Client: Kall Kwik
Objective: To deliver insightful, relevant marketing information. Considering general issues as well as promoting Kall Kwik developments.
Target audience: Internal employees. External franchisees and their business customers.
Kall kwik launches its new image
January 2004 will see the launch of Kall Kwik's new corporate identity, replacing the 'running K's' that have been in use for over ten years with a fresh, contemporary interpretation of the business positioning. The past decade has seen many developments both in Kall Kwik's service offering and the expectations of its customers. "Today's Kall Kwik is a business that harnesses modern technology to deliver a broad portfolio of communications-related services to its clients" explains John Blyth, Head of Marketing. Research carried out amongst customers and non-customers showed that although the current identity had a high spontaneous recall, the vast majority felt it was in need of updating. And as John Blyth points out: "Given that we position ourselves as a provider of added value 'solutions' tailored to the individual needs of clients and that design is arguably the greatest value adding service available to them, it is important that Kall Kwik's own design - its corporate identity - reflects the quality of what Centres offer".
The re-design brief was pitched both internally and amongst external agencies and the project awarded (on merit) to the Winchester Kall Kwik Centre. Not surprising when you consider that along with having a detailed understanding of their business and market, the Centres employ dedicated designers who understand the subtle nuances involved in developing a look for a company. They also have the advantage of state of the art technical equipment and software, all under one roof.
"The brief was very specific" commented Richard Baker, the Winchester Centre Owner who worked on it with 3 of his designers "and I and other Centre owners have strong views in favour of making the focus more about business design so we felt very positive about it". Central to a corporate identity brief is the requirement to develop a close fit between what the key visual brand signals convey and the reality of the customer experience, for the Kall Kwik brief other important design objectives included:
consistency with the 'solutions as unique as your business' positioning
visual impact (by night and day)
communication of Kall Kwik's modern and forward looking stance
emphasis on the fact that it's a business which cares about design
the need for the new look to work across a wide range of applications
that it be practical and cost effective to implement
The result A variety of interpretations were produced and subjected to focus group research, feedback from which provided Richard Baker and his team with the input they needed to make a few refinements, creating the new look shown here.
The identity delivers a clean, modern interpretation of the Kall Kwik name that retains ownership of the letter K by creating a 'trademark' icon of it, a feature that researched particularly well. The same research revealed that the colour combination of dark and pale blue delivered both continuity and quality. Changing the emphasis to highlight Kall Kwik's design expertise has been neatly achieved through the new strap line 'business design + print'. (Please note: this is an optional paragraph, you may wish to omit or alternatively break it down and use it for captions/comments next to the visuals themselves).
The roll-out of the new identity will be supported by a range of marketing materials, which as well as the new logo will communicate specific customer benefits, ranging from the inspirational - for example 'Kapture the power of print' to the practical 'Size Counts'. Whether viewed in isolation or in the context of a Centre, the new identity delivers a re-defined business offering, builds on Kall Kwik's established reputation and conveys a modern approach. Look out for it on a high street near you.
The changing face of corporate identity
Given the massive investment required to alter a corporate or brand identity the business imperatives for change need to be well substantiated. Valid reasons would include a new business or product development; an existing identity being outdated or simply outgrown; a change of business ownership/merger, or a significant change of business direction. It's a mistake to think that simply giving a failing company a different look will improve its performance.
The current climate for change has much to do with the technological developments of the past decade. Not only do companies need to promote themselves on the internet, but their identity needs to demonstrate that they are truly at one with the digital generation. Additionally, because communications now move across the world at lightning speed many companies are encountering global competition for the first time. Equally relevant is the change in consumer attitudes: "The public is increasingly media-advertising-design-brand literate and after more than 50 years of the consumer society has lost its naivety" states Simon Mottram in his paper 'Branding the Corporation*. "Consumers may see upwards of a thousand commercial propositions every day but they are learning to filter out those brand messages that they do not want to hear". Since corporate identity delivers the first impression to the potential customer it's important that it communicates the company's values whilst also differentiating it from the competition.
Gradual or radical?
For established organisations a change to their identity may be so slight as to be barely perceptible to the consumer. Take Shell: in its 100 year history the logo has undergone numerous alterations including changes to the shell shape, the replacement of black with red in1961; the placing of the word Shell outside the logo in 1971 and its complete removal in 2001. All these adjustments serve to keep the corporate identity recognisable and unique but also up-to-date by reflecting trends in graphic design. The corporate identity of fellow petroleum giant BP similarly showed gentle visual shifts over time until recently when it underwent a dramatic re-style, retaining the familiar green and yellow but introducing a flower/rosette graphic. So what prompted the move to this new visual mnemonic? Key to BP's positioning is its determination to be "innovative, committed to the protection of the natural environment, progressive in its restless search for improvement…" (Lord Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive**). These values have therefore being given expression through the use of a 'natural' element, graphically interpreted in a strong, contemporary style. This will soon become as widely recognisable as the Shell, the Apple or McDonalds golden arches.
These changes build on BP's existing foundations, but when a company launches a major re-positioning a more 'root and branch' approach is required. Abbey National recently introduced a completely new identity to reflect its new 'simplified' approach to business. "Abbey is much more than a shorter name and new design" stresses Angus Porter, Abbey's Customer Director "We are undertaking a radical transformation in how we think about customers, talk with them and do business with them". Whilst he recognises that the new look and philosophy will take time to establish, he is heartened by the employee reaction, saying "Abbey people are really enthusiastic about these changes". And therein lies a crucial fact about corporate identity; to realise its true value as a company asset it must be supported throughout the organisation. Without employee buy-in the identity will be undermined and the customers' belief in the company offering eroded. Ultimately, an identity is only as good as the service or product it delivers and consumers choose one over another as an expression of trust in the brand values. Betray that trust and - as Enron discovered to its cost - your identity rapidly becomes a liability.