The following examples detail our involvement in key programs
and the results we’ve achieved for our clients.
In July 2013 we were engaged to review the Corporation of the City of Guelph’s identity and, if deemed necessary, scope options to revitalize and position the City as a vital partner in marketing Guelph as a destination for economic and community prosperity.
The project methodology involved an extensive review of key documents and secondary research materials. Brainstorming workshops and idea mapping sessions were held internally to gather information on how operational and strategic initiatives are differentiating the City from other municipalities. We also performed an audit of the positioning and reputation of various Ontario municipalities.
We delivered a final report that outlines high-level strategic directions, as well as recommended concrete steps and specific tactics to help the City of Guelph live its brand promise to ”Make a difference” in the lives of its residents and the community at large”. We have also been retained to provide ongoing support to guide implementation.
Our analysis and report of recommendations includes a series of measures essential for the brand to emerge stronger and to provide the foundational elements and ground rules for the positioning and marketing of the Guelph brand in all media.
In addition to updating and optimizing the City’s visual identity, simplifying its brand architecture for easier deployment and to affect a consistent brand voice, we provided Guelph with a corporate brand policy, new brand foundation, a brand manifesto and a series of thematically-linked initiatives to reinforce the brand identity and promise.
This program exemplifies how ABC+D leverages a client’s existing visual identity and brand style to bring about a completely fresh attitude and personality to an organization’s communication approach. In this particular instance, ABC+D did not create a new brand identity; however, we leveraged the communications strategy work that we had been engaged to develop for the client to exact a bold new creative expression within the framework of a largely lackluster and prescriptive visual branding approach. The result was a fresh, engaging and contemporary attitude that speaks to present and prospective OCOT members, as well as to industry leaders, employers and government audiences, in a relevant and dynamic manner.
The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) is an industry-driven regulatory body that has a mandate to modernize Ontario’s apprenticeship and skilled trades system. The College allows for all tradespeople and employers voices to be heard, protects the public interest, and is responsible for establishing the scope of practice and setting out policies and procedures for the trades. One of OCOT’s mandates is to put skilled trades on a similar footing with teachers, doctors, and nurses, who have their own professional regulatory colleges.
ABC+D began by developing a brand communications strategy. The strategy established that the communications messages, tone and manner must:
- Be clean, crisp, and approachable
- Be industry-led vs. government-run
- Enable the target audience to see themselves in the organization (appropriate imagery and words)
- Evidence diversity of audiences (age, gender, ethnicity, sector/skill)
- Be relevant for a variety of industry sectors
- Display a simple, “plain language” explanation of the role of OCOT and the objects of the legislation
- Feature the OCOT logo and colour palette (blue, black, white) prominently
- Employ a graphical treatment that conveys authentic, relevant messaging to audiences
- Feature entirely bilingual content
Argyle developed and managed the production of a wide array of communications materials from design, copywriting, translation and final production:
- Brochure and trade-specific inserts for professional trades
- Brochure to tradespeople and members of the public
- Apprenticeship brochure
- Variety of trade publications advertisements for recruitment and event marketing
- Event and display materials
- Recruitment letters and packages
- Membership cards
- Membership certificates and certifications diploma
- Variety of poster and banners
- Coordination of custom photography and creation of a bank of images for use in future OCOT materials
In 2014, Sentry Investments required a new approach to their marketing communications to improve the company’s visual impact, enhance its brand position in the highly competitive investment sector, and to more successfully address the needs of its various business segments and audiences (i.e., advisors, investors, third-party dealers and corporate partners and clients)
One of the key challenges in developing a branded communications system lies in striking the proper balance between conformity and flexibility. The former confers a unified branded look but may also limit the ability for designers and marketers to address future or unforeseen market requirements. One must therefore ensure that the users of the design program understand the essence of this branded approach in order that they may evolve it for their own needs while preserving the purpose for which it was created.
Our task began with a sweeping review of the company’s existing suite of marketing materials, as well as that of key market competitors – both domestically and globally, in order to identify strengths and weaknesses of the various programs and map out a new disciplined framework for Sentry Investments.
ABC+D conducted a thorough creative exploration that included all visual brand elements including: colour palette, grids, logo, typography, information sequencing, hierarchy, use of positive and negative space, size of pieces and relative sizing/ proportions of elements to one another, formats, use of imagery, messaging semantics, thematic approaches, messaging structure, language tone and personality.
No less than nine distinct concepts were explored and presented to the client. Each took into account distinct requirements for various categories and audiences. We provided design prototypes for corporate brochures, for investor and for advisor information materials, for investor education materials, and for third-party dealers sales and marketing support.
ABC+D also developed publications design guidelines for sales and marketing materials. These garner all the key principles for the creation of communications materials (either internally or via third-party agencies) that ensure the program stays on-brand at all times.
Imagery and visual assets
Argyle also conducted an exhaustive search to locate, identify and tag imagery for short-term and future/anticipated usage by Sentry Investments over the next 2-3 years. Following the imagery search and tagging exercise we catalogued the selection and built a database of all images to include all relevant references such as category title, description, code number, stock collection (source), URL, rights category, pricing and a thumbnail of each image.