If you work with us, follow us on social media or read our blog, you may well already have noticed some brighter colours creeping into Ality’s branding. And there’s more to come! But before we completely re-invent ourselves, read on to find out a bit more about how we got where we are today, and where we’re going – straight from the horses’ mouths. I sat down with Ben and Chris to discuss Ality branding, from day one.
What inspired Ality’s original branding, and how did it develop?
B: We started with an idea, and that idea was simple: delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. In order to do that, we needed a good understanding of consumer/client behaviour and audiences. Every brand is (or at least should be) unique, and so is their target audience. That’s how we came up with the concept of targeting by personality. Once we had that, the next stage was finding a name!
C: I wanted to call it Toogood Digital, but Ben said no. (Ed: Chris’s surname is Toogood)
B: A few beers later and a lot of rubbish variants on the word ‘personality’, all too typical or obvious, we landed upon Ality. We liked it enough to actually agree, but we realised our tagline would have to spell it out a bit more.
C: The point of a brand is to tell a story and explain core beliefs alongside defining the products on offer, what we do etc. When we founded Ality in 2015, lots of brands were using social media, but it was still something that relatively few companies did well or knew much about. It wasn’t seen as a core business driver, and we saw lots of content put out for the sake of it with no understanding of the advantages of different platforms and their users. So our main value proposition was helping brands stand out from the crowd; that’s how we came up with the lone pink butterfly in a sea of blue butterflies. This symbolised how we wanted our customers to be positioned in the marketplace; we wanted them to be SEEN, and seen as original, different and memorable.
After the pink butterflies came the waves. Tell us more about the waves!
B: A year down the line, it wasn’t enough to just stand out from the crowd; corporate social media had really gathered momentum. Thus, making waves was born. Pick your metaphor: the insistent but subtle lapping against the shore (putting brands in people’s minds with a series of messages), the making waves in a big pond, disrupting the norm… you get the idea. We chose a video as it was at this point that video really took off and started to outperform other content. We wanted to ride that wave (groan) and create something striking, engaging.
C: It did end up giving almost everyone seasickness though.
What made you feel it was time for a change now, and what does the new branding represent?
C: We recently turned two and wanted to bring our branding back to our original message: personality targeting. I’ve been in far too many pitches where I have to explain the concept of Ality as ‘personAlity’. The fact that I have to explain myself indicates that there’s something wrong! The new brand comprises four colours; we stayed true to the original with the blue and pink, but to create contrast we also chose two evolutions of these colours, the red and the teal.
B: The advantage of having four colours was to give us more room to play around in terms of design, and also meant we could assign a colour to each sub-brand or product. The look and feel was intended to be bright and bold and creative, reflecting our own personalities – we’ve hired some interesting people. We deliberately avoided the clichéd stock photographs and laughing videos used by so many social media brands today; we know from experience that only unique design gets authentic engagement.
C: Our imagery is an obvious concept displayed in an abstract Picasso-esque sort of way – facial features and expressions (denoting personality) but all mixed up.
Is it harder to design for your own brand or someone else’s?
C: Your own. The end.
B: Yeah, your own. We originally started with the logo, but 45 variations and at least 15 serious arguments later we decided to stick with the one we know and loved and focus on how we’re perceived instead. The easiest way to approach this task was to get other members of staff involved – the people who work with us. Because after all, we’ve grown immensely over the last year and they are now Ality.