of the Marriott portfolio of hotel brands, Renais- sance Hotels & Resorts launched their new brand identity this fall. The company used the opening of two new hotels in Paris and New York City to signal the change in brand identity, with 24 more slated to open in the next three years. Renaissance Hotels & Resorts describes itself as an upscale OLD BR AND iDeNtit y brand, with more than 140 properties in 28 countries. Comment This is an evolution of a brand identity that took a wrong turn. The logotype is more contemporary, and appears more in line with how Renaissance wishes to be perceived. The evolution of the R monogram with swirls to the simple serif R appears on the surface to be an improvement as well. This, however, brings the new Renais- sance brand identity uncomfortably close to W, a competitor chain from Starwood Hotels and Resorts. This certainly is not the case of a brand inadvertently resembling another; the W brand has been in existence for several years. So why appear to be a copycat brand? Even if one assumes that they intentionally wanted to borrow the caché of the W brand, in the long run this is not how one builds a strong, sustainable brand. It may work for a supermarket chain and its private label brand to sell cans of cola that resemble Coca-Cola’s packaging without encroaching on their intellec- tual property and trademarks. This is not a brand strategy to borrow for the world of hotel brands. renaissancehotels.com marriott.com
  5. 5. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 5 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. H E RT z After a few months of quietly using their new brand identity (the 2008 annual report featured it on the cover and inside pages), Hertz finally officially launched their new brand identity earlier this month. This 91 year-old company claims it is the world’s largest car rental brand, with about 8,000 locations in 145 countries. Hertz also states it is the number one airport car OLD BR AND iDeNtit y rental brand in the U.S. and at 69 major airports in Europe, and that Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation is the world’s largest equipment rental business. Hertz is based in New Jersey. Comment Another brand evolution, the new brand identity is meant to embrace “our traditional values of speed, selection and service, as well as values which customers will come to identify with Hertz – a commitment to make the rental experi- ence part of a rewarding, personalized journey by refining every step of the rental process with the customer in mind,” according to the Hertz CEO. The new wordmark, a more contemporary rendition of the Hertz mark, is lighter, rounder and not quite as italicized as the previous one. Keeping the yellow and black colour scheme is not surprising given how much equity that has in the marketplace (it would have been stunning had they abandoned it). What is not clear is why they would begin using the new brand identity some 9 months before officially launching it. Either they should have waited before using it, or they should have announced the change when they first began using the new brand identity. hertz.com hertzequip.com
  6. 6. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 6 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. co m m E R z b A N K Following the completion of the merger with Dresdner Bank, Commerzbank unveiled its new brand identity on October 28. The bank is the second largest in Germany, and one of the major financial institutions in Europe. With the merger, Commerzbank now claims to have about 1,200 branches and 14.5 million private and corporate customers worldwide. All former OLD BR AND iDeNtities Commerzbank and Dresdner Bank branches will start operating as one Commerzbank brand beginning in the second half of 2010, with the full integration taking up to a year to complete. Comment With a brand promise that states, “Achieving more together,” this new brand identity is an evolution of the Commerzbank logotype and the Dresdner Bank symbol. The “ribbon,” as they describe it, is well-done, though this has become a stereotypical concept of the past 10 years, with Rogers Communications and Grant Thornton, among others, using the same device in different colours. The symbol still retains its brand equity, even though it is now Commerzbank yellow. The logotype is a plainer version of the former. The new lettering style doesn’t have the thick/ thin characteristics of the former. One could argue that the logotype does not quite deliver on the bank’s values: partnership and performance. It is sturdy, though, there is nothing wimpish about the new brand identity. And that is not bad, given the state of many financial institutions this past year. commerzbank.com
