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Giving your company a new look

The new visual identity adopted by BDO Stoy Hayward is the tip of a brand-development iceberg, and one of the most visible outcomes of a project that occupied the best part of a year.

It’s also a clear demonstration of how much things have changed in professional services. Although core elements of the brand are unchanged, for example, the name, BDO logo and focus on ‘growing businesses’, the new visual identity is very different.

Appropriately for a firm that places the greatest emphasis on the quality of its client relationships, one of the most obvious characteristics of the new identity is the use of short introductory statements on the front covers of all marketing literature, designed to show an understanding of clients’ needs and highlight the key benefit that BDO Stoy Hayward can offer. There is also a new fresh and bright palette of colours, and a very distinctive use of illustrations that help to humanise the material and create a sense of accessibility and involvement.

As far as the firm’s strapline is concerned, it’s been a question of evolution, not revolution. The previous line ‘Expert Advisers To Growing Businesses’ now reads ‘Specialist Advisers To Growing Businesses’.

The rationale for this small change consists of two simple points. First, the firm were happy with the overall meaning of the line: the firm still focuses on growing businesses, and the market responds well to this. But second, in the market research that underpinned the brand development project, there was some criticism of the word ‘expert’. Some people thought it sounded too self-congratulatory, saying that they’d be the judges of the level of expertise. Others said it sounded pompous and aloof – not at all the suitable communication for a firm seeking to emphasise accessibility and teamwork. The recommendation was clear: ‘expert’ was out, ‘specialist’ was in.

With the key elements of the new identity agreed, it was time to move forward into implementation. In the past, some firms adopted a ‘big bang’ approach to the introduction of a new visual identity, identifying a ‘D-Day’ on which all old material will simultaneously be replaced with new.

Today, this approach is occasionally taken when necessary – for example, following a merger or change of name – but otherwise it is generally seen to be unnecessarily expensive and difficult. In line with this thinking, BDO Stoy Hayward’s new visual identity will be rolled out progressively across the firm’s marketing materials, both offline and online, over the course of the year.

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