Experian has announced a new solution aimed to help marketers connect online and offline attributes and better understand their target audiences. The solution leverages machine-learning algorithms and probabilistic techniques to connect billions of identity signals and data elements, including Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDs) from a variety of internal and external sources.
Why we should care
Identity plays a crucial role in helping marketers understand who our customers are. The ever-changing technology landscape, however, creates challenges for marketers trying to analyze their customers’ activities. Experian’s solution will allow marketers to bridge gaps in identity resolution and bring together the appropriate data points to reach customers with relevant, timely campaigns.
“The combination of hundreds of digital and offline touchpoints, disjointed technology and data silos make it difficult for brands and agencies to gain a single customer view,” said Kevin Dean, Experian’s president and general manager of marketing services, North America. “Consumers need to be at the heart of every advertising campaign—and proper identity resolution is critical to accomplishing that objective. The ability to connect these data elements, with consideration to data privacy, opens the door for brands and agencies to create and deliver personalized messages that are timely and relevant to their audiences.”
More on the news
The new solution will be available via MarketingConnect, Experian’s identity resolution platform.
The MAID resolution capability was developed in collaboration with Experian Data Labs, Experian’s advanced analytics and development group.
About The Author
Jennifer Videtta Cannon serves as Third Door Media’s Senior Editor, covering topics from email marketing and analytics to CRM and project management. With over a decade of organizational digital marketing experience, she has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Identity resolution — the process of connecting the growing volume of consumer identifiers to one individual as he or she moves across channels and devices – has become critical to marketing success. US consumers are projected to own up to 13 connected or networked devices by 2021, according to Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index.
At the same time, consumer expectations for relevant, personalized brand interactions across all of their preferred touchpoints have risen just as quickly. Forrester Research found that nearly three-quarters of consumers react negatively to inconsistencies in brand experiences across devices.
In today’s competitive environment, it is essential that brand marketers understand which online devices and offline behaviors belong to a consumer as well as who that consumer is.Martech Today’s all new “Enterprise Identity Resolution Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the market for identity resolution tools and what you should expect when implementing this software into your busine
This 42-page report includes profiles of 13 leading identity resolution vendors, pricing charts, capabilities comparisons and recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing. Get your copy here.
About The Author
Digital Marketing Depot is a resource center for digital marketing strategies and tactics. We feature hosted white papers and E-Books, original research, and webcasts on digital marketing topics — from advertising to analytics, SEO and PPC campaign management tools to social media management software, e-commerce to e-mail marketing, and much more about internet marketing. Digital Marketing Depot is a division of Third Door Media, publisher of Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, and producer of the conference series Search Marketing Expo and MarTech. Visit us at http://digitalmarketingdepot.com.
Established in 1923, Warner Bros. is one of the most well-known entertainment companies with the creation, production, distribution, licensing, and marketing of content across feature films, television, home entertainment production, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, and broadcasting. Its library consists of more than 100,000 hours of programming that include over 8,600 feature films and 5,000 television programs. Among its most prized properties are the DC universe, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory. Owned by WarnerMedia (which is owned by AT&T), Warner Bros. employs between 5,000 and 10,000 people depending on what’s in production and its picture division had over $5.57 billion in worldwide receipts in 2018. Last week, Warner Bros. introduced a new identity designed by New York, NY-based Pentagram partner Emily Oberman.
The Warner Bros. shield is one of the most iconic logos in the world, visual shorthand for entertainment recognized around the globe. […] Warner Bros. wanted to build on this legacy and make the shield more functional and effective. The previous iteration, introduced in 1993, was highly detailed and hard to use at a small scale and in digital contexts, which are increasingly important.
The update streamlines the logo to its key elements, returning the shield and monogram to prominence and losing the sash. The redesign refines the shield with a form based on the classical proportions of the golden ratio. The designers looked at the construction of the letterforms of the “WB” monogram, preserving their quirkiness but making them more modern. The letters of the monogram align as though made in one continuous gesture, emphasizing unity and connection.
The logo has been optimized to perform across various platforms and scales, from the small spaces of the digital world to giant installations like the iconic water tower on the Warner Bros. studio lot. It also works well with a wide range of content. The logo appears in the signature Warner Bros. blue, which has been brightened to a more contemporary hue, with the wordmark set off in a slightly darker shade to create a complementary contrast.
The team also created a dimensional version of the logo, to be used exclusively for on-screen content and special cases. The dimensional mark has the clean, streamlined look of the new logo, but with a depth that hints at the content experience. The logo can be customized for the opening and closing moments of individual movies and shows. It can also function as a window for imagery and sequences, using the edge of the shield as a frame.