  7. 7. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 7 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. F E R R ov I A L On the eve of its shareholder vote to approve the merger with Cintra, this Madrid-based company unveiled its new brand identity in October. Ferrovial describes itself as one of the world’s leading infrastructure companies, with over of 100,000 employees in 48 countries, operating “in a range of sectors including construction, airport, toll road, OLD BR AND iDeNtit y and car park management and maintenance, and municipal services.” In 2006 Ferrovial acquired BAA, a major operator of airports at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton, and Naples. Ferrovial is also the company responsible for the automatic toll system on the 407 ETR (a highway in the greater Toronto area). Ferrovial plans to consolidate a number of its brands under the Ferrovial brand. Comment This is an improvement over the previous brand identity. Even with its simplicity, one can see the association of the new wordmark to its tagline, “Engineering human progress.” While these may not be the first words used to describe the wordmark, the wordmark and tag line do support each other. The lowercase lettering is human and approachable, the shape of the letters – best exemplified by the o – is solid and also contemporary and sophisticated. The colour palette helps carry forward the equity from the previous brand identity. This may not be the most exciting or innovative work, but it is very effective. ferrovial.es
  8. 8. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 8 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. A o L With its divorce from Time Warner complete and its shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, AOL has launched its new brand identity. The company describes itself as “a leading global Web services company with an extensive suite of brands and offerings and a substantial worldwide audience.” AOL’s business spans online content, products and services that OLD BR AND iDeNtit y the company offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. Among its more than 80 web sites are AOL.com, Moviefone, Mapquest and PawNation. In addition to its head office in New York City, AOL has offices in Dulles, Mountain View, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Toronto, Hamburg, Dublin, Paris, London, Bangalore and Tel Aviv. Comment This is a visually interesting brand identity, but this is not a improvement over the one which was introduced five years ago (see New Identity Alert, December 2004). Rather, there are a number of serious problems with this new one. First, the name has become problematic. Instead pronouncing the name by its initials – A-O-L – now that the name is written in upper and lowercase, cynics may suggest the name is not three initials, but is a word which is pronounced “eh-¯ l”, a rather o unfortunate choice, to say the least. This is also inconsistent in the way they write about the company, which remains AOL. see next page
  9. 9. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 9 identities compiled from on-line news sources October 2008 by Method Branding. A name can have a wordmark all in capital letters, or in lowercase, but still be written about as a proper name, i.e., with the first letter capitalized, and the other letters in lowercase. This brand identity demonstrates that the opposite does not work. One can bend certain language rules to create new brands, but they cannot be completely ignored. The name issue notwithstanding, visually the brand identity is interesting, but not without problems. AOL describes the new brand identity as “a simple, confident logotype, revealed by ever-changing images. It’s one consistent logo with countless ways to reveal.” Some of these images and the placement of the logotype, render the name difficult, if not impossible, to read (see one of the sample web pages on the preceding page, or the bottom-left example on this page). While an argument can be made that a web site’s brand identity can be more fluid and not as rigid as a traditional brand identity, there are again certain branding rules that may be bent but not totally ignored. If your brand identity is so varied that it can be anything, then it can also be, and mean, nothing. aol.com corp.aol.com
  10. 10. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 10 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. m s N On November 5, Microsoft introduced the new brand identity for MSN. Intended to work alongside Bing, Microsoft’s web search engine, the new MSN brand identity and home page is “designed to be the best home page on the Web.” MSN claims it has more than 600 million custom- ers worldwide every month, with nearly 100 million in the U.S. alone. OLD BR AND iDeNtit y Comment The new butterfly is simpler and more abstract but not as friendly or accessible as the original. Was it necessary for Microsoft to revisit their 9-year old MSN brand identity? This cannot be viewed in isolation. First it has to work with the unfortunate Bing brand identity (See the July 2009 of New Identity Alert for more information). Viewed through that prism, at least the new light face logotype makes sense; it is closer to the Bing wordmark. In fact the MSN logotype font is better than Bing’s. The logotype also moves MSN further away from Microsoft. Is that a good thing? One can debate the merits of both sides of that argument. One gets the impression though, that there is no overarching strategy, vision or discipline guiding these brands. New brand identities seem to be created without any regard to the other brands in the Microsoft portfolio. Hence, the difference in fonts for Bing and MSN, and to no discernible advantage or benefit. One would think that Micro- soft would/should be examining all their many varied brands, determining how they interact, establishing a cohesive brand architecture and potentially rebrand the whole thing. msn.com
