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  • Posted by: Claire Falloon on Tuesday, September 24 2013 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

    People have been letting their fingers do the walking since 1886, when the first official Yellow Pages was invented. But now there’s a new way to get everyday tasks done. Enter YP, “the new way to do”— or, the Yellow Pages reinvented and rebranded for a new audience and a new age.

    Anticipating the decline of its print business, and recognizing the need to make a strong move into digital and mobile channels, YP has focused its vision.

    YP Rebrand

    With brand strategy and identity created by Interbrand NY and a fresh advertising campaign by BarrettSF launched this week, YP targets a specific group—“doers”—with a clean, bold, and direct approach. Through its app and website, YP appeals to this task-orientated segment, making it easier and quicker to get things done.

    YP Rebrand

    YP is now poised to bring in more mobile ad revenue than Twitter in 2013. The new branding is designed to do the same, aiding doers with clear, quick, communication and celebrating the act of finishing.

    YP Rebrand

    Looking to create a timeless mark, the logo moves away from the app-inspired jewel to a custom-crafted YP configuration underlined with a simple yellow bar. The gestures of the doer inspired the design team: underlines, checkmarks, circles, and highlights — where the yellow line becomes a visual shorthand for efficiency and task completion.

    YP Rebrand

    Clean, bold, typography within the brand system makes headlines quick and easy to read. Refined and focused use of yellow—a color that was previously used gratuitously as a signature cue—now points the way to useful information or highlights a result. A brisk, direct, brand voice brings refreshing personality to headlines while swiftly and succinctly delivering only what the reader needs to know.

    YP Rebrand

    From the original analogue search brand, the brand update signals a refresh in relevance, and places YP firmly in the here, now and beyond.

    Claire Falloon is Associate Director, Verbal Identity, Interbrand

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  • Posted by: Amy Edel-Vaughn on Sunday, February 3 2013 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

    Forbes published an interview before the big game with Interbrand executives and a panel of industry insiders, discussing their picks for the most anticipated Super Bowl ads of the year. Super Bowl Ad Watch from brandchannel has kept readers in the loop on upcoming ads, brewing controversies and new brand developments ahead of Sunday’s game. During the big game branding lovers are tweeting with @Interbrand about the #superbranding action, sharing their take on the ad action.

    Chris Campbell, Executive Creative Director at Interbrand, shared with Forbes that he was looking forward to the new Kia Space Babies ad and “seeing how this new character will come to life and engage consumers following the Super Bowl spot. The hashtag #SpaceBabies on Twitter is a start, but the brand will need to think strategically about how it users Twitter (and other social platforms) to not talk to consumers, but with them – creating a rich and meaningful conversation.”

    Campbell noted Claire Chai, SVP of Brand Marketing at Kia, when talking to Interbrand about the company's goals said, "Our mission is to become one of the most desirable brands in the automotive industry by providing a different type of driving experience that will enhance people's lives and enrich them every day."

    Kia’s advertisement, Campbell says, “is a clear articulation of that goal in the marketplace – as the kid in the backseat breaks our cinematic gaze with ‘But Jake said babies are made when mommies and daddies…’ - dad cues the voice-activation system and the music that follows averts the seemingly awkward situation. ‘It has an answer for everything’ appears next and clearly reflects Kia's ambitions to improve the customer experience.”

    Stuart Green, CEO of Interbrand Asia-Pacific, adds, “The ad reflects KIA's brand positioning particularly in the US, but also globally. It showcases how they have been expressing the brand - highlighting ‘family values,’ but also keeping it fun, by targeting people with a 'young at heart' disposition. As this ad is for Kia's Sorento SUV, the coming together of family is particularly well executed.”

    Another Super Bowl auto ad standout for Green is Ford’s Lincoln spot. “Ford is in the process of reinventing the Lincoln brand. For Generation Y consumers, mention the name Lincoln – and it will probably evoke images not far off from our 16th president – likely their grandfather sitting behind the wheel of a town car,” he says. “The company is trying to change that and reach a new generation of progressive luxury buyers, particularly with its new MKZ mid-sized sedan.”

    He adds, “As one of the few Super Bowl ads that didn't already appear online, I am looking forward to the result of its Twitter crowd-sourcing initiative – and seeing its first-ever Super Bowl ad, especially in the form of 140-character tweets. It's always exciting when a brand is able to reinvent itself and what I have seen from their previous TV ad spots, Lincoln has been able to weave in its heritage, while still emphasizing that is capable of transforming consumer expectations.”

