The Climate to Move Ahead™
- Nov 01, 2019
- IN Branding
- BY: Steve Gallagher
British Columbia based Hiway Refrigeration Ltd. were seeking expert brand and creative guidance when they chose to engage Tugboat Group. The fifty year-old refrigeration equipment installation and support company had recently acquired Alberta based Eskimo Refrigeration, as well as Alberta based Chill-tech refrigeration, and the merged western Canadian organization needed a new name and a new brand position. Tugboat’s methodical approach to brand development was the ideal fit for a CEO wishing to engage ownership and senior leadership in a process proven to deliver results and establish consensus among all participants.
Formulating an authentic, written portrait of a brand is the essential first step of every Tugboat positioning and/or naming project. Authentic in that it is not prescribed, but drawn from product ownership or corporate leadership, and written in that it is a considered portrayal that is easily conveyed. Some call this the brand story. Others, the brand mantra, or personality, proposition or promise. We call it the brand essence, a highly descriptive written expression of the brand that is current, forward looking, owned and authentic.
For Hiway, a full day group visioning session at a remote, undisclosed location was all that was required to wrangle stakeholder alignment and unearth enough material to fully load the brand chrysalis. Once the intangible attributes comprising the foundation of the brand were established, we ran several personification and affinity exercises to create the details to inspire colour, texture and tone. The brand wasn’t built in a day, but after just one we had the source material that we needed and the organization was aligned. Rationales had been defended, concessions made. All participants were onboard, and we were moving in the same direction, at speed.
Back in the Tugboat wheelhouse we got to work on the materials harvested from the session. As is usually the case, there was a great deal of data to sift and merge and, ultimately, distill into the brand essence. We tested ideas with Hiway along the way, and made the small adjustments needed to keep the stakeholders united. Within a week of the initial retreat a distillation of the session had been confirmed, and a summary of the brand outline presented. This document contained a definition of the brand essence (the stated position and commitment), provided rationale for the outward-facing tagline that sums up the essence, defined the pillars that support the claim (made of key points), included an ownable definition / description of the intangible and emotional product (with examples of how we might bring this brand promise to life) and, finally, the brand inspiration—the mojo.
"I love it, and there seems to be lots of opportunities to build messaging around these pillars that really reflect who we are, and who we want to be."
Just as it sounds, it’s a potent document, and an ideal waypoint or milestone to measure from. It is the brand’s stake in the ground. This is the resource to be referred to when any question as to what is right for the brand, or wrong for the brand must be addressed. It depersonalizes feedback and spares hours of subjective debate. Is it right, or is it wrong. It is a mandatory reference for identity, creative and content development, and it renders the Herculean task of name development merely monumental.
The new name, position and clearly articulated brand platform belongs to the aligned and abiding team at ColdFront now. Itemized, underlined and indexed, it champions a suite of graphic and messaging guidelines. The team at Tugboat is proud of the work and delighted with the results. We believe this new brand has ColdFront set for the next fifty years as they define the Climate to move ahead™.
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