Refreshing the identity of a heritage brand
Our rebranding of parent company Smiths News PLC to Connect Group PLC presented a number of issues to market leading newspaper and magazine business, Smiths News. A subtle refresh was required to help solidify the brand’s independence moving forward whilst not losing trust or confusing existing stakeholders.
Smiths News has a strong heritage and employees share an enormous sense of pride in working for the business. Currently owning 55% of the UK newspaper and magazine market, Smiths News were not rebranding because they were in any sort of difficulty. Rather the business had evolved and its independence from Group needed to be articulated carefully.
We were initially asked to look at the company’s digital offering as previously the company shared a website with Smiths News PLC, the company's parent. From here it was clear that refreshing the identity along with considering the company’s internal and external communications was necessary.
What we did
Starting with the identity, we worked at sculpting the existing logo into a fresher manifestation. Typography and colour were both subtly tweaked, ensuring that the logo worked harder across on and offline communications but did not veer far from an already existing, successful brandmark. A secondary colour pallet was also introduced to assist in communicating the varying messages both to external and internal audiences.
Next, following a detailed discovery phase, we designed and developed a brand new, responsive website. The site had to appeal to a wide range of stakeholders, particularly to Smiths News’ varied Retailer and Publisher customer group. A thorough Information Architecture and User Experience phase was undertaken to ensure that each stakeholder group was sufficiently considered. This was the first time that Smiths News had ever had the opportunity to communicate its offering in a thorough and user-friendly way.
Finally a full set of communication templates and stationary was produced along with office signage and a Brand Book to keep the refreshed Smiths News brand on track for the future.
The brand refresh and website have been enthusiastically embraced by both internal and external audiences creating a renewed sense of pride in both the brand and the business.