I hadn’t realized how much I do not like the old logo — obviously it’s a classic but I think that that is thanks to its repetition (and association to entertaining entertainment) not its merits as a piece of graphic design. The gradients, the ring, the flimsy serif for the name, and the color combination were all pretty garish. Underneath all of that is the one good thing about this logo, which is the “WB” lettering and the new logo effectively brings that to the fore by stripping it away from all of the effects that have accrued over the years and creating a more interesting proportion for the shield which was awkwardly wide before. Golden ratio malarkey aside, the taller design looks so much better with the lettering and it also better accentuates the letters’ peculiarities. As much as I like the flat version I think in this case the shaded version might be better as an evolution of the logo so many people have grown accustomed to — but, certainly, having the flat version is very beneficial as a starting point for all the movie customizations that are so popular nowadays. The new wordmark is quite lovely and I really like the blue tone on tone approach.
The simplified shield can take on a number of different styles much more efficiently than the old logo and can do so across any medium, from movies to TV to print. The shield as window (above)… a little trite but undoubtedly efficient.
The distinctive monogram has been expanded into a custom typeface, Warner Bros. Condensed Bold, used for the wordmarks of the various divisions and other display typography. Designed by Pentagram and expanded into a full family of fonts by Jeremy Mickel, the typeface has a look and feel that is uniquely Warner Bros., with condensed letterforms that relate to the elongated “WB” in the shield. Details in the logo’s letterforms are echoed in the font; for instance, the curvature of the “R” references the redrawn “B.” Like the redrawn logo, the typeface carries a sense of the company’s history, but is clean, modern and timeless.
I LOVE the custom type family. It has such a great balance of corporate-ness and fun-ness that is very hard to achieve. It’s like a comic book version of Interstate and, I dunno, I just think it’s working on all fronts.
Not much in terms of application but the few institutional materials shown are quite nice. Nothing super extraordinary or fun but very lively with the use of the bright blue and the single-color new logo.
Overall, this is a great evolution that makes the new logo more easily adaptable to the different content while giving the iconic “WB” lettering a shot at lasting another 100 years, even if someone puts a ring around it again — which is bound to happen when some future designer 30 years from now thinks that that nostalgic approach was the bomb.
See what else happened on Brand Neweach year since publication began in 2006
(Est. 2019) Braun announces a long-awaited comeback to an esteemed category: audio. After nearly one hundred years of inspirational design across a range of sectors, Braun Audio (no official link) returns with a reinvention of the timeless LE speakers from 1959. London, UK-based Pure Audio is in charge of the products: “True to our heritage and focus on beautifully crafted products, we are responsible for the development and manufacture of Braun Audio, under license from Procter & Gamble, and are pivotal to ensuring this iconic brand once again takes its rightful place as the industry benchmark in premium audio.”
Precipice Design is proud to announce its work re-imagining of Braun’s 1959 iconic LE speaker range. Celebrating Braun Audio’s rich heritage, Precipice Design developed all consumer and trade touchpoints including brand and product narratives, packaging, photography, iconography, digital assets, video content and point of sale concepts, helping to re-establish Braun in the premium audio sector. Inspired by Dieter Rams’ original designs, the new Braun Audio LE Series of smart speakers encapsulate the perfect combination of minimalist form and next generation acoustic technology tuned to perfection and built to last.
The imagery leans on the rich heritage of Braun while simultaneously placing the revived speaker in a modern setting. Where the original 1950s speaker would prove to be large and cumbersome in today’s home environment Precipice’s imagery shows how the reimagined speakers fit discreetly into the home. The packaging concentrates on the purity of sound and the richness of the brand’s heritage with only the key information about the product shown on the packaging. The uncomplicated packaging is typical of Braun and reflects the aesthetics of the classic speaker through dark tones and a graphic of the speaker itself.
Precipice Design provided text
Images (opinion after)
Yes, I’m a fan of Dieter Rams’ coolness. Yes, the Braun logo is great. Yes, this packaging is very nice and sophisticated and minimalist and all the good things we associate with the Dieter Rams and Braun brand. BUT this is so unexciting and expected. While that is mostly okay because it is all elegant and nice and looking its worth I feel like this could have been a great opportunity to breathe some new, contemporary ideas into the brand. I mean, Helvetica? (Although it’s most likely Neue Haas Grotesk.) This should be packaging for an alarm clock because I’m snoozing. (This is the probably the cattiest sentence I’ve written in years, sorry!, but that’s what Helvetica makes me do.) Overall, yeah, it’s fine, acceptable, and all competently executed but yawn.
See what else happened on Brand Neweach year since publication began in 2006
Way back when the Internet was young and early internet surfers were using 3600 baud modems to launch themselves via copper into the Netscape driven cyberverse, trust and identity were not really as important as they are today. Flash forward to today: Identity and reputation both play a critical role for re-establishing trust across digital communications. Who calls or emails us and their credibility (whether the caller or sender is someone who’s credible enough and worth the time of the recipient to respond) are key elements that help us decide whether to take a call, open an email or respond to an SMS. Precautions, such as two-factor authentication, is based on the fact that we can’t trust just one form of identity. I hate to sound like an alarmist, but the Internet can be a scary place.
