Redefining the brand
After 150 years of doing business Hedeselskabets top management wanted to redefine the companys brand identity for the first time since 1984. But how do you balance a legacy that has become part of Danish national history with modern business innovation? We delivered a new purpose and visual brand that now creates value in an increasingly digital, collaborative society. The new brand supports the subsidiary businesses of Hedeselskabets group through a clear brand strategy, a new visual concept and a new digital solution.
Exploring the characteristics of the organizational identity is key to creating succesful brands. No less when the brand carries 150 years of social entrepreneurship and a prominent role in national history. Our journey towards Hedeselskabets new brand was two months of intense anthropological research throughout the country, participating and interviewing members of the organization – board members, association members, employees and experts associated with the company.
Immersing into the culture of Hedeselskabet our field workers and analysts got to understand the complex identity and organizational structure of this company. It is both a social community and a corporation built on a strong heritage of helping poor farmers and foresters to cultivate the Danish soil. By participating, visiting places and interviewing members of the organization we create a visual and narrative image of the organization and the potentials it holds. Like the famous founder, shaping the Danish landscape, empowering the farmers and the support of The Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II.
Our exploration of Hedeselskabet also contained a quantitative analysis of how Hedeselskabet creates value in its member base and how the readers of the associations magazine perceived the organization and the magazine.
The buildings in Viborg surrounded by large fields of grass where the company has resided for the past 40 years.
“Mindelunden" – memory lane
In the middle of Jutland the founders and supporters of the cause of Hedeselskabet are honored with their names engraved.
Founder Enrico M. Dalgas
The founder of the cause and the company in 1866, a social entrepreneur before the term existed, now famous for his visionary thinking and his achievements helping the Danish farmers.
Graphic inspiration from company library
Different types of soil, nature and fields are described with fine graphic art – one of many inspirations to the purpose and to the actual graphic design.
Published for more than 100 years with different front pages and typography, we advised to bring it into a more contemporary form to deliver on the same purpose as then.
Observing and interviewing members
The organization as well as the members helped us understand the organization, the cause and the authentic strengths of Hedeselskabets Group.
The authentic strengths of Hedeselskabet
The inherent characteristics of an organization can become a valuable inspiration for the brand formulation, purpose and innovation of the company. We reported the authentic identity of Hedeselskabet to the board of directors and the committee of representatives, written, oral, visual and on video. The indicators of Hedeselskabets authentic identity we chose to work with in the following process are:
- Good tracks set in the Danish landscape
- Social entrepreneurship by founder E. M. Dalgas
- Green innovation today (environment, energy, nature management)
- Conveying knowledge between practitioners and experts
Defining future purpose
The future purpose for Hedelskabets group as well as the brand strategy was defined in a series of five workshops with the companys chair of representatives, the chairman of the board and the CEO. We developed four strategic directions, each of them demonstrating a possible future scenario containing different possibilities, initiatives and advantages.
The process of discussing and redefining Hedeselskabets purpose and brand is not an easy one. But our four-step scenario process helps leaders explore and understand their possible future scenarios before deciding and refining the strategic direction and positioning of the business.
- Develop four distinct directions for the future development of the company based on the authentic strenghts that has been found. Differentiation of stakeholder definitions, value delivery and purpose of each scenario.
- Explore what considerations, types of decisions, initiatives and costs would be necessary and beneficial in each scenario.
- Further develop scenarios to deliver the best possible value, then select the winning scenario for the companys purpose.
- Focus and refine the exact wording of the purpose and brand essense. Discuss what the consequences of the new brand purpose will be for the stakeholders involved.
The new purpose of Hedeselskabet
The redefined purpose also serves as Hedeselskabets brand essense – it guides strategic decisions on board and managerial level and sets the direction for the branding and communication initiatives. "We create green innovation and develop solutions for climate change and nature management. We convey knowledge between practitioners and experts in order to secure a longterm development, use and protection of the natural environment" Brand essense passed by the board of Hedeselskabet.