  11. 11. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 11 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. J u N I p E R N E T W o R Ks This computer networks company unveiled its new brand identity in October. Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the internet, Juniper Networks also unveiled “groundbreaking new software, silicon, systems and partnerships designed to propel the ‘new network’ for enterprise and service provider customers.” Juniper describes itself as delivering OLD BR AND iDeNtit y innovative products and services that transform the experience and economics of networking. They claim to serve more than 30,000 customers and partners worldwide and earned more than $3 billion in revenue last year. Juniper also revealed a new ingredient brand for its Junos software platform. Comment The new Juniper Networks brand identity is an improvement from the previous brand identity. The wordmark is, however, surpris- ingly generic. It is a rather pleasant bit of typogra- phy, suitably set in a extra light font, combining both capital and lowercase letters for the word Juniper. There is a spare aesthetic at work here, with Juniper in black and Networks in a blue-grey. The new web site is also quite spare. Only when the brand identity is applied to its primary soft- ware, Junos, does a spiral graphic appear (not that there is anything that would compel someone to exclaim “WOW”). There is definitely no MSN rainbow palette at play here. Somehow, one wishes that a small dose of Microsoft’s any colour goes would have been administered here, and that Microsoft would look at Juniper to see what can be done with some restraint. juniper.net
  12. 12. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 12 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. N u m E R I x This analytics company launched its new brand identity this fall. Numerix describes itself as “the leading independent provider of award winning cross-asset analytics for the structuring, valuation and risk analysis of derivatives and structured products.” Founded in 1996, Numerix claims it has over 375 financial institutions and 45 strategic partners in 25 OLD BR AND iDeNtit y countries that rely on Numerix analytics. Numerix is based in New York City, with offices in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. Comment The “double helix” symbol is said to represent “the front to back-office connectivity and interoperability of Numerix products across multiple partner and 3rd party vendor platforms.” Simply stated, this is an interesting symbol. The intertwined arcs are a visually intriguing interpretation of interoperability. The logotype in a light, lowercase lettering style can certainly be described as contemporary (see the previous two pages), which gives the logotype a certain futuristic look. What the logotype does not contribute is the gravitas and credibility that this brand demands. One would assume that, these days especially, gravitas would be a critical requirement for the brand identity of any firm analyzing financial derivatives and other financial products. Unfortunately, the logotype gives this brand identity the look of a small software start-up. numerix.com
  13. 13. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 13 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. p F I z E R With the close of its acquisition of Wyeth, this global pharmaceutical company has updated its brand identity this past October. The maker of drugs such as Celebrex®, Lipitor ®, Zoloft® and Viagra®, claims it is now a more diversified healthcare company. Pfizer now has products in the human, animal, and consumer health sectors, including vaccines, biologics, small molecules and OLD BR AND iDeNtit y nutrition across developed and emerging markets. Based in New York City, Pfizer lists at least 45 separate country web sites Comment This is a well done, if subtle, evolution of the Pfizer brand identity. The rotation and shading of the oval gives the mark a more ener- getic, contemporary look. The logotype has also been successfully modified. Most notable is the second half of the name. The letter z has a more uniform character stroke, resulting in the horizon- tal portions of the letter being more prominent. The letters e and r are now rendered in a style more in keeping with italic lettering, giving the logotype a more flowing look. If there is one criticism of the new brand identity, it is, that at least initially, the new mark is often used in a flat reverse white, losing the three dimensional shading. They could have opted for a dimensional- ized white oval. Another option, best exemplified by the blue band on their web site, would have been to adapt the blue gradient to these areas as well. This is still an example of a brand identity evolution well done. pfizer.com
