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Posted By
Dominic
Leung
dominic.leung@cognitomedia.com

Rebranding goes beyond a creative exercise of a logo update. It is a business decision that signals to the market a change in direction. It is also one of the strategic ways a company can recalibrate the customer relationship. The most common reasons to rebrand are:

  • Modernization – E.g. Walmart (an update to evolve the new expectations from customers)

  • M&A – E.g. Verizon (changing the offering or redefining the market the business is in)

  • Reputation management – E.g. Uber (need to course correct how they were conducting business)

  • Change in direction – E.g. Huffpost (new strategic vision with a changing of the guard)

For McKinsey & Company it was all about a renewal of its commitment to clients and to realign their brand with their mission and the market. Established in 1926, McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm that works with organizations across the private, public, and social sectors to advise them on how to maximize their performance. The recent rebrand has a lot for us to learn from, setting a great example on what a rebrand can do for a business.

Three key takeaways:

  • Signal change – Not a design exercise but one about a new commitment to how they do business

  • Digital first – design for interactivity and the digital channels not the other way around

  • Tell a story – Every asset should exist for a reason and therefor help dell the brands story

Signal change – Not a design exercise but one about a new commitment to customers

Why now? With the reports to date on the controversies surrounding consultancies involvement with certain clients, the industries had to examine the way they do business and realign their brand with their mission and the market. Through the new identity McKinsey & Company is communicating a balance between old and new, heritage and modernity. It is signaling that some things about the firm are changing and reconfirming its commitment to customers to be their partner. There is an unwritten rule on how often a company can reinvent itself without appearing lost or losing confidence, and McKinsey & Company has certainly achieved this with a rebrand that signals confidence. Even the new word mark is designed to showcase that balance and exert contrast.

Digital first – design for interactivity and the digital channels not the other way around

The systems design language focused on a key element that the new brand needed to emphasis – partnership. The “Partnership Mark” may sound no different from a number of other connected-line patterns but these are implemented strategically throughout the identity in a way that. What is interesting is that they are using it as their social media avatar to heighten their prioritization of working together and being a strategic partner. The system goes beyond the typical treatments in photography to include movement and animations creating a more interactive infographic system that visualizes data in the digital age.

Tell a story – Every asset should exist for a reason and therefor help dell the brands story

The entire design system is very well thought out, beyond the practical needs. The super graphics as mentioned previously tell the story of partnership, even the custom font, named after Marvin Bower, who helped define the structure and principles of McKinsey in the 1930s, connects the legacy to the future. There is a strong sense of confidence from McKinsey in this identity that supports their personality and culture, which is important as a brand is a reflection of their people, purpose and business.

Overall the rebrand is thoughtful, precise and modern.

Dominic Leung is Cognito’s Group Strategy Officer