Corporate identity · Graphic design · Thinking

We help businesses reach their full potential – through the power of purpose-driven communication design

Every company needs a purpose. Something beyond making money. It needs to be driven. It needs to make a difference.

But what is your purpose? Do you have one? When you own a purpose, you stand for something that is based on clarity and honesty, promise and delivery.

Great articulation of your purpose is everything. It will set your company apart from your competitors. The work must be positive, inspiring and charismatic. It must have beauty and brains. It must catch the eye and solve the business problem at the same time.

We have strong strategic instincts with an understanding of customer experience methodology, branding and advertising. We are fluent in industry and production processes, software, benchmarks, history and conventions. We are collaborative and are able to work with teams across different markets.

For inspired and focused communication design, look no further. Our work gets continued global recognition from our peers and industry press.

 

 

 

Thinking

These days a logo needs broad shoulders

Are logos necessary in this age of brand overload? Do we really need them when half the world converses using non-visual media like Twitter and Facebook?

More than ever. That’s the opinion of the experts.

For one, our media-saturated society is more visually-oriented, not less. A great logo helps your customers pick out your brand from the clutter. It reminds them why they love you. And it reassures them that their selection is a good one.

But exactly what constitutes a great logo? Is it a question of simplicity? Of boldness? Certainly, a logo should stand out. It should intrigue customers at first glance. But that’s only part of the story.

Great logo design doesn’t happen by accident. It comes about through deliberate, careful consideration of your company’s purpose, values, dreams and promises. There are millions of businesses competing with you, so it not wise to pin your hopes on some designer’s whim. Things need to be careful and considered. It is crucial that you ‘own’ an identity that is unique to your brand.

Your logo is no longer a simple visual identity. It is – in the words of the late Swiss brand guru Jørg Zintzmeyer – the projector, the screen and the content of the film being projected.

It should, in other words, have broad shoulders. It needs to express the Big-Hairy-Ambitious-Goal of your organisation. A BHAG logo tells the whole story.

At BHAG design (Beehag design) we strategise, conceptualise and design the major creative components of your marketing mix. From logo identity design systems to various brand communication exponents like web, promotion, experiential, broadcast and online video. Our business is to engage, excite and embolden the idea that ignites your business. Simplicity and clarity of message are our approach to brand communication, creating the most original and relevant design solutions.

And it all starts where it should. With your first foot in the door. Your logo.

Thinking

Forget Vision and Mission statements. What’s your Big Hairy Ambitious Goal?

Companies with a Big Hairy Ambitious Goal are motivated by the idea of making a difference. They look at unmet needs, under-served populations, and areas for improvement in the marketplace. Then they find opportunities to create something remarkable in that environment.

Compare that with a company that’s asleep on its feet. Because no one is engaged in anything exciting, the best the company can say about itself is painfully captured in a Mission Statement which sounds like any other Mission Statement – clichéd phrases, banal pronouncements, and vague assertions. Is the company living up to a large purpose? It’s hard to tell.

The BHAG building blocks for the road ahead

Organisations with a Big Hairy Ambitious Goal have three fundamental building blocks in place.

1. They are built to make a meaningful difference.
2. They are led by leaders with a sense of purpose who act as stewards of the BHAG.
3. These leaders bring the BHAG to life in meaningful and relevant ways both within the company and out in marketplace.

One, two, three. This is how they achieve the levels of performance experienced by extraordinary companies and organisations.

Find the thrill

What gives your people a long-term sense of purpose? What will inspire them to face up to very real challenges and give them the fortitude to push through the inevitable set-backs?

This thrill may come from anywhere. You may want to revolutionise your industry and grab an opportunity no one else has seen. You may want to delight your customers in a way no one else is doing. You may find a noble cause to serve.

Know thy company. Take stock of your unique strengths. Get in touch with your passions. Listen carefully to what the world is asking you to do.

Have the will

Desire is absolutely essential, but it is not enough. Your business model must enable your company to move steadily towards its Big Hairy Ambitious Goal. Everything must be geared to making a difference.

True BHAG-driven organisations find new ways to think about their business. They love questioning the status quo. They innovate. In the process, they develop products, services or experiences that are innovative in the marketplace.