    As Green mentioned, a number of Super Bowl ads were released ahead of the game. Does this weaken their impact or can it help build conversations and help the brands?

    Rebeca Arbona, Executive Director, Strategy & Research for Interbrand, weighed in saying, “If it’s a good ad, yes it can be advantageous to share it ahead of the Super Bowl. At Interbrand we believe that one of the drivers of strong brands is presence, the idea that a brand is in the consumer's world and being spoken about favorably, so it makes sense to be everywhere you can.”

    “But whether or not it gives them a bigger return, in terms of driving sales, depends on a lot of factors,” Arbona explains. “First and foremost is whether or not people like the ad, so that you're creating positive buzz or negative buzz. And does it clearly communicate a consistent brand-building message that makes people inclined to think favorably about the brand and its products?”

    Scott Lucas, Executive Director of Interbrand Cincinnati, concludes, “As Super Bowl mania ramps up, people tend to be swayed by a combination of memory, loyalty and buzz when it comes to ads. If a brand had a great ad during last year’s Super Bowl, people expect an encore. If they love a brand, they’ll want to see it come to life—in full regalia—during the big game. Others get caught up in the pre-game hype. They’re anticipating an ad because they were told it was going to be good.”

    “From Interbrand's perspective,” Lucas says, “the ads we’re most anticipating are not necessarily the ones that are generating the most buzz. The ones that are truly smart, strategic and tie into the brand proposition.”

    Amy Edel-Vaughn is Interbrand's Community Manager.

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  • Posted by: Amy Edel-Vaughn on Wednesday, January 30 2013 04:49 PM | Comments (0)

    AVIAGE Systems, looking to position itself as “a global civil avionics leader,” turned to Interbrand to develop a new, cohesive global brand identity for the organization. AVIAGE Systems is a joint venture between GE Aviation and AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China ).

    The company was unveiled in Zhuhai, Guandong China and will be headquartered in Shanghai, China with support sites in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA and Cheltenham, UK. AVIAGE Systems is working with clients on projects such as the COMAC C919, a new narrow-body commercial aircraft being built in China.

    AVIAGE Systems

    Nate Manning, General Manager of AVIAGE Systems, says of the logo, it conveys a “message of strength and optimism about the future.” The name AVIAGE Systems honors the joint venture between AVIC and GE and the Chinese name, 昂际, means “open to the future of aviation and soaringfreely without boundaries.”

    "In approaching the design for AVIAGE Systems, we wanted to honor aviation, a market where design elements frequently celebrate and reinforce tradition, through the visual of the cock-pit,” said Mike Knaggs, Interbrand Creative Director. "At the same time we wanted to push the design further than what is typically seen in designs for brands in this space and convey flexibility and innovation. Through the wings, the logo conveys AVIAGE Systems' openness to customers' changing needs, expressing the business opportunity of open systems.”

    “We wanted to create a symbol that would serve as a functional tool in both English and Mandarin and would visually capture the excitement for this unique venture's business opportunities," Knaggs notes.Manning adds, the logo symbolizes, “the improved flight experience and advanced operational environment brought by AVIAGE Systems’ open architecture and integrated avionics solutions.”

    AVIAGE Systems

    Rubén Galgo of brandemia says of the design, “Hoy nos hacemos eco del nacimiento de un nuevo gigante de la aeronáutica internacional.” (“Today we echo the birth of a new international aerospace giant.”) “Visualmente estamos ante una marca compuesta (símbolo + logotipo) o imagotipo, muy bien diferenciados. Hay gente que también verá en ella dos alas juntas o un avión en vista cenital… es como mirar a las nubes, cada uno ve una cosa diferente,” he adds. (“Visually this is a mark (symbol + logo) or very distinct imagotype. Some people also see in it two wings together or a plane overhead view ... it’s like looking at the clouds, everyone sees something different.”)

    He concludes, “Para mi, un buen ejercicio.” (“For me, a good exercise.”)

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  • Posted by: Miriam Stone & Kurt Munger on Friday, December 14 2012 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

    University of California Logo Controversy 

    We all know that brands are more than just logos. Yet without careful planning, the launch of a new logo can result in a reaction that places undue focus on the visual elements in isolation. After all, logos are powerful symbols. They can trigger emotions, surface memories and subconsciously influence our opinions of brands.