There are a number of other technologies and initiatives aimed at ensuring trust. For me, as someone who appreciates the history of digital communications, it’s interesting to see all of these efforts trying to accomplish something that was invented more than 50 years ago: caller ID. Remember caller ID from the good ol’ landline days…where you could view the number that was calling you on your phone and see or hear the caller’s name and location?
Caller ID: Where has it gone?
The short answer is: caller ID still exists, but it’s a lot more complicated than you think.
When I said that it’s more than 50 years old, I wasn’t kidding. Caller ID was invented in 1968 by Ted Paraskevakos – long before cell phones were even an idea. The system that Mr. Paraskevakos invented (and Kazuo Hashimoto perfected in 1976) boiled down to this: when a person dialed another person, their phone sent a signal through the wires to the recipient. Landline numbers were (and today often still are) tied by physical wires connected to the local phone company’s central switch. In those days, a number was always identified with a specific address and location. Caller ID simply matched the number and location with the subscriber’s name and location.
How cell phones complicate caller ID
The advent of cell phones made the caller ID process more complicated. Cell phones now dominate phone calls. Nearly 55% of US homes in 2018 did not have a landline – only a cell phone. That number jumps to 77% when you only count millennials (aged 25-34)! The basic technology of cell phone calls involve the use of any number of various stops between multiple carriers. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 1600 phone carriers, all with their own networks and sources for caller information. A cellular call is not tethered nor dependent upon physical landlines. In the old days of landlines, your neighbor down the street was on the same network that you were on. Nowadays, your neighbor might be on AT&T’s network and you might be using Verizon’s, regardless of the fact that you live around the corner from each other. Just imagine how many places a signal has to travel to connect you to family and friends that may live in the next suburb let alone halfway around the globe. The complexity is mindboggling.
In the early days of cell phones, caller ID was largely dependent on the contact list stored in someone’s cell phone. For the most part, during those days, the only people calling each other were people who knew each other. From a product perspective, wireless carriers in that era didn’t see caller ID as critical as other services – like text and voice mail – because of the prevalence of the contact list. A lot of consumers felt they already had caller ID, and still do today. But, in reality, as has become apparent in an age of robocalls and rampant phone scams, the majority of consumers do not have caller ID, and trust in the overall communications process has plummeted.
There’s a link here with how companies viewed address books for email marketing. A brand who managed to get their recipient to add their from address to their email client’s address book benefited from improved inbox placement. Similarly, caller ID helped establish credibility when a company calls to schedule delivery or returning a customer service call. Again, we live in an era of trust but verify because our communication channels and platforms have been exploited.
Caller ID comes to cell phones
The wireless carriers did eventually get around to offering true caller ID in 2011 for around $3-5/month. The delay was partly because smartphones – which could accommodate the complex caller ID process – didn’t hit the market until 2007.
But the main reason caller ID wasn’t a priority? Because it really wasn’t needed – until the plague of robocalls, spoofing and phone scams started to become ubiquitous. That led to a demand for caller ID with a name attached to a number that showed up on the phone.
T-Mobile offers services like Scam Likely and Scam ID
AT&T customers can opt-in to services such as Call Protect and Call Protect Plus
Verizon has Call Filter while Sprint offers Premium Caller ID.
iOS 13 will give iPhone users the ability to route all unknown calls to voice mail thus preventing the delivery of robocalls, but legitimate calls in the process, how many of you store the number of your Doctor’s Office, and is it consistent for inbound and outbound?
The problem is, fewer than 5% of consumers have opted into caller ID and name services on their cell phones. Again, caller ID has been available – it just hasn’t been widely utilized by consumers.
And now, even with traditional caller ID enabled on their cell phones – like we used to have on landlines – consumers may still not know who is calling them.
The reason? Spoofing. In its simplest form, spoofing a number or email address means the sender is pretending to be someone they are not when placing a call or sending an email. There are legitimate use cases for spoofing, such as a doctor’s office calling you, or the placing of a call by a ride-sharing app to protect the driver’s and the callee’s personal information. In an age when the phone system is no longer tethered by copper but has gone virtual thanks to SIP calling, bad actors (and some good) can decide who they want to be when calling you. They can even call you from your number! Today’s caller ID system only uses the phone number associated with the incoming call to lookup the name and location of the owner of that phone number in the database. That doesn’t work with spoofing when a call might appear to be from someone you know, but in reality it may be someone with malicious intent spoofing their number to trick you into answering it.
So while caller ID still exists today and is readily available, it doesn’t instill enough trust for you to answer the call. There really hasn’t been a way to prove that the person making the call is indeed who they say they are.
The new (old) era of communications
Spoofing is why the communications industry is now starting to roll out a new technology known as SHAKEN/STIR. SHAKEN/STIR stands for “Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs” and “Secure Telephony Identity Revisited.” Simply put, with SHAKEN/STIR, the service provider that originates a call onto the public telephone network will cryptographically sign the caller ID and called number with a private key so the call can transit the networks securely. Upon reaching the terminating carrier, a public certificate is used to decrypt and verify the call.