Brand strategy and brand architecture
Our counsel on the new purpose and strategic direction also contained a new brand architecture and definitions of how the new brand would impact the most important stakeholders of Hedeselskabet. Several brand names, legal names and internet domain names were removed from the portfolio in order to create a more clear and efficient monolithic brand in the future.
Hedeselskabets visual image brings the brand identity to life. The new logo, typography and tag line brings the old brand into contemporary time. We developed a concept for the use of photography, color, use of images and infographics and translated the visual identity into guidelines and concrete use in the companys paper line, digital universe and HQ wayfinding.
Setting good tracks in the landscape
Designing a new corporate visual identity is an efficient way of giving the soul of the organization a physical body. It's the body language of the company. We created the new logo referring to signs of nature and innovation. The imagery unfolds the contrasts of the brand: Tradition versus innovation. Nature versus people. And history versus future. And through many graphic elements the horizon line from the logo continues as a line or a seperation of imagery.
Guiding the design of the company
The new visual expression of Hedeselskabet is translated into simple guidelines that help the organization keep a consistent look and feel. Unfolding the visual identity through every physical visual touch point we delivered the entire identity from signage and outdoor banners to business cards and digital templates for presentations and office use, empowering the organization to seamlessly take the new brand into use.
Hedeselskabets brand is becoming a digital brand universe for the members and the customers of Hedeselskabets Group. We helped develop the digital strategy. Now the website is the place where the association recruits members, offers events and shares knowledge. And where customers can find the right subsidiary company to do business with.
Prioritizing user needs
Hedeselskabets website serves an extremely wide range of users with various needs. 2.500 members unified by a passionate interest in nature management. School children visit to learn about Danish history. Professionals within farming and forrest management look for services. We analyzed the needs of the different user groups and based the new digital strategy on the new brand essense: The first priority is to get more members by sharing knowledge between experts and practitioners.
Experience design and a new look
Our user experience (UX) process helped focusing what is placed where – and what the focus of the site is. By reorganizing the content and building the information architecture from scratch the users now gets relevant information and a positive experience when they visit the site. The images mirror the everyday of the members and employees in a modern way, the site has large copy, uses lots af space, long pages that work well on tablets and large, interactive top menus that gives the brand a contemporary feeling, featuring quotes and guidance.
All shapes and sizes
The site is designed thoroughly to work responsively; nomatter if you are working on your smartphone in the forrest or your tablet at a conference it works just as well and looks just as nice. We designed all elements in flexible sizes and tested the user experience on phones, tablets and desktop PCs.
Implementing the new digital platform
We implemented the new corporate website on an open source platform and delivered the first launch within two months from formulating the digital strategy, giving the users a new online experience of the brand. The members have priviledged access to event signup, they can read articles and share personal information on a protected level of the website.Visit the hedeselskabet.dk website
Communicating the identity
Hedeselskabet has a rich heritage, work in a world of natural wonders and have thousands of brilliant people and projects. Everything you need to tell good stories. Now the company is communicating the new brand identity through every touch point.
Magazine "Vækst" to members
Hedeselskabets magazine "Vækst" (meaning "growth") has been published for more than 100 years. We researched the attitudes and opinions of the readers and developed a new editorial strategy. The magazine got a new contemporary design featuring a different paper quality, large images, bold use of type and longer articles so that readers get a sense of quality and immersion into the story.
Membership activity and member recruitment
One of the core activities of Hedeselskabet is events for the members of the association where they see and learn about developments in nature management and enjoy trips in the Danish landscape. As part of the new purpose and the redefinition of the brand we helped develop new communication about membership benefits, events and how you become a member. We created brochures, gift certificates, season programs and the visual identity for the committee of representatives annual conference.
Bringing the brand into the annual report
Financial reports can be a boring read. In the case of Hedeselskabet an important effect of the new brand is the new expression of the corporations financial reporting. Exciting projects from the subsidiaries, infographics based on the tangible world of nature and innovative use of typography lets serious reporting meet a dynamic visual brand. The effect is a new perception in the minds of Hedeselskabets stakeholders.
The visual concepts were brilliant and brought our annual report to a new stage and the planning of the process went well. All in all we are proud of our final product. Michael Kristensen
Communication Manager, Hedeselskabet