West Elgin Mutual Brand Launch - Bark Communications

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  • Nov22Thu

    West Elgin Mutual Brand Launch

    November 22, 2012

    Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg

    Today, we are so pleased to announce the launch of yet another brand initiative for a member of the Ontario Mutuals group, namely, West Elgin Mutual Insurance Company.
    West Elgin Mutual Logo (New)
    Earlier this year, West Elgin contacted us indicating that they were looking to undertake a website redesign and potentially look at other communications as well. As we discussed their brand with them, it became increasingly clear to both parties that a bigger-picture branding exercise was needed to provide West Elgin with a foundation that would allow them to achieve their business goals.

    Those goals included recognition of an ageing customer base and as a result, a need to create a brand that would appeal to a younger audience. West Elgin knows that it has the right products and services to serve both demographics - the challenge has been that their materials were predominantly targeted, both in style and content, to their existing customer base.

    Furthermore, as West Elgin Mutual has grown to locations in Aylmer, Shedden, Rodney and the head office in Dutton, they've had to grapple with a name that, although fitting for many, many years, was no longer representative of who they had become.

    Armed with that knowledge and our experiences with the mutual, we set about the business of redeveloping the brand image of the organization. We didn't need to change who West Elgin Mutual is because they are great at what they do, we just needed to build a brand image that would better represent them and facilitate the growth of their brand and market. We also wanted to do all of that without forgetting who West Elgin Mutual had been in the past.

    As the cornerstone of any brand image, the logo was the first stop in our conversations.
    West Elgin Mutual Logo (Old)
    As we came to appreciate, their logo had a lot of history and nostalgia attached to it. At the time that the mutual was founded in 1880, the community that it operated in was largely of Scottish decent and as a result, the logo was developed with a number of Scotch elements in it. In addition to listing the founding year, the logo contained a classic tam o'shanter and the acronym "WEM" was set on a backdrop of a sporran, the pouch included in traditional Scottish Highland dress uniforms. As time wore on however, the community around West Elgin Mutual became significantly more diverse and as a result, generally speaking, the visual impact and even the comprehension of the logo elements was lost. Additionally, the styling of the logo had seen it's day and so a freshening up was in order.

    So we engaged the logo process, got creative and came up with a number of logo options for West Elgin Mutual's consideration. These first logos were strong and after some narrowing of options and revisions to a specific logo, we were nearing completion. Yet, something was nagging at both teams. The logo process that had been dictated by a desire to not stray too far from the original hadn't worked to the fullest degree and both parties were left thinking there was still something else on the table. So, back to into design we went and from that second go-round, we landed on the logo you're looking at today.

    Font wise, it was important in developing the new logo to remember where West Elgin had come from and so we opted for a simple, lower case serif font for the words "West Elgin". The lower case, gave that dominant text a more approachable feel that accurately reflects the West Elgin Mutual culture and service ethos. The smaller words, "Mutual Insurance" were juxtaposed in light, upper case font to maximize legibility and provide a good anchor for the piece.

    But the real power of the new logo came with the icon. The simple, orange box framing the letters "we", performed the dual task of representing the mutuals name while also giving us a chance to talk about personal relationships in terms of "we" - a campaign was born.

    The inspiration provided by the logo icon drove the development of the subsequent communications elements. These included (see below for a visual reference of these pieces):

    • stationery (letterhead, envelopes, business cards)
    • website
    • brochure
    • calendar template
    • promotional products (pens, shirts)
    • signage

    Amongst those mediums, the brochure is the one that bears highlighting the most. West Elgin's needs were such that a standardized brochure wasn't ideal. They know that each client has unique needs and that not every element of the insurance solutions that the mutual provides may apply. So we created a modular brochure that has a sleeve with the front cut out making it look like a frame. Into that frame, West Elgin Mutual agents are able to place a customized set of handouts on the unique products that would appeal to the needs of the customer in question.

    On the front of each of those handouts are phrases that play on the "we" theme, so sayings like: "we work together" and "we value farming" are presented to the user when looking at the brochure. This modular and campaign based approach allow for a more personal and effective communication of the brand offering of West Elgin Mutual.

    Over all, we are very proud of this integrated campaign and are thankful to West Elgin Mutual for the opportunity to develop it with and for them.

    Collage of Materials