Under this scheme, when a call finally reaches its destination it might be accompanied by a checkmark or some other indicator to signify it’s been certified as a legitimate call. Even for certified calls, the end user must still decide whether to take or reject a call based on the information they have.
The process is very similar to how websites currently handle trusted communications. Certification authorities (CAs) issue digital certificates verifying the authenticity of websites and their content. As a result, a user knows they are visiting a legitimate website, as opposed to one that has been setup to capture or steal information. This process is somewhat mirrored in the inbox by those little green and red lock icons you see in certain email clients that denote if the message was transmitted using TLS or if it failed certain authentication checks. This concept is finally coming to your mobile handset – and just in the nick of time! By some estimates, there are 9,500 fraudulent robocalls per second!
Times they are-a-changing!
In November 2018, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), required carriers to implement the SHAKEN/STIR framework to help establish the validity of placed calls by connecting callers and numbers through cryptographic signing. Remember caller ID? Knowing who called and being able to, with confidence, attest to the validity of that caller is critical to combatting spoofed calls and robocalls. Although SHAKEN/STIR won’t tell you exactly who called, it will provide a visual indicator that the caller owns the number initiating a call and help in tracing fraudulent calls. If a carrier can “automagically” tell that a call isn’t who it claims to be, or from whom it purports to have originated, then they can simply not deliver that call. This is pretty much how email authentication protects us from the rash of phishing attacks.
Earlier in the year, I wrote about the history of email in a 3 part series. Email had/has a similar authenticity problem: how do I know that the email I received actually came from the brand or person that claims to have sent it? As I said then, email was built at a time when trust and identity wasn’t as important. As the Internet matured and more of us came online, bad actors saw email as a highly exploitable channel. Standards bodies, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and their members took it upon themselves to create mechanisms to identify legitimate senders and drop the mail of bad actors pretending to be a legitimate brand. This potent mix of standards is now known as SPF, DKIM and DMARC.
The problem of phishing and spoofing in email is by no means solved. Bad actors continue to evolve their attacks. Simultaneously, the channel is thriving through evolutions such as Google’s AMP for Email and the renaissance that newsletters are having. Everything old is new again!
Wouldn’t it be great if the consumer had more information than just a green check mark indicating the call has been verified? For me personally, I’m not sure that would instill enough confidence to answer a call from a number I hadn’t seen or heard of before. Call me a skeptic. Numerous companies – both carriers and technology vendors — are working on solutions to make the call you see more friendly and informational. Some of the solutions out there not only verify the call, but also create the ability for the caller to transmit the reason for the call. In the hypothetical example below, how likely would you be to pick up the call if your flight was canceled versus how it’s done today with a 1-800 calling you? If I hadn’t put United’s number in my contact list, I’d never answer that phone call. What if the notice on your phone looked like this?
Established in 2002, Teach First is a non-profit social enterprise in England and Wales working to transform primary and secondary education at schools facing the biggest challenges and serving the most disadvantaged communities through the development of great teachers and leaders. Based on a two-year program, Teach First trains first-time teachers through a five-week intensive program before school starts and continues their development in the school where they evolve from an “unqualified teacher” to gaining Qualified Teacher Status then becoming a Newly Qualified Teacher and, in the end, gaining a Postgraduate Diploma in Education. The charity has now recruited over 14,000 teachers and leaders, 60 of which have become head teachers, supporting over a million students in the last 17 years. This month, Teach First introduced a new identity designed by London, UK-based Johnson Banks.
[The] task was to find a bold and differentiating new brand approach which used the new narrative as a springboard, tackled preconceptions and would be digitally led. It needed to reflect their evolution from a charity known just for teacher training, to one offering a range of school leadership programmes, supporting schools and helping teachers to thrive. And finally it had to be adaptable across a bewildering array of target audiences: graduates; teachers; professionals considering ‘switching’ to teaching; headmasters; government departments; philanthropists; corporate sponsors, and so on.
After extensive design stages and multiple rounds of audience testing, a clear winner emerged that is simple and bold, yet enables Teach First to move in a new direction. The idea begins with a simple T/F monogram that echoes ‘building a fair education for all’ and allows them to clearly identify themselves, from the smallest space on a social post to the largest billboard site.
The old logo, clearly, was not very interesting and that same lackluster-ness seeped into the rest of their materials and communications, yielding a fairly bland and unattractive identity. The new logo features a bold monogram that blends a “T” and an “F” into a strong identifier for the organization. An easy visual puzzle where triangles help define the letters, the monogram has a nice geometric basis to it that ties it to primary education. The wordmark, in a bold, spiky serif looks good and serves as a matching complement to the shapes of the monogram. The stacked version gets a little disproportionate with the huge monogram but it does work in cementing it as the clear mark for the organization.
