Voices | Brand identity
An imaginary start-up called Voices, focused on voice activated financial transactions needs to launch their product in Portugal, focusing mainly in payments (local and international) and savings.
They are targeting heavily in the attraction of an adult group of consumers (25 – 35 years old), living with an average salary and not particularly tech savvy, but excited about voice control technologies and its benefits.
As branding expert Marty Neumeier says, a brand strategy is “a plan for the systematic development of brand in alignment with a business strategy.”
In order to develop a brand strategy for Voices, we need to split the process into three distinct parts: from Brand Heart (the core of the brand), to the articulation of the Brand Messaging (how to talk about who we are), to the Visual Identity (visual expression of the brand).
Our Brand Heart is comprised of four elements:
- Purpose: Voices was created to make financial tasks effortless, revolutionising the voice-transaction technology.
- Vision: We want to revolutionise personal banking by making financial transactions faster, easier and more convenient.
- Mission: Our mission is to make your life easier by creating a bridge between human voice and financial services.
- Values: Our values orbit around 5 concepts: trustworthiness, boldness, playfulness, humbleness and unpretentiousness.
Our Brand Essence consist in 3 different elements: personality, voice and tone. We have to take a closer look into our target audience and Brand Heart in order to define properly our personality.
Voices personality can be define as uplifting, empowering, inviting, personal. Our brand voice then will be direct and easy-going, but keeping it smart. We want to be inviting and reach our customers with a playful tone.
A strong visual identity is meant to be purposeful, our good visual identity was created to be flexible (it can easily grow with the brand), comprehensive (providing a toolkit) and intuitive (well constructed so that each element complements the other).
The visual identity explained next, gathers: Logo, Typography, Colors and Imagery.
Starting this project, we must do an extensive market research with the main companies our brand will compete in the space. Focusing on researching those ones that already have a great presence in Portugal with same target audience. Among the most popular banks in the region, we find the followings.
From the branding perspective, we can highlight:
- In 2020, Revolut released a new logo, switching it to a more simple sans type and keeping the Brandmark with the characteristic R.
- Simplicity on Revolut’s colors, separating into only an accent and white, but being playful when it comes to Social Media – with high contrast colors.
- Type goes in hand with their new redesign logo, using BasierCircle Typeface (Sans Serif) in all their communications.
- Web and app are highlighted for their accessibility and bold colors; make them fun and easy to use.
From 2018, their branding has been updated to make it more appealing to their target customer (mainly Gen Z and Millenials):
- Logotype is simple and bold, and it can be found across all communications.
- Colors are on the pastel tonality, with complementary tones, which help to create a wide range of colors and usages.
- They keep their social media and advertisements with clear colors – mainly with the teal and its complementary – including simple 2D animations and direct texts.
- Type, as happens with Revolut, stays on the Sans Serif side, using GT America.
As for their branding:
- Logotype stays as one line type logo, with a composition in lower case , which “values the proximity and the relationship established with every audience”. It also includes the voice shapes, as “an expression for the collaborative process”, and is characteristic for its symbolism, engagement and simplicity.
- Simple blue color range with an orange for accent color.
- Social media communications are based on text and photography to explain benefits of the bank, and other special promotions/events.
- Type, as in the other competitors, is Sans Serif based.
As for their branding, we can highlight:
- Logotype and brandmark are used independently or together, which gives their brand different usabilities across their communications.
- Colors are simple, using their bold blue, with accent color on green and complementary yellow.
- On social media we can see heavy usage on iconography
- Blue as main color, with direct, bold and simple messaging.
- As for OOH and prints, they focus on highlighting their value proposition with very bold and short copy.
- Type, as happens with the last two competitors, stays on the Sans Serif side.
For several years now, banks have been moving their customers out of their branches and onto digital channels. The reason for this is obvious. Moving process-driven interactions to digital channels and keeping more complex matters in-branch meant they saved on costs while protecting personal relationships with customers. Although many people welcomed the shift to digital, certain customer segments still preferred to visit their branch for even simple transactions.
Looking at the main competitors that Voices has in order to launch their product in Portugal, we see that the visual design has been generalised within the banking and financial-service companies. And not only within the banking field, this new clean and accessible design guidelines has been implemented in a wide range of tech companies.
As main points for our brainstorming process to create the branding for Voices, we have to take under consideration:
A) Importance of accessible design system. Is clear that these competitors are using and updating their branding elements to be accessible to everyone, maintaining all design elements clear, simple and easily adaptable.
B) Usage of owned and paid social media advertisement to promote products and build diverse digital marketing campaigns.
