A Voyage into Branding (how UKSE became USE*)

I would expect anyone, with even one entrepreneurial bone in their body, to immediately see the power of the USE* business offer. What is both more striking, and still more engaging however, is the incredible team of people that USE* have brought together to deliver their service offering! I have been employed to date as a supplier by USE*, but I would genuinely feel happy to be simply employed by USE*.

Gary Lockton, Partner at Last Exit (Digital Strategy, Marketing and Design)
The Challenge

At UK Service Evolution we felt that we were outgrowing our original branding. There was a feeling within the company that none of the visual material that represented us as UK Service Evolution gave off any indication of what we were about as an entity or any insight into our culture or core company values. This was something that we wanted to address and get right, as we felt we were missing a trick in making potential new customers aware of what it is that our current customers really value us for.

Another challenge for us was to compose a message that clearly expressed what we do as a business within a very short time span for somebody visiting our website, or in the context of a presentation.

The Solution

Initially we had envisaged that our re-branding effort as some discussions around our current logo and website with some tweaks here and there. We didn’t think that we could have been any further from reality when it came to actually sitting down with Gary and Fred from Last Exit! Branding is simply an art form and an area in which one needs to live and breathe creativity. Taking on board the life blood of a company along with its visions and ambition is hard enough, but turning this into a graphical representation and visual language to deliver these things sits midway between art and science.

We held a number of creative workshops with Last Exit which we were quite apprehensive about. Given that we operate within more of an engineering context we felt that our creative levels would somewhat pale into insignificance in the presence of people who are purely creative. The workshops were structured in a way that drew out of us as much focused information as possible about the company history, culture, what we do and where we are going, identifying our strengths and how they are best represented. The first workshop ended up with us giving the company a personality, gender, and even some more in depth information… if the company were a person, what would his or her lifestyle choices be? This was a great help in deepening our own understanding of what our company really was and how it was evolving and manifesting itself.

In a second workshop we worked at forming a view of what type of visual language best suited the personality of the company. We spent a couple of hours with pens and paper mapping out various schemes enthusiastically, and reviewing a hundred or so logos and web page examples with a view to understanding whether or not any of these aligned with the personality of UK Service Evolution (or to what extent they did). By the end of the workshop we were talking as though we had found a creative side of ourselves that we never knew existed!

Both of the workshops made a lasting impression on us and offered an opportunity to look at the company from a perspective that we had never previously considered. This was very rewarding.

From the workshops Last Exit were able to mock up a number of proposal schemes which varied from slight tweaks to major overhauls, some being quite radical in their makeup.

Once we had chosen to go for the radical change which meant changing both the company name and logo we selected the USE* name and logo. USE* was a play on [U]K [S]ervice [E]volution with the ‘S’ and the ‘E’ of USE* coming together to form an abstract heart. We felt that this offered a good representation of the caring aspect of our organisation which carries the best interests of our team at it’s core. We also liked the subliminal (or direct) imperative of USE. Changing the name of the company, as well as all current references to it’s identity, was a big decision but one that was easily made when we evaluated just how right the USE* proposal was in representing everything that we as a company stood for.

From here we tweaked and modified all elements of the overall USE* look and feel until we had arrived at our amazing new brand identity with its fresh and very dynamic appearance.

The Benefits

The overall rebranding has added immeasurable value to the entire organisation. It has also helped to define our business units (USE* Automotive, USE* Publishing and USE* IT) in a clear and concise way. The focus on news and case studies also helps with this message - to understand what we do, take a look at what we have done. This simple message will help elevate our product and service offerings to a wider audience.

Our entire management team has gained an insight and education into exactly how even the smallest details regarding the company’s look’ and feel can influence the way that it interacts with its target market (and perhaps more importantly, the way this market will interact with the company). Our mindsets have changed completely in terms of the way we view ourselves and how to position ourselves when facing the outside world.

Anyone embarking on a branding project such as ours will always be left with a certain amount of creative interest in the art and science of the branding process. It was an eye-opening experience to work with Last Exit and to appreciate exactly what goes into the creation of a company’s visual identity.

Our Achievements

As a collaborative project Last Exit have helped to transform not only the way that we look at USE* internally but more importantly how UK Service Evolution/USE* will be viewed by our current and potential clients.

We now have a far stronger platform from which to propel USE* forward in the future. We have a strong coherent brand which defines who we are as a company and clearly delineates our unique culture.

A by-product of the re-branding exercise is that our confidence as a company has grown with our branding. We are all very much looking forward to what 2010 will bring and how the new company look and feel will support this.

We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our entire USE* team, and that of Last Exit, who collectively worked exhaustively to create what can only be described as a truly spectacular brand.

Case Studies

Code for Working

Code for Working

Honesty, care, and compassion—in business
USE* Calls the Samaritans

USE* Calls the Samaritans

Team support for Active Listening
A Voyage into Branding

A Voyage into Branding

How UKSE became USE*

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