[We] oversaw photoshoots across the UK featuring school children who were encouraged to be themselves – real, sometimes cheeky, always human – rather than fall back on the clichéd classroom shots that have become the industry standard. We also shot a whole tranche of teachers in a similar style.
The design approach continues with a new typographic language, punchy colour palette, bold graphic style and a revised art direction approach. We also introduced a snappier and bolder new tone of voice. Together with a newly developed messaging framework, this encourages Teach First to say less, not more, using straightforward communication in an increasingly jargon-heavy sector.
The identity revolves around some uplifting photography of kids mixed with equally uplifting copywriting that communicates the organization’s goal of changing the outlook of kids’ futures from a state of apathy to a state of optimism. Visually there are a number of things going on, some better than others. I like the crossed out, lame words replaced with positive words and the cut-corner holding shape for words (the ones that say “pauses” or “rise” below) but I’m not as much of a fan of the silhouetted photos with shapes or the combination of the serif with the light sans serif. As a whole, though, it’s a versatile and varied system to adapt to multiple uses.
Key to this relaunch, their ongoing teacher recruitment and the growth of their schools network is a multi-faceted, multi-channel advertising campaign. We have developed this based upon the idea of the choices that their many target audiences face – and that by joining or supporting Teach First, you can ‘alter the outcome’. Here are some examples.
In the campaign, the silhouetted photos start to look a little cheesy — it might just be the unnatural bright yellow and blue backgrounds because when they are on black it does look great. The A/B concept is good and decently executed but I wonder if the ads are relatively “complex” to be read on the fly — I don’t know if this is just me assuming that people don’t have the attention span anymore to take 5 seconds to decode an ad because phones. Again, I like the overall tone of how the A and B options point out the attitude of just letting things be vs. the way things could be.
Overall, this has an interesting aesthetic that feels academic and school-related while managing to also feel career-oriented for young professionals. Like, yes, it’s school-ish/college-y but something you could see at a career fair and where it’s clear that one could help make a difference.
See what else happened on Brand Neweach year since publication began in 2006
(Est. 1876) “The Football Association of Wales (FAW; Welsh: Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru) is the governing body of association football and futsal in Wales, and controls the Welsh national football team, its corresponding women’s team, as well as the Welsh national futsal team. It is a member of FIFA, UEFA and the IFAB. Established in 1876, it is the third-oldest national association in the world, and one of the four associations, along with the English Football Association, Scottish Football Association, Irish Football Association and FIFA, that make up the International Football Association Board, responsible for the Laws of the Game.” (Wikipedia)
Our iconic Dragon is inspired by the traditional art of Welsh slate carving, which can be clearly seen in its unique angles and crafted edges. Emphasising the claws and making our Dragon even bolder – the perfect foundation on which to build our new identity – adding substance rather than removing it to create detail. The Dragon’s silhouette has been sculpted into the shield shape that our National Teams wear on their chest. Meaning that the Dragon, even when removed from the badge, still represents the beating heart of Welsh Football at all levels.
A mix of tradition and modern style, our bespoke typeface has been beautifully chiselled to be robust, strong and dynamic. Inspired by the traditional Trajan typography, often seen in Welsh slate carving and the modern condensed typefaces used in sport – the influences combined results in a typeface that respects the traditions of our past, whilst living comfortably in a modern sporting environment.
The old logo was, for the most part, decent. A good, single-color dragon drawing and an okay crest shape with the only questionable element being the ribbon. As far as dragons go, the new one is great. The addition of the darker red for shading adds a lot great dimension and definition without muddying the drawing. All the tweaks to the silhouette of the dragon are solid, making it look more fierce and better defined. The single-color, completely-filled version is really cool, especially at small sizes as it retains the contour of the shield shape, which is even more commendable given that it’s an asymmetric drawing. The chiseled 3D version is bad-ass — maybe it picks up a little too heavily on the Wanderers FC stuff but this has a more depth (visually, not conceptually). The custom typeface… eh, it’s alright but looks like a Nike college kind of font, which is not entirely a bad thing, maybe just unexpected for a Wales national entity. The sampling of the visual language looks bold and exciting and I like how the dragon icon punctuates the applications. Overall, this is pretty tight all around and exudes a great sense of competitiveness. Lastly, props to whoever wrote the copy for the video… it starts out a little cheesy but it course-corrects quickly and it builds up so well that by the end I was like, “Fuck yeah, Wales! Get it!”
Thanks to Joshua Paines for the tip.
See what else happened on Brand Neweach year since publication began in 2006
Brand identity is what makes a company noticeable. Learn how to develop a top brand identity design for your startup or business.
When you think of identity, you think about the attributes that make someone the person they are. The parts of themselves that make them unique. Their identity can include the sort of person they are — their sense of humor, their personality, the things they think and believe — as well as the way they present themselves to the world — the way they dress, their general style, and any other badges they may choose to display.
