As companies grow, they often risk losing control of their own corporate communication. The visual cues of communication instruments can become increasingly heterogeneous. There’s even a danger that companies may lose recognition as too many variations or sub-designs are developed. The Hanoverian Society advises horse owners on one of the most successful breeds of horses in the world. With the support of the Bremen-based Steinbeis Transfer Center for Integrated Design (i/i/d), the association successfully refocused its branding by cleaning up and modernizing its imagery and establishing coherent brand guidelines.
Corporate communication is a multifaceted discipline. Every visible expression of the brand – from business cards to headed notepaper, brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, the design of buildings, the desk in reception, email footers, website pages, every presentation, even promotional activity – everything has a design, each element conveys a message about the quality, philosophy, selfimage and customer orientation of the enterprise. Successfully merging materials and activities to focus resolutely on a common goal – and “living” a philosophy – has positive long-term impacts. Ideally, the messages conveyed by the company are condensed into a single, unmistakable, recognizable, and positively perceived brand. But often, a company designs materials that are simply too heterogeneous. Its product designer looks after the appearance of 3D products. Its graphical designer creates an appealing company logo. Its advertising agency thinks up a clever campaign. And if they’re unlucky, everyone interprets the brief and the image of the company differently, resulting in haphazard if not incongruous designs.
Alternatively, the company can approach the issue holistically, on an integrated basis. Different design processes and instruments can be dovetailed and coordinated. By integrating all elements of design, the company creates a clear, recognizable set of statements that is much easier (and cheaper) to communicate successfully than the heterogeneous alternatives.
An example of best practice in this area is provided by the Hanoverian Society. The term “brand” originally goes back to the branding of horses, so it actually stems from horse breeding. And the Hanoverian Society’s brand device is a prime example of a precise and succinct brand icon.
Unfortunately however, the Hanoverian Society had “let go of the reins” a bit in recent years when it came to its communication, partly due to its own success, which has been at an international level. Last year, the society successfully relaunched its brand. Central to its branding remains the Hanoverian H symbol, retaining yellow and black as this is already known internationally and thus good for recognition.
The brand is now part of an identity that forms an umbrella over the many Hanoverian associations, sub-associations, initiatives, promotions, organizational entities and even individual breeding farms, throughout the whole world. All media are now based on a clearly defined communication strategy and common design guidelines – from the “Hannoveraner” magazine to auction catalogs, headed notepaper, invitations and programs. The website will also adhere to these guidelines to ensure all media are clear and gain strong recognition.
The systematic design guidelines have other benefits, of course. Not only do they differentiate the Hanoverian brand clearly from the competition – and with it, the whole Hanoverian Society – they also make design processes and production more efficient. The identity and recognition of the Hanoverian Society grows hand-in-hand with identification with Hanoverian horses – something everyone in the Hanoverian fraternity can be proud of!
The i/i/d supports enterprises on a project basis or as a long-term consulting partner with the development of market-ready concepts, products and services. Its methods range from careful consideration of business potential to assessments of future market requirements. Its portfolio of services ranges from innovation strategies and corporate planning to communication design, brand development, industrial and interface design, and workstation design. It delivers products, processes and communications that arouse the interest of customers and users, and foster satisfaction – the foundation of sustainable success.