Aug 28, 2020

Apart, but still together.

Last week Steve Wait, CEO at the Business Centre, reached out to me after reading an article about iconic brands altering their logos to send a message of solidarity and promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This got me thinking about the role of design and brand for businesses and how it can help to tell your story.

Your brand is a reflection of who you are, what you stand for and ultimately expresses your purpose. And when I talk about a brand I’m not just talking about your visual identity, brands are defined by their actions and the experience of their customers and clients.

Besides making a lasting impression on your audience, the role of branding is also about presenting an image of what you can offer to your customers and clients. It is a way to differentiate yourself from your competition and to establish your business as the best choice among other brands.

In late 2017, the Business Centre engaged Ronnoco to develop a new visual identity that expressed their story with clarity and simplicity. The team provide a foundation for advice, learning, mentoring and accelerating, working with business owners from all walks of life to achieve their business dreams.

They thrive by making people their purpose.

The brand icon is an expression of their positioning line ‘Empowering people through their business’ and their on-going commitment to businesses wherever they are in their life cycle. The two intertwined circles represent their holistic approach to delivering advice, mentoring and business education with foresight, energy, empowerment and diversity. And the colour palette is representative of the energy with which they approach their work.

Coming back to my conversation with Steve, how can we express our commitment to social distancing and show respect for the vulnerable in our community? And how can we use creativity to share this challenge?

A certain amount of backlash has been levelled at brands for creating ‘socially-distanced’ versions of their logos but wanting to educate, communicate and encourage physical distancing as a necessary safety practice at this time is a worthy addition to the conversation.

Of course, there’s a fine line between being relevant and being opportunistic.

Actions speak louder than words or a logo tweak. Everything you do or don’t do communicates.

“I want to encourage respect and doing good,” Steve said. “Businesses should be expressing how they are considering the safety of others. Our activities and actions are always for the benefit of our clients, it’s in our DNA.”

As a result of the conversation, we revisited the brand icon and considered the difference between the initial concept and the new story we were endeavouring to communicate.

Fundamentally the offering is the same. Ongoing commitment and empowerment. But the intertwined circles could suggest a physical closeness between advisor and client which, at the moment, doesn’t express the actions of the team at the Business Centre.

Apart, but still together.

“Our relatively simple adjustment to the Business Centre brand icon is an expression of ‘business as usual’ but conducted at a safe distance out of respect and care. It’s not forever it simply tells the story of where we are now.”

How are you and your business expressing your commitment to your customer’s or clients safety? Consider engaging a designer to explore ideas on how best to communicate your commitment effectively.

Raz O'Connor