A brand identity is no different, but instead of pertaining to an individual, a brand identity describes a company or a product line, or both. A brand identity is the entirety of a brand’s expression of itself to the world. So how does a brand accomplish this? How do we think of identity in terms of companies or products? And how can your business benefit from a comprehensive, cohesive identity?
Like a person, a brand’s identity can be defined through internal characteristics, or features that describe the sort of “person” a brand is on the inside, and external characteristics, or visual features that describe how the brand looks and presents itself to the world.
Expanding the analogy, the internal characteristics of a brand — the values it espouses and the personality it prefers informs its external characteristics. A person that really enjoys country music is fairly likely to make clothing choices that reflect this preference as a signal to other people. Same with brands. A brand that considers itself eco-conscious is fairly likely to make logo choices that reflect this in order to signal consumers of that particular value.
How these two facets relate to each other can be the deciding factor on whether a brand’s identity is successfully communicated or not. A brand’s external characteristics are far more immediate than its internal ones. If these don’t adequately capture the essence of the brands “inner life” then it becomes much more difficult to convince consumers that the brand is what it says it is.
A brand’s internal identity can be defined by many of the same characteristics we define individual identity by. This is because a brand identity is intended to accomplish the same thing. By defining a brand identity we’re attempting to tell the world what it is that makes the brand unique. We’re trying to create a robust image in people’s minds of what the business is all about. What they do, how they do it, and WHY they do it. What they feel about what they do.
The best way to think about a brand identity is to imagine the brand as a person and then consider how that person would express themselves.
When customers interact with a brand, “who” are they interacting with? If the brand were a person, what sort of person would it be? Excited and friendly or sophisticated and reserved? The personality of a brand relates directly to the sort of person your brand is trying to cater to, and the sort of person they expect the brand to be. A luxury car brand would have a very different personality than a late-night cookie delivery service. That’s because they’re catering to different people with different preferences, and these markets have certain expectations for the types of “people” these brands should be.
Related to a brand’s personality is its voice. If it were a person, given its personality, what sort of things might it say? This is extremely important for marketing purposes, where the goal is to communicate clearly and consistently with consumers. Just like a character in a movie, the things a brand says in its ads, on its website, and anywhere else it shares messages, its voice needs to be consistent. No one would believe the authenticity of a character that seemed to flip between voices throughout scenes, saying things that are inconsistent with things it said in the past. Likewise, a brand’s voice needs to feel appropriate to its personality and remain constant over time. Otherwise, consumers will have a difficult time believing it and connecting with it.
Like a person, a company can stand for things. It can value certain ideals. These company values translate directly to brand values and contribute to a brand identity. According to Harvard Business Review, 64% of people that say they have a relationship with a given brand give shared values as the main driver of the relationship. People want to know that the companies they give money to use that money in ways they would support, so defining your brand values is an important part of brand identity.
A brand’s mission is related to its values. What a company does is fairly obvious to the consumer. Why it chooses to do this isn’t. A brand’s mission gives the consumer context for the products and services it offers. It helps them fit the brand into its competitive landscape and gives them reasons why they should support it over some other brand. This is why you see a lot of companies today wrapping social awareness into their brand identities. It’s important to them that consumers understand they aren’t just doing what they do for the money but also because they want to affect some sort of good in the world. A brand’s mission “humanizes” them.
This characteristic is, in some ways, a summation of all the other internal characteristics we’ve discussed. It’s trying to communicate what makes the brand unique. However, it does this from the perspective of the competition. Instead of being purely descriptive, a brand’s unique positioning is also comparative. It looks at the competition — their identities and offerings and then contrasts the brand against these. Whereas everything before has simply said, “this is who were are”, brand positioning discusses this but also talks more about the competition, and then reflects on their undesirable characteristics the brand doesn’t share.
With all of these internal characteristics, it’s important that a brand’s handlers deeply understand exactly who the brand is and what motivates it. Otherwise, the brand won’t feel like a complete “person” to consumers, and consumers are less likely to accept it. Plus a poor understanding of who your brand is on the inside will make it very difficult to translate that to believable external characteristics that will resonate with the public.
Ultimately a brand’s external identity, or visual identity, is defined by its internal identity. The visual cues a brand uses to create its visual identity should be formulated with care to communicate the core of the brand’s internal identity quickly and clearly, as these visual cues are the most obvious facet of the brand’s identity. It’s the visual identity, paired with the brand’s voice, that people come into contact with before anything else, so it’s important that they complement each other.
A brand’s logo is a single visual symbol tasked with communicating as much as possible about the brand’s internal identity. Designing a great logo is no easy task. It involves distilling a brand’s identity down to its essence in order to create a single visual statement that immediately conveys the intended message.
The logo also sets the tone for all of the rest of the visual collateral that is created in the process of marketing a brand, so if a brand’s handlers get the logo wrong it’s possible the brand’s entire visual identity will inadequately express its internal identity, or worse, conflict with or confuse it, with dire consequences.
It’s critical that designers give careful, reasoned, and extended thought to a brand’s logo design.
