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What's in a name?

A marketing view on the new Klarian brand identity.

Renaming a corporate entity is always a double-edged sword. A wonderful opportunity to reinvigorate a business, provide a new lease of life for customers and employees alike, point the way forward and embrace future challenges with a new impetus, vigour and confidence.  But in equal measure, it is fraught with risk if the required homework has been rushed or worse, neglected.  As you reintroduce yourself to the world, full of bravado with your new name and fresh threads, what if people don’t respond as you hoped?  Duck your warm embrace and titter behind your back as you stumble forwards, giggling at your laughable attempts to contemporise your image, reconnect with a new audience.  “We can see what you’re doing!” their faces cry out. “Dad in a disco!” It’s a minefield, this renaming business.  Witness the Royal Mail and ‘Consignia’, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and ‘Monday’ and Aberdeen Asset Management and…wait for it…’Abrdn’ – I feel sorry for those poor, rejected vowels.  What did they ever do to you, Mr. Aberdeen?

So, presented with the challenge to rename and rebrand the Dashboard business, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work with some serious research.  No gazing out of the window, seeking inspiration for a funky new moniker and logo.  No alphabetical shootdowns for us (Dshbrd literally paralysed the mouth).  No, we conducted an intense process of discovery, unlocking the DNA of what makes this business tick and gave it some air.  Rekindled the fire in its belly.  We interrogated what the competition were up to in their name and identity presentation.  Seemed to us that being an industrial, B2B brand many saw as a big fat excuse to be boring.  And that’s a crime in our book. Noone ever should be dull and personality-free, no matter your line of work.  So there.  A sea of blue stretched before us – presumably because some nervous ninnies somewhere believed no one ever got fired for buying…a blue logo?  Maybe not, but being lost in the crowd is never a very enviable position.  So we embraced colour where others were more monoblue.  Suggested vibrancy and life given the inherent power of the precious raw materials that are our trade. 

And the name itself?  It needed to provide relevance to the service we provided.  That put paid to any Greco-Roman god imagery.  Given we are in the discovery and insight business here, providing clarity where there once was mere gloom, we chose a name that was derived from that core, root benefit of clarity provision.  But then chose a K for character.  And also for some useful semiotic associations with pin point accuracy and precision. 

And so Klarian is born and unleashed on the world. A vibrant, colourful brand name and identity, but from birth, its feet planted firmly on the ground given its inherent meaning and associations.  And with a greedy three vowels on display.

 Jeremy Hemmings is founder of Hurley Burley Partners