Core Brand elements
To craft the visual identity, we pulled inspiration from the history of bookmaking and editorial layouts. Typography scale and layout play add visual interest and are a nod to that visual research. To create a sense of a warm embrace and a spark, we developed a dynamic, painterly illustration style and emotive photography. Bringing it all together creates a brand that is uniquely Voices.
After gathering some visual references on visual elements, logotype, color palettes and layouts, the main takeaways were:
- Heavy usage of green and blue colors across multiple range of companies – specially fields related to finance and lifestyle.
- Lineart as visual support – these elements are used in order to communicate easy flowing or connecting thoughts/features.
- Bold texts across media – highlighting the main features the product offers.
A good logo is a memorable logo, and research shows that the most memorable logos are the simplest logos; one of the most powerful methods on designing a logo is based on assigning different attributes to different shapes that reflects the Brand Strategy explained before. In order to do so for Voices, it’s needed to identify the main attributes that make it exceptional and different from the rest of the competitors, which is in this case, the voice function.
So the logo is based on 3 different attributes: voice control, peer-to-peer transactions and interconnection.
First fast sketching process
Digitalising selected sketches
Typography is more important than ever, as people are consuming words in multiple mediums. Following from our Logo, Poppins is the typeface that will represent Voices across all communications.
Using only 4 different weights out of the 9 the typeface provides, using them differently for headlines, regular texts, disclaimers, OOHs, SoMe, etc.
Color is one of the most powerful yet mystifying elements of branding. Research suggests it can affect everything from brand perception to purchasing intent, yet it is a bit of a tricky science. Not all colors evoke the same things in everyone because our associations with color are very subjective. That’s why it’s important to do an intense research on target audience and their emotions when it comes to the different color variations.
Different researches on color physiological analysis say that “cool colors” as green, blue or purple are usually calming and soothing, while “happy colors” as pastels like peach, light yellow or lilac can also have an uplifting effect on your mood. From here, the color palette of Voices was developed, creating 2 variants of blues, 2 variants of greens and a 2 “happy colors” that are used across app and social media, lilac and pastel yellow.
Imagery is more important than ever, now that so much of the brand is communicated through visual media. The photography and characters should align to our brand messaging and strategy in general. Taking our target audience (25-35 years old Portuguese people, living with an average salary) as main protagonist in our communications, in their casual activities and daily surroundings, keeping a happy and positive attitude.
Supportive visual elements
As supportive visual elements, our Brandmark will be key to increase brand awareness and connector between our messaging and imagery.
A digital campaign
Firstly, it’s needed to identify and develop a digital marketing strategy in order to launch a digital campaign. For that, we need to gather the goals of the campaign, in this case, as we’re launching our product in a new country. The main goal of this campaign will be brand awareness, so our customers understand what Voices is offering, its benefits and product.
To increase and build this brand awareness, we need three core pillars:
- Marketing — leveraging paid and non-paid marketing opportunities to expose our brand to the target audience.
- Messaging — developing a strong value proposition to communicate to our target audience.
- Nurturing — delivering on our brand promise and incentivising customers to promote the brand to their network through word-of-mouth marketing.
In this presentation, we will focus mainly on the Marketing core element; using different communication channels: owned, paid, and earned media (complementing also with paid print media – like DOOH or OOH).
Social Media Ads
Designing the SoMe marketing strategy should be focused in, as previously explained, brand awareness – focusing the attention on the target customer about the benefits of using Voices as their daily financial service.
Firstly, we need to understand the general behaviour of our target audience – which are Millenials. This group, are most likely to get news from social networking sites; 95% aged 18-34 follow brands through social media, and 92% of them own a smartphone.
So in order to reach them, we need to put focus on the different social media platform they use (from more to least used on a daily basis): Facebook, Youtube and Instagram are leaders.
In order to stand out from our competitors, we need to highlight the voice technology system the app uses as a primary selling point, so all the advertisement will communicate the hassle-free financial transactions using the voice.
Following the Brand Strategy and goals of brand awareness with this digital campaign for Voices, it’s important to have moving ads to show the most relevant features offered for the customers.
As seen on the right side, the priority is showing: firstly, the app and how it looks like when signing up; and secondly, with bold and visible copy, explaining the benefits of using the app.
Storyboard for animation
Display advertising refers to the placement of company ads in various online locations, including search engines and social media networks. Paid placement in search results and pop-up ads are examples of digital advertising.
Following the same strategy on the OOHs designs, it’s important to have the Brandmark as center of attention in all banners, as we want to increase brand awareness. To adapt this, we combine with our imagery, supportive visual elements (such as the Brandmark as moving thread), color palette, and Wordmark on the corners, including in these digital banners a big, bold CTA, where the customer would be redirected to the relevant App Store in order to download the app.