Archive for January, 2019

New Coley Porter Bell brand identity

Jim, Colin, and Sally who founded our agency in 1978 and gave their names, Coley, Porter and Bell, were a force to be reckoned with. They believed in collaboration and ideas driven design, and recognised their role was to create opportunity and value for brands. Over the last 40 years with these principles close to our heart, we have helped many famous international brands deliver brand success by turning the changes and challenges they face into opportunities.

After 40 extraordinary years in design, now is the perfect time for us to update our logo to symbolise our refreshed outlook on the future, our own sense of momentum as we open our office in New York and to reflect our ambition to grow our business, our clients, our services and our people.

There are certain things you expect when any creative agency re-designs its logo, and these are to create something distinctive, striking, modern and with a story.To do this, we set out to modernise the look of our logotype, but to symbolise our new chapter by adapting the three founder’s names to three completely new words through the use of wordplay.

We created different combinations from other famous collaborative trios (like our founders) that achieve remarkable things together (e.g. Harry, Hermione and Ron), to capturing the extraordinary things we achieve with our clients in three words (not easy), to amusing well-known phrases and sayings we use every day. The final iteration celebrates and thanks the talented people who work in our business today

To add to the sense of craft and originality, our logotype was adapted from the typeface Montserrat and carefully crafted by the extraordinary typographer, Rob Clarke. We also designed a monogram version, specifically for use on social platforms. The result is a logo that not only symbolises our commitment to helping our clients create opportunity out of change and move their brands and their business forward, but also to moving our own brand forward as we step confidently into 2019.

Our new logo sits alongside an earlier evolution of changes to our colour palette, typeface, imagery and illustration style to complete the overhaul of our brand identity.

Vicky Bullen, CEO says “I instantly loved the idea and the new logotype the moment I saw it. I feel immensely proud of our agency as we celebrate our 40th year and now feel we have a brand identity that reflects our sense of ambition and excitement for the many years ahead.”

James Ramsden, ECD says “Designing a new logo and identity for your own agency is one of the toughest jobs to do. But what the team achieved has a fabulous sense of personality, playfulness and creativity at its heart, which is exactly what we set out to achieve with everything we design in our studio”.


Branding & Design trends for 2019

As 2019 gets underway, we asked Coley Porter Bell’s CEO, Vicky Bullen and ECD James Ramsden what’s in store for branding and design in the year ahead.

From brand inclusivity to visual differentiation to brand sustainability and more, they suggest that this year we’ll see trends from the last few years or so mature into a more mainstream position.

Here are their predictions…

Brand inclusivity

Brands will continue to embrace a more authentic reflection of the people we are and the things we care about. A broader set of brands will celebrate individuality, support freedom of expression, have a point of view and communicate social issues that matter to people. For example, 2019 has started with brands in the male grooming sector exploring how to re-frame todays idea of masculinity…

This means designers will be breaking down the tired design codes of yester-year and evolving them into fresher, more nuanced visual ideas across everything from content to tone to imagery, colour and design. This will also be nudged by a shift away from brands reflecting people with a flawless appearance, as we celebrate the beauty of imperfection and authenticity – think Fenty. Does this mean that brands and their identities will follow this trend and be less ‘perfect’ in how they present and manage their visual and verbal identity? An interesting idea.

From voice to voice and sound

Last year everyone was talking about 2018 being the year that voice really took off. (And yes, I wrote about it last year on the Ogilvy blog too!)

But (here comes the ‘Googled’ statistic) there are now more than 1bn Google Assistants and over 100m Alexa enabled devices in operation, meaning a quarter of US households have a voice assistant in the home. If you are a brand and haven’t already done it, it’s definitely time to face into the ‘How do I define the voice and sound palette for my brand?’ challenge. It’s only going to continue to grow over the next few years as we see voice and sound ‘follow’ customers around environments, cars, gadgets and more as it becomes an increasingly natural, contextual and fluid way to connect people, brands and their services.

This is still a very difficult challenge for designers and clients to creatively define as voice and sound is so subjective. What sounds ‘trusted and confident’ to me, I’m sure, is very different for you. This may well end up becoming a real ‘distress purchase’ for clients throughout 2019 as sound and voice become an increasingly essential part of the mix. We will see brands jostle for advantage across the platforms, and creative agencies with brand at their heart will continue to build out this experience for their bravest, most forward-thinking clients.