  14. 14. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 14 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. s TATo I L This Norwegian energy company changed its name in November, going from Statoil- Hydro ASA to Statoil ASA. Statoil states it has operations in 40 countries with 30,000 employees worldwide. They began operations 37 year ago on the Norwegian continental shelf as an oil and gas producer. The company also states that it is “committed to accommodating the world’s energy OLD BR AND iDeNtit y needs in a responsible manner, applying technol- ogy and creating innovative business solutions.” Comment This is another example of a brand identity that has both positive elements and some unfortunate decisions. The name change appears to be a positive move, with Hydro (at least on this side of the Atlantic) associated with electricity generated by water dams. The symbol’s design is also interesting. Made of separate elements, and strongly pointing upwards (toward the north), it is said to be based on a constellation of stars seen in the Nordic sky, and meant to represent the company’s pioneering spirit and ambition to be a leader. Then they decided to choose magenta as the colour to differentiate themselves. Maybe they misunderstood what was meant by differentiation. The colour choice, as well as the choice of type style for their logotype has certainly differentiated them from brands like Exxon, BP, and others in this industry. While a brand needs to be differenti- ated, this usually is attributed to how the company behaves. While a brand identity wants to stand out among its competitors, it must remain cred- ible. Looking like a hair product brand is not differentiation for an oil and gas brand. statoil.com
  15. 15. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 15 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. s o I c H I 2 0 1 4 The new brand and emblem for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics has been unveiled ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games this coming February. Sochi is described as a Russian multicultural city of 400,000 inhabitants repre- senting more than 100 nationalities. It is a major port city, located on the east side of the Black Sea, north of Turkey and near the border with Georgia. OtheR OLympic emBLems The Sochi 2014 Games will take place from February 7 to 24, 2014. Comment That the wordmark is also the Games’ URL and that Sochi and 2014 are supposed to be mirror images are touted as two of the main characteristics of the emblem. IOC President Jacques Rogge is quoted as saying this emblem will become “one of the most visible and recogn- ised marks for people of all ages from around the world.” The emblem may indeed become recog- nized around the world, but that doesn’t make it good. The web address is actually sochi2014.ru, but that’s not how the emblem reads. Linking the emblem to the game’s URL would have seemed truly innovative for the Liilehammer 1994 Winter Games, or the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics. Today this is “old-hat” (see amazon.com, to start with). An Olympic “app” for smart phones would be innovative, but then who would suggest that the emblem be an app icon? Mostly, this emblem is not bad, but it’s just boring. It is not as bad as the London 2012 emblem, nor as amateurish as the Vancouver emblem. But it does seem to continue a recent trend of Olympic brands that are distinctly uninspiring. sochi2014.ru
  16. 16. NEW IDENTITY ALERT An occasional survey of new corporate brand page 16 identities compiled from on-line news sources December 2009 by Method Branding. Please contact us if you have any comments about AbouT mETHoD bRANDINg the corporate brand identities featured in this A design firm with extensive experience, we issue, or if you wish to alert us to new identities work with a wide variety of clients including that have been just launched or are about to be corporations, government agencies, not-for-profit launched. We also welcome receiving the names organizations, start-up companies and others. and e-mail addresses of anyone you think would be interested in receiving this newsletter. We work collaboratively with other communication agencies and firms, and collaboratively with our And if you have a branding challenge, we would clients, to create compelling solutions. The brands of course be pleased to meet you and discuss how and branded communications (brochures, annual your brand can be effectively leveraged to its reports, etc.) we create endure and build value. maximum potential. Bringing together the science and art of branding, our solutions are engineered to elicit the desired responses from stakeholders, building maximum brand value for our clients. methodbranding.com info@methodbranding.com methodbranding.com/blog Philip Unger President and Creative Director 366 Adelaide Street W. Suite 207 Toronto, Ontario Canada M5V 1R9 416.597.1114 tel 416.596.0807 fax Thank you to Jim Hynes for his proofreading Note: The brand identities and trademarks in this and wise counsel. document are the property of their respective owners. They are used here solely for information purposes. jameshynes@rogers.com © Method Branding, 2009

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