Setting the standard for a connected IoT industry
Established in 2002, with wide-ranging global membership, the Zigbee Alliance had evolved from its inception (focusing on Zigbee technology) to overseeing multiple standards for the Internet of Things (IoT). With the Zigbee Alliance having outgrown its name and direct 1:1 connection to its protocol, Interbrand’s challenge was to create a new brand that could represent the Alliance as the foundation and future of the IoT and as an organization with far greater reach and responsibility, enabling collaboration and innovation across the industry.
Interbrand conducted stakeholder research, while collaborating alongside a working group that included members from The Alliance, Apple, Amazon, Google, SmartThings, Schneider Electric, and NXP Semiconductors. Working in this style felt true to the nature of the Alliance itself, a catalyst for creativity and collaboration. Early findings pointed toward a strategic approach to naming: (1) retain the equity built into “Alliance” as a descriptor, (2) be descriptive and big enough to capture all the standards the Alliance oversees, (3) speak to connections—this is what the Alliance enables between members.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance was created. Descriptive and rooted in “Connectivity,” the name positions the brand as caretakers of multiple standards, helping clean up the brand architecture as well. The closing descriptor, “Alliance,” was maintained to keep existing equity and smooth the transition.
The next challenge was to find the right visual expression for the Connectivity Standards Alliance. The goal was to capture the feeling of an organization that helps people work together and make progress in the field of IoT. The monogram, the short form CSA, is stylized with a connective ligature reflecting the joining together of members, of companies, and of a smart world. This connective ligature was applied throughout, namely in a custom font created by Interbrand. This style reflects the connections made possible by the Connectivity Standards Alliance. This font is paired with a complementary font that excludes ligatures to retain professionalism and legibility. Complete with a graphic element, the Superconnector, this system was designed to evoke a feeling of boldness and movement, while expressing the core theme of connectivity – of the IoT and between its members.
With 8 companies involved, we consciously over indexed on getting to know each team member (family, hobbies etc.) at the outset of the process to build stronger relationships. We had a weekly cadence with all the team to review or input on the process at every stage. Each decision was a true team effort from start to finish.
To hit tight deadlines, Interbrand and the representatives of each company worked across the creation of the Standard (Matter) and the Alliance brand (CSA) simultaneously.
The whole process was designed through a series of workshops, where decisions would be made as well as new weekly tasks would be set.
IB Approach: The new Alliance brand severed the traditional 1:1 relationship between the organization and the standard it promotes. Instead, the new organization would be responsible for a host of technology standards, so our role was to make them stand for something more aspirational to guide the IoT community.
Strategy Process: The Alliance, as an organization, has a strong vision around building a more connected future that improves how people live, work, and play. But when we began this project, the Alliance’s was too connected to a single technology, Zigbee. Its ambition to be a vanguard in the IoT industry required a new name and brand that positions the organization at a higher altitude, as an author of universal open standards like Matter and Zigbee and a champion of its members, who are some of the most important B2C and B2B technology companies in the world.
Naming Process: With the strategy determined, we needed a name that could be trademarked globally and understood easily, favoring descriptive names. The steering team shortlisted together and gathered feedback from their own member organizations. A final name was selected in connection with exploration of how it would come to life in visual expression.
CSA Name: Unlike the technology standard (Matter) we wanted the Alliance to be direct and communicative about its role in the world. Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) was selected for its clarity and potential to encompass a fast-changing landscape.
Design Process: Once we had a shortlist of names, we began creating a series of short design vignettes, that would help align the steering team on how the brand should appear, and what personality it should have. This helped align and edit down towards the desired tone and reach for the alliance.
CSA Monogram: With a long name such as Connectivity Standards Alliance, it was clear the organization would also gain recognition for the acronym CSA, so we wanted to leverage that as a shorthand. The design solution was to introduce a monogram with a simple ligature to connect the ‘S’ and ‘A’ together, representing the inclusive nature of collective innovation.
CSA Typeface: CSA’s role is as a connector of ideas and people in the technology industry. It’s a place to share thoughts, speak to peers and grow important bridges between individuals and companies. To represent that spirit, we created the font ‘Assemble’, which has 127 unique ligatures that join specific characters together, instantly turning any headline copy into a simple, but powerful branded moment.
Client: Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA)
Agency: Interbrand New York
Executive Creative Director: Oliver Maltby
Executive Strategy Director: Andrew Miller
Verbal Director: Blaine McEvoy
Account Director: Engy Neville
Namers: Jack Stiuso, Rachel Loucks
Designers: Daniel Ioannou, Andrew Bellamy, Liora Cher, Spencer Seligman, Eddy Lee
Strategists: Charlotte Li, Yulim Heo
Industrial Designer: Alex Nys (Lemanoosh)
Joe Stubbs, [email protected]
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Interbrand is a part of Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC).
About Omnicom Group Inc.
Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 70 countries.
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