A return to visual differentiation

Brands are poised to return to a more expressive and visually differentiating approach to creativity. Over the last few years we’ve seen many brands and their identities evolve into a state of homogenization. Many logos, brands and websites in a variety of sectors are joining the crowd and adopting increasingly similar visual attributes. (We’ve all seen the posts on LinkedIn). It seems its mostly down to ensuring that brands ‘work online’ and have a ‘digital first’ outlook (table stakes in today’s world of brand). But, there’s a sense of irony here as the volume of ‘fragmentation’ brands have to embrace, combined with the ever-shortening attention span of users, is only making it harder for brands to ‘stand-out’. And at the same time we are evolving and designing less and less individuality and distinction into many well-known brand identities.

Now, you could easily argue that brands aren’t solely defined by their logo, and of course, we all know they aren’t. But, I do remember the days when all we ever talked about was ‘differentiation’, which it seems is what is starting to become less important at both a core identity design level and often their broader application or experience too. Shouldn’t we be designing brand identities that strike the right balance between being distinctive and memorable, and also working beautifully online? And that goes for the logo, the digital environments and everything in between.

One example of where we are seeing a challenge to homogenization is FMCG. Many categories are having their traditional ‘design codes’ turned on their head as new or artisanal, challenger brands come along and create a completely new way to interpret a tired category. This creates phenomenal ‘stand out’ on shelves and on screens and is challenging designers and creatives to think hard about what design cues to bake in to design and help people find what they’re looking for, whilst also offering something delightful and new.

This sits right at the heart of ‘design’ and is a big one for brands to be thinking about over the next few years.

Brand sustainability

When it comes to the impact a brand has on the world and its environment, we are going to see more and more brands move from ‘saying to doing’ as customers demand more transparency, care and honesty from brands.

There are already organisations with sites and apps that curate and connect customers to suppliers and brands that offer more sustainable items and methods of production, even credit cards that reward you for spending your money with organisations that show more care for the world. This will penetrate every sector more deeply over the next few years as brands look at how they can use design to help them bring goods and services to customers more effectively, efficiently, safely and consciously. Already this year has started with pilot schemes from supermarkets exploring a more limited use of plastic in grocery aisles.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen everything from fashion brands upcycling to hotels converting to refillable toiletries. Changes like these will continue to give brands new design challenges as they explore how to innovatively balance understood design codes with those of environmental consciousness. But thinking beyond that, how we design websites, packaging and create campaigns and content will be affected in many ways. The job for designers and creatives will be to discover ways to transparently share the often fascinating sustainability story behind the brand. This is where tech and AR can play a purposeful role, there are over 10 million interactions between customers and ‘smart packaging’ each year and this is going to continue to increase giving brands the opportunity to share how items are designed, created, shipped and more.

Brexit: A new dawn for British wine

Vicky Bullen, CEO of brand strategy agency Coley Porter Bell, discusses the growth of the UK wine market and how Brexit will affect what’s available to the consumer.

Propose at a dinner party that the UK is famous for wine and one will be met with disingenuity. Famously good at drinking, importing and selling the stuff, perhaps. But to quote Peter Ustinov: “I imagine hell like this: Italian punctuality, German humour and English wine.”

While the former two stereotypes will likely never change, English wine has grown up fast, from passable to drinkable to excellent in but two decades.

The UK is the sixth largest wine market in the world and the second largest trader by volume. We quaff about 21.3 litres of vino each per year – but very little of it comes from these shores. Globalisation has made access to Chilean Merlot or Kiwi Sauvignon as easy as turning on a tap. Australia, and perhaps surprisingly, America, dominate our national palate. And, naturally, we drink a staggering amount of European wine. But that could change.

Crashing out of the EU without a deal could limit access to European markets and increase the price of imported. UK Merchants are overstocking mostly French and Spanish plonk in preparation for that very situation. Bu with every problem comes opportunity. If imported wine costs more, because of increasing tariffs or exchange rate fluctuations, British winemakers can look to grow their domestic market share, and perhaps command higher prices.

Though, it has to be said that, at present, the UK has nowhere near the capacity to quench our collective thirst. Some 3.86m bottles of sparkling and still wine were released for sale in 2017, a year-on year increase of 64 percent. By comparison, France produces between seven and eight billion bottles annually. There are single vineyards in Bordeaux that produce over double in UK’s output.