    University logos are no exception. Some of our most formative years are literally spent living the brand – sleeping in its dorms, wearing its clothing, graduating with its diploma. So it should have come as no surprise to the University of California system that its newly designed logo sparked emotional reactions.

    Indeed the passionate response from students, who are no strangers to protests, and alums who remain deeply connected to their alma maters should come as no surprise. Although the logo will not live alongside logos from individual campuses and does not replace the university seal, the community feels strongly enough that more than 50,000 people have signed a petition to stop its use.

    Even organizations with much bigger budgets for such endeavors find that launching a new logo can be a complex thing to pull off. Just ask The Gap, Kraft Foods and Tropicana, to name a few.

    Psychologically, people tend to like things that are familiar, so we can feel attached to established logos without being able to articulate why. Logos are also inherently subjective; if our first sight of a new logo is through an outraged friend’s Facebook post, we might be quicker to jump on the bandwagon than if we’d stumbled across it on our own.

    Yet the University of California did not seem to plan for a strong reaction from their engaged community. They launched the new logo and visual system more than a year ago with little fanfare. Their brand website provides no information about the strategic need for a logo refresh, save for a video showing the visual evolution of the logo and visual system.

    Without a strong business rationale for why the logo needed to change and what the design was meant to achieve, people were left to scrutinize the aesthetics alone. Confusion abounded about the role of the new logo. (The blog Teaching Design provides an excellent breakdown of the misunderstanding).

    At Interbrand, we believe that great brands generate involvement and participation. They invite people into an experience instead of just talking at them. While the University of California initially sidestepped – intentionally or not – a meaningful dialogue with its stakeholders, that conversation can no longer be avoided. How the organization reacts now will be a true test of the strength of its brand, regardless of what its logo looks like.

    Miriam Stone is a Senior Consultant, Strategy for Interbrand San Francisco and Kurt Munger is Creative Director, Interbrand San Francisco.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Wednesday, November 28 2012 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Nicole BriggsAssociate Trademark Consultant, Interbrand New York, Nicole Briggs' insights on the impact of changing collective thinking and behaviors on brand logos are featured in this month's Retail Focus:

    Evolving styles, technology, business models and product offerings eventually push most brands to refresh - or even reinvent - their logos to stay relevant. When done right, a logo change can successfully differentiate a brand, give it an updated look and feel, signal a new direction or shift consumer perception in a positive way. It sounds easy enough, but knowing when, how and to what extent a logo should be altered is trickier than you'd think.

    Most of us know what a logo is, but not everyone knows why logos are so important. Advertisers, psychologists, neurological researchers and savvy business people, however, know that the human mind processes, stores and recalls symbols or visual cues more easily than sounds or words. By developing a logo that elicits a positive response and making the right connections between that symbol and certain products, companies can capture the attention of consumers build loyalty and market to people all over the world.

    On the most basic level, a logo identifies a company or product through the use of a symbol, mark or signature, but it is also the face of the brand, embodies its attributes and functions as a vital communicative tool. A logo that "works" is usually simple, easy to interpret and subtly conveys multiple layers of information. It allows us to instantly grasp what a brand stands for, what it offers us and whether or not it is relevant to us.


    The symbolism of a logo can be powerful and universally appealing, which is why skillfully designed logos often resonate with people of all ages, nationalities, languages and cultures. In fact, for many companies, it's an indication of success when a brand is simply recognized by its logo. As a result of extensive marketing, Nike, for example, has become a dominant fixture in its category and can stand on its own with just a symbol, which nearly everyone recognizes. McDonald's is another classic example of a brand that is instantly recognized around the world by its famous golden arches. Sometimes a logo - which distills the essence of a company into its simplest form - identifies a company so well, the company name doesn't even have to be mentioned.

    Though an iconic logo may lend personality to a brand, function perfectly well as an identifier, promote public recognition and offer differentiation, even the best logos sometimes need to be adjusted. When times are changing, companies feel the pressure to keep up with new trends, boost sales and set themselves apart from (and ahead of) the competition. When a company's marker no longer seems to fit the business market, an aspect of the design seems out-of-date or no longer represents the company, or when a company is beginning a new era, it may be time for a logo transformation.

    For the Full Story.

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