Friday, April 10, 2009

Capturing the new company’s vibrations in the new company’s visual image

We are facing a new era of a changed attitude towards the individual, society and the environment as a whole. Each company is a living organism. Therefore, each company responds to change differently and has its own manner of reviewing its values and vision, of setting new goals and strategies and of managing relationships and communication. Internal and external changes of a company manifest themselves in different ways and those who are able to acknowledge them in time can proactively communicate them to the public. What is the role of a company’s visual new image in this process – of the company logo and other visual materials? How to capture the changes in a company and their energy in text and image?
This was the subject of our conversation with Mitja Tuškej, Marketing Strategist at Formitas, Agency for Integrated and Digital Communication which succeeded in capturing the new vibrations of Vibacom in the renewed company’s visual image. This is their story.

VB: Who comprises the Formitas team (or, officially Formitas BBDO & Pleon)?
MT: Our personality most resembles a white-haired young man. This image symbolises our company’s union of knowledge and experience of a sage and the nonchalance of youth. This is our attitude and how we act. We upgrade our twenty years of experience with an untamed spirit, inherent curiosity and a different view of the world contributed by a mainly young team. When we weave the above into the workflow and personal relationships it is not surprising if someone approaching fifty acts “silly” according to the accepted social norms while twenty-five year olds present a project to the client maturely, confidently and responsibly, receiving a standing ovation.
If we tried to define the organisational culture of Formitas, “clan culture” would probably be the most accurate description. Emphasis on team work, co-dependence between the individual and the group, dedicated work on projects, courage and a desire to create and acquire knowledge are all our common values.

VB: Which are your key abilities?
MT: We are a closely knit group of experts with comprehensive knowledge in all areas important for brands which is a rarity nowadays. Our key abilities are optimal command of a brand's market environment according to what a brand represents and what its significance is within the target market environment, identification or creation of the appropriate core of the brand, followed by its suitable co-management in the constantly changing market conditions, and sustainable creativity and innovation in communication approaches.

Mitja Tuškej
(Source: Lidija Mataja)

VB: Why do companies opt for changing their visual images?
MT: Simply, because they are smart… The visual image is the mother of all communication of a company. It reflects the company’s vision, its mission, key characteristics, values, and last but not least, the company’s character. And it communicates this to all shareholders of the company, target audiences, and clients using their services and products. The visual image is a simple way of expressing the company’s character.
Companies, i.e. corporate brands operate in a thoroughly dynamic market environment which constantly changes, and with it companies change, competition changes, technology changes, consumers change, societies change, trends change. All of the above affect the company’s competitive position, which is determined by the company’s fundamental nature, its central values and its character. And these inevitably change. The changes must also be reflected in the company’s communication, and with the visual image system being the mother of all communication it is only logical and appropriate it should change and adapt to the nature and essence of the company. The visual image as an integral part of the company’s identity system communicates important messages to the company’s target audiences.

VB: How do you approach the transformation of the visual image of a company? Which are the key elements of your relationship with the client and the subject matter (in this case, a company)?
MT: Transformation of a company’s or brand’s image and communication is based on the perception and visibility of a brand in a competitive market on the one hand, and in the vision, mission and goals of the company on the other. It always involves finding the right balance between the past, present and future character of the company. In defining this situation, the key elements are the company’s philosophy and how it is perceived by its partners. As already mentioned, this is a matter of being aware of the fundamental nature of the company, its fundamental values and its character. These elements and the consolidation thereof enable clarification of the essence of the company, its basic strengths, its core, and its fundamental path to the future. This is a combination of relationships, abilities, activities and methods through which the company’s internal organisation provides products to its clients.
And these are the elements which are expressed with visual elements in the creative process: through the use of a logo, typography, colour system and systemically arranged design.

The Formitas team represented in a slightly different manner (artwork on the wall of the Formitas reception area)
(Source: Formitas)

VB: Let us look at an actual example: what was your impression of Vibacom before you started working on our visual image?
MT: Since we've been cooperating for quite some time and know each other well, my work of a strategist was slightly easier. I already knew most of the answers related to the elements mentioned earlier. I had a clear idea of the company; Vibacom's vision and values are clearly defined, so putting its essence into words was not a difficult task.
A few conversations, a couple of chats within the company and a couple more with the “outside world” usually only confirm your views on the essence of the company reached within your own team. This was also the case with renewing Vibacom's image. The Formitas-Vibacom team comprised quite a few people. The authors of the new visual image were designer Petra Matijevič and art director Deirdra Jovanović, in cooperation with art director Ana Ivandič. The rest of the team included Valerija Križnik, Tilen Žagar and me.
In any case: nine years of following someone’s work provides a great deal of information. During our phase of focused thought on the core of Vibacom our team wrote a thought we later adapted to the following form: “Good energies are within us and everywhere around us; we only need to sense them and let ourselves follow them to where a new path always opens. This - simply - is Vibacom. I don’t believe any of Vibacom’s partners would disagree with this statement and I know that everyone at Vibacom feels this way.

Evolution of Vibacom`s logo
(Source: Formitas)

VB: How did you develop the new logo and which elements does the new image comprise?
MT: Hm … we “drew” the core of Vibacom. We set the static old logo in motion and added some energy to it. Since energies need to be sensed, we designed several of them, all seven basic energy levels in various forms and colours corresponding to the course of the moment, course of the company and course of the future. With the freedom to follow the path most suitable for the company in each specific situation. All energies are united in Vibacom where each member, in each moment is simultaneously following the energy of the moment and the energy of the company that employs them.

VB: Is it even wise to develop a new logo at a time when there appears to be a crisis?
MT: Based on the fact that changes need to be implemented when a company and/or its environment is changing, this is hardly an issue. I believe the following: A time of crisis is the wisest moment to develop a new logo, for the environment in which a company operates is changing most rapidly. During the six months of this “crisis”, the fundamental values of the society as a whole have changed. We are all already running on different tracks, with different goals and in a different manner. Many thins still valid yesterday are obsolete today. All these changes affect how we perceive and view companies and brands. If a company realises early which changes are necessary for the company or a brand, it needs to communicate that to the environment. And if we are talking about a company providing services, if we are talking about the significance of its identity and its corporate brand, then the system of the corporate visual image is the mother of all communication…

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