This was originally published in FMCG CEO Magazine.

Read more in the original article here.

Cultivating brand advantage for CDMOs

Planning Partner, Joel Biswas from branding agency, Coley Porter Bell discusses tackling the perennial challenge of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

According to some estimates, the rate of failure in the drug manufacturing sector is as high as 97%.

For the rare examples of clinical success, it can take 12 years and cost as much as $2.7 billion to bring a therapy to market.

Unsurprisingly, it has often been easier to absorb rivals, buy market share or acquire the next blockbuster patent than it is to bet on your own R&D pipeline. In the heyday of the classic “blockbuster” model, the premium at the heart of an acquisition was relatively straightforward.

A brand was defined by an underlying technology in the form of a new therapy or treatment area and helpfully denoted by a patent. There was a clear, finite window of value, a simple distribution model, exclusivity vis-à-vis potential competitors and a measurable, addressable market. The moment that a patent expired, so too did an acquisition’s uniqueness, its margin and its value as a brand.

Years later, the era of blockbuster drugs is a distant memory. The innovation gap (or crisis) in traditional pharma is even more acute.

As incumbents look to shake things up, CDMOs increasingly appear to offer the promise of faster, better innovation and are commanding brand premiums of their own. Lonza’s acquisition of Capsugel and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s acquisition of Patheon are two recent examples of CDMOs’ growing clout in the M&A market.

But as CDMOs try to seize their moment, they would do well to avoid falling into the trap of communicating their value proposition (and therefore their brand value) in purely functional terms — what they do, where they would fit into an existing supply chain and how well they deliver efficiencies in comparable, industry standard terms.

Indeed, it is in the nature of an analytical left-brained industry to assess and communicate value in transactional terms.

But it reduces the potential value they can provide to that of an outsourcing partner or supplier, even if they boast a high degree of specialisation. And once you are understood to be an outsourcing partner, your only means of brand differentiation is cost.

And as any other industry that has undergone the outsourcing revolution knows too well, once your relationship is understood in terms of cost efficiencies, the race to the bottom has begun.

If CDMOs want to create genuinely differentiating enterprise value, they need to position themselves as innovation partners. Their functional competencies (however compelling) are no longer their unique selling point; taking a unique approach, adding perspective and delivering a culture that is value-adding is now critical.

After all, if pharma companies are to once again create rather than purchase value, they are going to need partners who offer more meaningful human and intellectual advantages than just supply chain optimisation.

They need Trojan Horses for new ways of thinking and doing. CDMOs who cultivate a higher order brand promise can be just that, while enjoying enhanced enterprise value, greater autonomy in any M&A situation and the kind of defensible brand premiums that, unlike a patent, won’t expire overnight.

This was originally posted on Manufacturing Chemist.

Helping M&S unleash the power of plant-based nutrition

Marks & Spencer has launched its new nationwide product range, ‘Plant Kitchen’ which positions the M&S brand as ready for tomorrow’s diet-conscious customers looking for alternative, healthy food. The ‘Plant Kitchen’ product range’s packaging was designed by global design agency, Coley Porter Bell, and helps unleash the power of plant-based nutrition. The stylish, vibrant ‘street food’ design embodies the modern, fresh and innovative feel associated with M&S, Britain’s highest scoring retail brand on YouGov’s ‘Brand Index’.

The pack design ensures the range overcomes the main barrier to adoption of plant-based food options, perception of taste, by celebrating the natural goodness of plants with a bold brand marque stamped directly onto a pure blue background. The design also conveys a positive, upbeat attitude to help the new range stand out, and places an emphasis on the contemporary craft movement that’s making inroads in British cuisine.

Featuring across 60 delicious meat and dairy-free plant-based fresh meals, salads, snacks and ingredients, the pack design ensures the new range is ready for ‘Instagrammability’ and is as equally comfortable on- and off-pack.

Plant Kitchen meals are the first M&S ready meals to use widely recycled trays, as well as foil trays and cardboard boxes. M&S is also replacing its black plastic trays with widely recyclable alternatives for its popular healthy eating range ‘Balanced For You’ from January, as part of M&S’s commitment to ensure all its plastic packaging is easy to recycle by 2022.

This article was originally posted by Packaging Europe.