Thinking

The secret of extraordinary companies

If your company has a Big Hairy Ambitious Goal, you won’t need the dry, dull wording of a Vision or Mission Statement. Your goal will be alive in everyone’s hearts and minds. It will be in the way they walk, they way get out of bed and come to work.

A BHAG is something they live.

But extraordinary companies don’t just happen. They’re planned. They’re based on a single-minded, radical strategy. Few initiatives will be as demanding of your leadership or as strategically challenging. It’s not easy to arrive at that focus. It will ask for your courage and clarity.

But once a BHAG is arrived at, it’s a door that opens. It’s something comes alive on a daily basis. A BHAG is alive! It’s extensively communicated through contemporary communication channels. It’s activated by interactive experiences, promotions and advertising. To keep things fresh, campaigns are reinvigorated.

Thinking

Words are the skeleton, the muscles, the tissues. Type is the beautiful woman.

Here at BHAG Design, we have a love for letters. We love them as physical entities, having abstract beauty of their own, apart from the words they may express on. It deserves to be precision kerned for esthetic reasons. It needs to have a minimal amount of word-space for uninterrupted reading. And we wouldn’t want to mix too many fonts together. Our love of letters is the beginning of our typographical wisdom and its craft is designed to give meaning beyond words. Typography is one of the pillars we are building our brand design business on. If you need help or advice, knock on our door. You might get lucky when a beautiful woman will answer your call.

Thinking

We have won more than 260 creative awards for our work (so far)

We have won more than 260 creative awards for our work, locally and internationally. Many of those, we are proud to say, are for effectiveness. We have been lucky enough to work on a wide range of clients, from iconic brands to nerve-wracking start-ups. From a single logo identity to fully-fledged multimedia ad campaigns.

How does an award-winning project start? Well, there are no guarantees of course, but maybe it’s because we start asking our clients why they are in business exactly. Every company needs to create loyal customers, generate revenue, and satisfy shareholder expectations. But it’s how they’ll do those things that’s important. Why are they in business? The more original and sincere their answer is, the more it matters to their customers, the more people are likely to buy into what they have on offer.


Thinking

Work that catches the eye with intrigue – and solves the business challenge at the same time

Your brand needs to solve real business problems. And it needs to make friends and to expand your sphere of influence. That’s where we come in. Joost Hulsbosch’ BHAG Design builds creativity into brands. You will see the results in the way your brand starts to look, speak and behave. It will suddenly have an energy and personality. Your brand story becomes something people want to share.

Velocitynet, the Ghanian telecom provider, is overhauling its brand identity. The company would like to tell the story of being truly connected at every point of access across its satellite and terrestrial networks – but in a uniquely Ghanian way. We like to think our work, which draws on traditional drum carvings found at King Opoku Ware’s 15th Century grave, does this. And highlights the letter V.

velocitynetRhands using digital tablet PCvelocityweb

Corporate identity · Thinking

Fascinate or Fail

Why are you captivated by some people but not by others? In a distracted, overcrowded world, why are some brands fascinating while many (most) fail to truly intrigue us?

Fascination. It’s in the songs you remember, the person you marry, the employees you hire … and the brands you love. It’s more persuasive than marketing or advertising. In our experience, it’s the most powerful way to influence decision-making.

But where does fascination come from? What triggers it? And how does a company put those triggers to use?

Fascination starts with universal triggers: lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice, and trust. By activating the right triggers, you can make anything fascinating. To activate fascination’s irresistible influence, we look beyond marketing clichés and delve into customer’s behavioural and social studies, historical precedents, neurobiology and evolutionary anthropology, as well as conducting in-depth interviews, to emerge with deeply rooted patterns for why, and how, we become captivated.

Whether you realise it or not, you’re already using these triggers. The question is, are you using the right triggers, in the right way, to get your desired result?

Award-winning logo identity for Infinites, 24/7 contemporary jazz and chill. Infinites is an DAB streaming music station from Greenwich, CT, USA.

 

 

Thinking

Style > it simply helps clarify complex things

In today’s overcrowded marketplace, style helps you get noticed. It focuses people’s attention on your presence. In itself, that is a sound reason to invest in your brand’s visual communication, but the benefits go deeper.

Style makes the connection.

Style helps you connect with your audience; it can evoke an emotional reaction that gives people a reason to choose your brand. Done correctly, style helps your communicate with your audience on a visceral level. It helps your resonate with your audience.