The following factors should always be included in logo discussions, and in discussions for any complementary collateral, as these are the features that create the subtext for a brand’s visual identity.
Iconography This is the single largest consideration when creating a brand’s visual identity. In order to properly convey who/what it is, a brand needs icons and artwork, both in its logo, on its website, and elsewhere that instantly capture the flavor of who that brand is. It’s not just the chosen art, but also the style that matters. A more buttoned-up, corporate identity might require solid, imposing icons that convey strength, whereas a creative company might choose a quirkier, edgier style that screams, “We don’t subscribe to your corporate dogma…we do our own thing.” Art choices are critical for creating a visual language that agrees with and quickly conveys a brand’s internal identity.
Color Color choices have an effect on how a brand’s visual identity is read. If you’re attempting to convey eco-consciousness and you don’t integrate green across your visual collateral you’ve missed a huge opportunity to instantly convey that information. If your brand is feisty and gregarious and you choose mostly cool colors like blues, you’re likely not conveying your personality as readily as you might by choosing warm, active colors like reds and oranges.
Typography Your typographical choices convey a huge amount of information about your brand’s identity. If you’re a tech company you might want to choose sparse, sleek, modern fonts that convey a sense of looking to the future. However, that’s probably a poor choice of font for a home improvement company that’s more concerned with conveying trustworthiness and craftsmanship.
Each font family has its own in-built connotations that can amplify and clarify a brand’s identity when used properly, or confuse and muddle the message when employed poorly. Typography is an extremely useful tool for conveying a visual identity.
Imagery It’s important that the imagery a brand uses in its website, ads, billboards, and other visual mediums are consistent and convey useful information about the brand. A line of childcare products would likely employ an imagery strategy that focuses on happy families, with bright, beaming children. This imagery provides a quick snapshot of who the brand is and what they care about. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words applies here. You can convey as much information with the image you select for an ad as you can with the copy that accompanies it.
How you convey who you are is critical, because if your customers get mixed messages, or misread the message entirely you’ll have a much harder time in the marketplace. Just like with individual identities, people are friends with people they like. People they understand. Authentic people whose inner identities match what they show the world. If you get brand identity right you’ll find it much easier to grab customers. But it’s a process, so get started!
Established in 2009, Venmo is a mobile payment service that allows people to quickly send each other money through their app. Unlike PayPal (although owned by PayPal since 2013) where there are multiple clicks and screens required to send money to a friend, the Venmo app makes this process relatively easier and quicker (at least once you have located your friends — the few times I have used it, finding people, the right people, was confusing and uncertain). Transactions are free as long as the money is coming from a linked bank account, with money being made by PayPal from credit card transactions and from select merchants who accept Venmo as payment. In 2018, when Venmo’s popularity began to rise, it processed $12 billion in volume in the first quarter alone. Apart from the ease of use, what makes Venmo interesting is that its home screen is a feed of other users transactions so you can see either complete strangers’ or your friends’ payment activity — no specific amounts just who they paid and for what — which, call me old fashioned, but the first time I realized that my transaction subjects were public it felt very invasive. You can opt out of making your transactions public, yet this is what makes Venmo, Venmo… officially a “social payments app”. Starting with their social media, Venmo is rolling out a new identity designed by Koto.
The new electric blue retains the heritage of the original Venmo blue. It’s been tweaked to work harder and more consistently across all applications, on screen and off. A broader palette of complementary colours now sits alongside it. With its flexibility to be either bold or controlled, Athletics is the perfect typeface for Venmo, more than matching the energy of the rest of the brand. Scto Grotesk is a more functional secondary partner that still holds its own.
No, your eyes do not deceive you, there is nothing different about the logo, which remains exactly the same. The only difference is the tone of blue, which seems frivolous but, at least as a sample audience of one person, the first time I ever used Venmo, the shade of blue gave me pause in whether I would trust the service or not — it felt like a cheap color for an app from the mid 2000s. It didn’t seem right. The new blue is obviously on trend but it now fits within the vibrant Instagram/Facebook/WhatsApp shades. In terms of the logo, it’s a nice wordmark with a distinctive curly-esque “v”.
I have never seen any ads from Venmo so the above image is news to me and it does look direly boring.
Created in collaboration with Sebastian Curi, the new set of illustrations bring to life all the many experiences behind Venmo payments, from road trips to ramen.
Since day one, Venmo’s users have made it what it is. That’s why we’ve evolved the brand to celebrate the story behind a payment. Dinner tabs. A dollar to say hi. Last-minute concert tickets. The $6.8M spend on 🍕 last year alone. It’s an identity that reflects the real-life experiences users share – from the everyday to the totally random.
The new identity revolves around illustrations by Vancouver, Canada-based Sebastian Curi and, no doubt, they are pretty awesome, fun, vibrant, and exciting. You can see many more samples on his Behance project page. I do wonder, however, how sustainable this is beyond a couple of years? It looks like there is a wide library of illustrations but for how long and for how many messages can they be used? Maybe the answer is that it doesn’t matter and this is indeed part of a 2- or 3-year plan as Venmo escalates into its next stage and will then be able to shed this for whatever makes sense in the future. Right now, though, the message is: This is fun, jump in, ask questions later.
