Taking stock

Have you ever wondered what a rebrand looks like? We know from first-hand experience, of course. But we thought it would be interesting and insightful to sit down with our branding agency, schneiterpartner AG, and ask them a few pointed questions about the process. Here’s what they had to say.

Marcuard Heritage: What was going through your mind in the early stages as you were taking a closer look at our corporate image?

schneiterpartner AG: What struck us at first glance was certainly the firm’s long history. It also became clear that you have a solid team that identifies with the company and is willing to go the extra mile. However, we couldn’t really spot a clear brand, meaning there was no brand image to reflect the way people felt about Marcuard Heritage. The firm’s look and feel also felt outdated and not very cohesive. We felt there weren’t any real points of reference for employees. In other words, there was no brand strategy to accurately reflect the firm’s corporate strategy, to bring it to life, to make it visible.

What did you need to tackle first, and what was your plan of action?

In our experience, the process of developing a corporate identity works best if it happens in the context of a clearly designed, well-structured project that involves all stakeholders right from the outset. So, that’s how we started. Working together, we developed a project plan and got everyone on board.

“Clearly defined values and a clear brand promise.”

What were the biggest hurdles to overcome?

The biggest hurdle was creating and developing a unique selling proposition (or USP) that would be truly convincing and strike a balance between the firm’s history and its future – a USP that employees could identify with. Again, a clearly defined project strategy was essential – one designed to give employees a significant voice. And that would include the board. A company’s board can become a hurdle if it’s not involved in the process.

Apart from the project design, it also helps to have clearly defined values and a clear brand promise – meaning a brand strategy that the board of directors or company owners understand and fully support. This builds confidence, which spills over to the company’s management and employees, who then take ownership of the process and become brand champions.

Right from the start, we welcomed the fact that all stakeholders showed a high level of trust and a great desire to help shape the process and make a positive contribution. This was felt and experienced throughout the project and made each step in the process go more smoothly, whether  collecting documents and approaching partners for interviews or holding brand workshops and getting the necessary approvals. This allowed us to find common ground and work out a forward-looking brand strategy that would serve as both a guideline and a driver.

How did you come up with the new logo? And how does it reflect the new brand strategy?

This may sound obvious, but once you have a brand strategy, you need a brand that fulfills that strategy – through its appearance and in the way people see and understand it. So, when you set about to change a brand or create a new logo, the market and the general environment provide the initial basis for fleshing out and developing a USP. But the process must always remain grounded in the brand strategy. In our case, that meant fulfilling the brand promise of “Home of Trust” and embodying the brand values.

Visually, this entailed having specific images in mind that we linked to the brand promise. For “Home of Trust,” these included mood images of a library along with images evoking feelings of closeness, connectedness, and family. By visually reducing the name Marcuard Heritage to its two initials (MH), we intuitively transposed those images into a logo that depicts the keys of a piano or books on a bookshelf. A simple, stylish wordmark – Marcuard Heritage – accompanies the logo, so that together, they convey a sense of precision, style, closeness, connectedness, and trust.

“Together, they convey a sense of precision, style, closeness, connectedness, and trust.”

The new brand has been in place for over a year now. How do we ensure our new brand identity will become even more firmly entrenched and make a lasting impact?

It’s basically all about internal and external communications. Most importantly, the brand identity and all brand communications should always lead back to the underlying brand strategy, the brand promise, and the brand values. This also means living the brand identity within the firm and making it more widely visible and perceptible to the outside world. That creates added value that circles back into the brand and into the company – and is how a brand identity becomes broadly understandable and understood.

It’s essential to closely analyze the key touchpoints and release content on appropriate channels in suitable media formats. Optimizing the depth, breadth, and intensity of external communications is also important in order to engage a variety of target groups and increase brand awareness and visibility. This will ensure you continue to convey your values, demonstrate your advantages, and make your brand stand out from the crowd without neglecting internal communications or forgetting to stay rooted in the brand strategy.

How long does it usually take until a rebranding takes hold?

It always depends on how consistently and faithfully the brand strategy is transposed and lived, but it generally takes around three years. Of course, brand management plays a major role – meaning how it’s handled internally and externally, in terms of both content and communication frequency.

A path of trust

Together with schneiterpartner, we’re optimistic that we are on the right track – a path of trust. Our rebrand was a massive undertaking. It took the commitment of everyone to get it right. But considering the response from our team and our partners, we couldn’t be happier with the result or about our prospects for the future.

About schneiterpartner AG

Schneiterpartner is an independent, owner-managed Swiss branding agency that uses its powers of creativity and cooperative working style to develop brand strategies that hit the mark, thereby creating distinctive brand identities that bring lasting added value for companies, products, and publications alike. Whether it’s about corporate identity, packaging design, or corporate publishing, schneiterpartner sees its core strength as providing brand experiences. For more than 30 years, schneiterpartner has set the standard in the targeted convergence of the digital and analog worlds.