Embrace style. Harness its power to cut to the chase.

A1 Poster / 2013jukebox

Thinking

We develop iconic brand personalities that stand and deliver

We’ll be asking you the following questions when we start working on a new brand identity / communication project.

You’re business is here to make money. But how are you going to do that?

  1. What does your business do?
  2. Why does your business matter? What is going to do that other companies aren’t doing?
  3. What difference will it make? How will it make people’s lives better, faster, slower, easier, cheaper, more exciting, more relaxing, or whatever the case may be?
  4. How are you going to look different? How are you going to stand out?
  5. What is the business idea or the philosophy behind what you’re doing?
  6. What is important to you? Why, in fact, are you here?

Answer those question and, as if by magic, your logo is no longer some airy-fairy thing. It matters. Now you have a basis on which to evaluate how your logo and identity should work for your business.

In a wildly competitive world, where the tiniest margins count, can your logo and your corporate identity help you communicate those things above? They should.

In a world where it is truly difficult to find a competitive advantage and hold onto it, you need everything about your business to be working as hard as it can. And that includes your brand.

If your product is what you are, your brand is who you are.

A logo is at the heart of your brand. And your brand is who you are. It’s your personality. It’s how you become meaningful in people’s lives.

A great logo will be:

  • Easily recognisable – which probably means it will be utterly simple
  • Distinctive – which probably means your logo needs to start life by being different
  • Memorable – something that will only come with time but means that it needs to have both credibility and vision.

Great logo design requires a complex mixture of design skills, creative theory and skillful application. Any designer worth their salt can create a fit-for-purpose logo, but truly mastering all aspects of the craft takes time, skill and persistence.

As with any creative endeavour, it’s really easy. All you have to do is wait for the drops of blood to appear on your forehead.

NINTHhouseID_Page 1Iconic logo for Ninth House Network, corporate educational development

Thinking

Every company needs a Big-Hairy-Ambitious-Goal

Does your company have a Big-Hairy-Ambitious-Goal? You may think it’s to make money, to create shareholder value, to grow. Every company needs to do those things. It’s how you’ll do those things that’s important.

“Today’s extraordinary businesses are driven by Big-Hairy-Ambitious-Goals. They own an unconditional, inspirational directive about where the business needs to go in the world. Especially during times of great economic uncertainty, a BHAG is the key to creating and maintaining a high performing organisation, deserving just as much attention as strategy, execution and innovation.” Indra Nooyi, Chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo

The world’s most powerful companies own a Big-Hairy-Ambitious-Goal.

MultiChoice Africa is not just another satellite TV provider. It’s purpose is to ‘enrich lives’ across the continent, bridging the divide through broadcast content in education, news and entertainment.

Nike/Inc is not just another manufacturer of sports shoes and clothing. It is a company that embodies the spirit of winning.

The Coca-Cola Corporation is not just about producing sugared, carbonated water. It’s about enjoying life.

Orange is not just another telecom provider, it’s about optimism. (The future is bright. The future is orange.)

Nando’s is not just another fast food franchise. It is a spicy part of South African life.

Avis is not just another car rental company. ‘We try harder’ has become their business-model.

Paris is about romance. Rugby is about tribal warfare. Greenpeace, standing up for the defenseless. Apple is about thinking different.

To own a Big-Hairy-Ambitious-Goal is like to own a deep-seated conviction. It is the key to a high-ground no one else can claim. People are drawn by its sense of purpose. People want to be part of what’s happening and they want to work or invest in you. Everybody wants to belong.

Do you have a BHAG?

“I am prepared to bet that in almost all medium to large-seized companies, half the available energy is untapped. Develop a consistent company idea and you will generate enough magawatts for one long and progressive sweep into the limelight” Jack Trout, Strategic management consultant and author.

Thinking

Interactive, visually-led storytelling that fuels the heart and mind

Even large corporations and governments have now recognised the value of giving the public the power to influence key decisions and have adopted socially-oriented business models. This past year, for example, Iceland invited its citizens to submit suggestions and comments on a new draft constitution using Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. In October, 66% voted in favour of basing the new constitution on this crowdsourced document.

Brands are moving past social media marketing to incorporate social mechanisms into everything they do, from supply chains to customer service to product design. This is ushering in a new age of collaboration and transparency. Part of the success is not only the idea behind the projects, but about the way it is designed, the way the story is told. Result are measured not only by social media strategy, but a visual social media strategy as well.

