Our company (Obscure) recently branded and designed The Coaching Doctor website along side other marketing communication material. Our client and subsequently his clients are thrilled by it. Our client’s Australian mentor has declared this website as a Gold Standard for her students (i.e. health & wellness coaches) in the sense that their websites should aim to meet the standards set by Obscure. That’s great news for Obscure and we are loving every minute of it! The visiting cards of the Coaching Doctor look so delicious in their warm chocolate brown – you are actually tempted to eat them if you could! You have to experience it to believe it.
Obscure Interactive is a user-centered design consultancy which I have been a marketing consultant for since the past 2 years. We have recently launched our new website (http://obscure.pk) with a new brand identity. The old logo of Obscure Interactive, which was a result of a brainstorming session, had an asterisk sign (*) and green and black were the corporate colours. The old brand identity of Obscure was stolen by a competing firm operating from Karachi as their own logo. Even their website seemed to have been inspired by our old website design. Lucky for them, we had already scheduled time to work on Obscure’s rebranding initiative. We figured that it was time to push things into top gear instead of taking action against the offenders – legally and socially.
We took the rebranding of Obscure as a full time project with identified tasks, milestones and deliverables. The brainstorming sessions which involved white boards, markers, good old multi coloured post-it notes, and many a piece of paper resulted in a thorough analysis of the market situation and Obscure’s position in it. We worked through it all – competitor analysis, SWOT analysis, the brand essence which involved heated discussions between the lead User Experience Designer and myself, and the brand personality that was initially quite hard to define.
Since we are a company which believes in creating meaningful user experiences in the online connected world, we were faced with the challenge of communicating the same through our brand identity. We chose a rather odd colour – a sunlight copper- to represent energy. The use of an arrow in the logo depicts goal-directed motion. Also, it symbolizes a human figure which shows the importance of people at each stage of experience design – the people for whom the experience is being designed (our client’s customers), the people who design it (a vivacious team of user experience designers + marketing strategists + architects), and the people who ask us to design in the first place (our clients). Finally, the use of a circle symbolizes completeness and implies a sense of security.
In terms of communicating the core message of delivering quality every time, we came up with the idea of documenting our approach (http://obscure.pk/whatwedo.php) and case studies. We still have to add more case studies along side adding a “Buzz about Obscure” section. So keep visiting!
User-centered design plays an extremely important role in branding a product. Once brand associations are built, they are difficult to change. Apple changed its logo quite successfully from a colorful apple to an apple in a solid color. Now that worked out just fine as they had reinvented themselves and the design philosophy went hand in hand with the much evolved product line. Not so much the case with Ikea (http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1919127,00.html). We are witnessing a font war these days as Ikea fans fume over Verdana.