How design can boost clients' profits

Jim Bull (Co-Founder and CCO of Moving Brands) and Minni Lakotieva (Principal of Moving Brands) chatted to DesignWeek on why creative excellence isn’t everything.

When a business is already doing well financially, improving a client’s bottom line can mean hiking things up a notch. This was the case with global agency Moving Brands’ rebrand of cloud consulting pioneer Bluewolf in 2015.

“Bluewolf was growing, so it knew it was doing things right,” explains Moving Brands senior consultant Minni Lakotieva, “but to be able to compete with some of the large technology integrators, like Deloitte, the company needed a stronger brand that communicated its strengths to those customers that hadn’t yet heard of it.”

The first step was to find the story that separated the company from its competitors, through stakeholder and client interviews and workshops. “We found Bluewolf has a strong company culture of problem solving and whiteboarding,” says Lakotieva. “There’s the attitude that if they can solve it in the room while the client is there, then they’ll do it there and then.”

From this insight, Moving Brands decided to communicate Bluewolf’s people-centric approach using visual cues from the whiteboard, such as crosses, rings and strikethroughs in bright colours, and snappy action-driven messaging

Bluewolf was acquired by IBM for a reported excess of $200 million.

The visual system is striking at any scale – which is useful, given the numerous conferences the company is involved in – but also works in analogue, as consultants can use the icons and Sharpie-inspired colour palette in-person with clients. “The success of the project comes from the fact that we made what Bluewolf is all about visible to everyone outside the company,” says Lakotieva. “It’s true to them, because it’s really them.” This external clarity clearly hit the mark – in 2016, Bluewolf was acquired by IBM for a reported excess of $200 million.

A rebrand can also be a call to arms internally. In 2015, another thriving technology business rebranded by Moving Brands – third-party logistics company Coyote – was similarly acquired, in this case by shipping giant UPS for $1.8 billion. Coyote’s CEO Jeff Silver said the rebrand had “a huge impact” on the acquisition; something Moving Brands co-founder and chief creative officer Jim Bull attributes to employees contributing to the project, cultivating a sense of pride and belonging. “Coyote used the rebrand process to bring people together – for example putting ideas from the workshops up in meeting rooms,” says Bull. “When it changed the brand, it captivated everyone in the organisation.”

Read more insight and perspectives on the moving world here.