Thinking

Meticulous crafted ideas that work online, offline and ontime

Sometimes we’re ashamed to find ourselves working in an industry where standards and good taste can be substandard. We distance ourselves from this malaise.

We prefer to deliver quality.

We like our design to work across all touchpoints.

We take pride in delivering the audience your brand deserves.

We help you hone a message that cuts through.

We seek clarity to deliver a competitive edge.

From commerce to charity, education to leisure, we bring inspiring concepts to life through simple, brilliant communication design.

Award-winning advertising for Appelsientje fruit juices, The Netherlands.
Editorial design · Graphic design · Thinking

We live in a fragmented world — how to maintain a unified brand?

How can brands nimbly navigate the difficult waters of increasingly fragmented markets? How can brand managers win back some of the control they have lost to consumers in the age of social media?

Take for instance the Gap logo fiasco. The company had to pull back its new logo in the face of intense online backlash from consumers who wanted to keep the old one. By contrast, Starbucks’ rebranding and its new siren logo were mostly evaluated as a success. What then determines the hits and the misses in the new branding era?

The answer may lie in how well companies adopt a “transbranding” philosophy and management system.

“Trans” is derived from Latin and as a prefix means “across, on the far side, and beyond.” We commonly use words like “transportation” and “transfer”; in both cases, “trans” connotes a bridging characteristic, whether it is between places, conditions, or people. Thus, transbranding is using brands to connect and effectively move between divergent markets.

Branding has always been an important part of marketing strategy, since many consumers use brand attributes to determine their purchasing decisions. The branding dialogue in the past was predominantly led by marketers, but in the digital era of today, that discussion is heavily influenced by other voices, such as by social networks. This results often in a varied and potentially conflicting narrative about a brand. Transbranding is a call for marketers to retake the initiative in integrating the communication of their brands across offline and online domains.

Companies or people that are successfully pioneering transbranding demonstrate some key “trans” qualities in the following ways:

1. They are transitional. Sometimes a company and its branding has to evolve to align itself with its changing market environment. When this happens brands have to provide strong leadership to make sure its loyal consumers do not feel lost by radical changes, such as by an unexpected new logo. Whereas the Gap stranded their old customers with their new brand identity, Starbucks initiated a longer, integrated, and open effort to help their partners and patrons to transition to the rebranding effort. More specifically, by keeping the siren, Starbucks signaled that the familiar retail experience would continue. But importantly, by omitting “Starbucks Coffee” in the logo, it communicated that its business also consisted of non-coffee categories — in the present and possibly more in the future.

2. They are transcendent. Instead of just catering to the idiosyncratic demands of the micro-segments created by new media, brands should also try to aggregate consumers by finding an appeal that can transcend market differences. A recent Harvard Business Review blog about Gangnam style discusses how a video sang almost entirely in Korean nevertheless became a global viral sensation because, at the core, the music, the humorous visual content, and the artist Psy himself were all universally liked. Brands, too, have to search for that kind of power to attract across seemingly variant markets.

3. They are transformable. With digital domains, like smartphone apps, becoming a new and important battleground, branding elements now need to be visible in a much smaller or dynamic setting. Case in point: DC comics now uses a “living identity,” where its new peelable logo reveals its many superheroes. Whereas its former identity was singular and static, the new malleable brand ID can be flexibly fit to properties, characters, and media, such as in digital devices, where consumers can playfully interact with it.

4. They are transparent. Domino’s Pizza created a stir by conducting a bold campaign where it openly discussed the consumer dissatisfaction and quality issues facing the brand and how it was going to overcome them. Brand transparency is important in honestly addressing consumer complaints, especially since, when left alone, they can be spread quickly on social networks. Companies, however, need to determine the proper level of brand transparency by weighing its impact on other branding factors, including trust, mystique, storytelling, and surprise.

While it is true that the changed media landscape has made life difficult for marketers, the good news here is that a transbranding mind-set can help managers cross over the old-school and new-school branding divide.


Dae Ryun Chang is Professor of Marketing at Yonsei School of Business, Seoul, Korea. Follow him on Twitter at @daeryun. Don Ryun Chang is professor of branding and design management in the department of visual communication at Hongik University and a former President of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations.