Earlier this year, Klaus and I were asked to visit the Innovation Warehouse to discuss creating a logo for their new angel investor network. The Innovation Warehouse team have asked us to record the process and share it publicly so that the Innovation Warehouse can benefit from the wider community’s input and so that other startups can learn from the experience.
The Innovation Warehouse is a shared co-working space in London. The space is an old Council office above the Smithfield Markets. It has been converted into open-plan shared-offices with free wifi and lots of meetings rooms.Recently, the market for co-working in London has become increasingly competitive. Exciting new spaces, accelerators and incubators are opening up almost weekly. The Innovation Warehouse has outgrown the logo that was created for the launch and the brand needs to mature to stay competitive.
More urgently, the Innovation Warehouse has a new startup accelerator and angel investing network that has been in stealth mode and will soon be ready to be launched publicly.
The original brief was only to create a new logo for IW Grow (the working title of the angel network). The crew had a couple of events coming up and needed business cards. They had already knocked up a temporary name, website and logo.
From working on a few subsidiary brands before, we knew that the master brand hierarchy needs to be robust for a sub-brand to fit properly into it. The current Innovation Warehouse master brand wasn’t up to the task. So we asked permission to re-look at the entire thing.
After some prodding, we started to uncover that the real business goal was to increase enquiries for new coworking memberships and to increase the volume of quality deal-flow for the investment activities. It turns out that the financial imperative is to fill the space with a vibrant community (who pay a membership fee for being in the coworking space) and a steady stream of fast-growth businesses looking to raise investment funds (of the type that the Innovation Warehouse angel network can profitably invest in).
Lean Branding happens on three parallel tracks; Strategy, Messaging and Design. To deliver the brand strategy for the Innovation Warehouse we will run management interviews, workshops, ‘out of the building’ customer discovery sessions and lots of team creative sessions. We need to consider the business model, competitive positioning, customer journey, key messages and potentially, a whole new brand.
We’ve run a number of branding projects like this in the past but we’ll be trying out some new techniques from Lean Branding, Design Thinking and Behavioural Design. For the Innovation Warehouse we’ll bring together new processes, teams and ways of working to experiment and learn. The overall stages will include:
1. Business Model
2. Competitive Positioning
3. Brand Umbrellas
4. Brand Architecture (Attributes, Essence, Values)
1. Communications Framework (Key Messages, Stories, Tagline)
2. Customer Personas (including Customer Journey)
3. Product Architecture
4. Tone of Voice
1. Design Genres
2. Design Concepts
3. Design System
4. Brand Guidelines (Logo, secondary devices, etc)
5. Brand Implementation
Because we’ll be using a lean approach, we’re open to being called on to help out with the existing website, tactical marketing, interim brand implementation and any other issues that arise while we’re working on the project. This is a departure from how most normal re-branding projects are delivered (using a waterfall approach) with one final deliverable and no iterative improvements.
The team will be based at the Innovation Warehouse for the duration of the project to get a real-world feel for what it’s like to be a member. We’ll be working closely with the Innovation Warehouse management team. This type of on-site consulting will be a new adventure for us.
It’s going to be an interesting experiment to see what it’s like to do a re-brand from inside the business; instead of arriving periodically to do a presentation. Instead, we’ll be living and breathing the brand. The project team includes:
- Peter Thomson
- Klaus Bravenboer
- Sichi Pollard
- Ross MacKay
The Innovation Warehouse team we’ll be working with includes the senior management, investment, marketing and PR teams including:
- Ami Shpiro
- Tony Fish
- Luisa Morales
- Arjun Sathe
- Anca Toma
- Ward Lennarts
And a host of other characters (such as community members, investors and corporate partners) that we’ll meet along the way. The Innovation Warehouse has had some wonderful people contribute to the community over the years and we want to make the brand more personal with real life stories.
We’ll be live blogging the journey and sharing the lessons that we learn along the way. Our aim with capturing the journey is to provide the opportunity for input from the Innovation Warehouse members and wider London tech community. It should also provide a real life resource for any other businesses looking to re-position themselves in their market place. I’ll be recording the journey on this blog, Klaus Bravenboer will share some key insights on his blog and the Innovation Warehouse team will also be blogging about their experiences of the project.
The next step is a thorough brand audit and a series of strategic conversations to get to the heart of what the Innovation Warehouse team cares about and what their goals are. Read the other chapters in the Innovation Warehouse Rebranding Live Case Study and follow along with the Innovation Warehouse’s own blog as well.