Already a key part of the product experience, we’ve rendered the Venmo payment feed as a graphic framework. This allows us to represent the app experience – and all the daily payments – in fresh and interesting ways.
The main application, if I am understanding this correctly from the samples above, is that ads will highlight either one transaction or multiple transactions, paired with relevant illustrations and then you are supposed to understand what Venmo does. Even though I already understand what Venmo does, the three examples above confuse me. It’s hard to tell if they are sample UI screens, actual ads, or just random stuff put inside a 1920 × 1080 canvas. I mean, they are fun to look at and I like the typography but I have no idea what exactly is going on.
Even the banner ads and social media posts which are a little more restrained in amount of elements are sort of ambiguous about the messaging, placing maybe too much emphasis on the weird ways people describe their payments or even making it too much about the names seen in the ads. I dunno, maybe I’m getting old — today’s my 42nd birthday actually, so that’s probably not it, LOL — or maybe I am expecting more straightforward messaging to appease the relative awkwardness of the app and its social component. In any case, this all makes Venmo look fun, accessible, and relevant for a younger generation with less hang-ups than me.
Established in 1849, Boots UK is one of the leading pharmacies-slash-health and beauty retailers in the UK. Owned since 2014 by American holding company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., Boots employs over 60,000 people in approximately 2,500 stores that range in sizes and services with most of them offering a pharmacy plus healthcare, personal care, and cosmetic products, while bigger locations can offer everything from optician services to photo processing. Earlier this year, Boots introduced a new identity designed by London, UK-based Coley Porter Bell.
Whenever you want to feel your best, you turn to Boots. Yet despite a high rating for trust, recognition, and value, customers felt that the Boots brand had become ‘dated’ and ‘old-fashioned’. The world of well-being has changed enormously over the last few decades. Being healthy is no longer about ‘the absence of illness’, it’s now a way of life and Boots was feeling pressure from all sides as everyone from discounters and bargain stores through to online brands were keen to become the next well-being partner in our lives.
The Boots brand purpose is to ‘champion everyone’s right to feel good’. Our evolved masterbrand identity projected the idea that ‘our confidence inspires your confidence’.
We liberated and crafted the Boots logotype from the restriction of the 1960’s lozenge, re-introduced the classically contrasting master-brand colours, created straightforward, simple type and typography, easy to read, modern in feel and symmetrical in design, built an imagery library that looks great and feels great, bringing to life people and their individual character. And finally, we created a flexible, energetic design system with a true sense of simplicity.
As a disclaimer: In this review I am 100% missing any cultural nuances about the legacy of Boots in the UK and the sentiments of people towards it. I assume it would be the equivalent of Walgreens or CVS rebranding where there a few contextual elements that help understand their place in the world. So, this is purely a design review. First, I’ll say that in no way would I ever associate the new, old, older, or older-er logos with a pharmacy or a cosmetic retail brand. To me, it looks like a clothing store but, again, I didn’t grow up with this so to folks in the UK this logo might scream Tylenol the moment they see it. The old logo was mostly okay, especially since it’s been like that pretty much for 60 years so it’s almost like it couldn’t be any other way. Without the new one I don’t think I would have realized how annoying the “t” extending all the way to the “B” really was but the new logo shows how much looser the logo is without it and how it allows the bottom swash to be more prominent. With that change alone, the new logo was worth the effort. Removing it from the holding shape is also a plus as it gives the wordmark much needed breathing room. Other small changes, here and there, all seem to be good. For the most part, even with a “big” tweak like chopping the “t”, the logo retains its essence and familiarity while providing a few new opportunities to use it more loosely in application.
A nice example of the closing statement of the last paragraph are these gift cards, which I think are the best representation of the redesign. It’s Design 101 in that it simply takes the logo, blows it up 500% and sets it as a visually receded background. Basic but particularly effective as the curves of the wordmark become somewhat abstract. The color combinations are pretty nice too.
The print/ad applications are a little odd. There is a good energy going on in the mixing and matching of sans serifs in roman and italic styles with a hand-drawn script but, especially in the brochure samples, it feels somewhat disjointed. Still, there is something good brewing there.
Some of the more retail-y applications are fine… hard to judge based on the limited set of renders. Like, the packaging seems promising but it’s hard to know if that’s the actual thing that will go to market. If so, wouldn’t it have been awesome of the logo crossed over from the lid into the body of the package on the creams? As they have it right now, it’s almost as if they put the logo back into a holding shape. Same thing with the vitamins, they re-constrained the logo to a band, instead of letting it break through.
Overall, this is all fine. Nothing groundbreaking or overly inspiring but enough of a clean slate to re-energize the brand at a time when retail can use all the help it can get.