By John Kennedy
Earlier today, we took the next step in our separation with the announcement of the Conduent logo and brand expression. This is an exciting moment since it is a rare opportunity to participate in the formation of a new, Fortune 500 company. And to land on a new brand expression and logo, we had to begin with deep exploration into the story of this company. The businesses it is in. The way it views itself. The way it wants to be seen. These are the deep meaningful questions which a business must ask itself if it is set out on the path to greatness.
And so the path to land on our new brand expression actually began by looking hard at the company itself. So here it is:
So what does this tell us about this new company?
Powerful brand expressions are actually vessels for story-telling. The name of the company – Conduent – and the new brand expression work together to describe who this company is and how it creates value. It becomes one of the tools available to educate the world on what this company is all about.
As I wrote in my blog post in June – Conduent’s name is unusual and distinctive. But it evokes important characteristics of the company: connecting, conducting, constituents and enterprise. A “coined” word provided the chance for the Conduent team to make it their own over time and make it mean something over time. Just like another coined name we know well – Xerox.
When it came time to work on the logo and brand expression, an early, important decision is the selection of a design partner. Designing the logo for a Fortune 500 company is a professional exercise given the role it plays in the everyday life of such a consequential organization. And after considering several firms, we went with Chermayeff, Geismar and Haviv. Based in New York City, CGH is reputedly a well- respected enterprise logo design firm in the industry. Enterprise logo design is their specialty and they are credited with many iconic logos such as National Geographic, Chase Manhattan Bank and Mobil Oil.
The entire process took about three months start-to-finish. Early on we had to determine the personality of the logo. What characteristics it should evoke. We interviewed senior leaders of the Xerox Business Services team, including CEO Ashok Vemuri. We landed on “Trust. Agility. Forward Looking.” These adjectives, combined with some knowledge of our business are what the CGH team had to go on.
We saw a range of options as we came through the design process. The Xerox Business Services senior leadership team saw three finalists before we landed on our final choice.
The Conduent logo is not just a branded design – it is also a vessel for story-telling.
The strong, bold black, all caps type-face is meant to signify stability and trust – since Conduent’s primary role is to manage mission critical operations on behalf of its clients. Also, you’ll see there’s a connection between the “N” and the “T.” This is done to draw the reader’s eye to the unique pronunciation of the company name. It also reinforces that the constituents of our clients (patients, citizens, employees, and consumers, commuters and others) are at the core of our business model.
The three parallelograms that make up the brand symbol signify several things, both collectively and individually.
Collectively, the mark demonstrates motion, energy and agility. Individually, the three parallelograms signify our company, our clients, and their customers. This is the three-way relationship that underpins our business model. They can also signify three of our constituents, clients, employees, and investors by helping them modernize their constituent experience. The symbol portrays key themes of the Conduent brand: The inter-relationship between business-to-business-to-consumer; and progress and motion within the framed arrow enclosed by the parallelograms.
The three parallelograms come together in a way to form an arrow pointing to the right. This signifies progress, change and the way we help our clients transform and move forward.
Another major decision was the color. Orange emerged as our choice when we looked across the industry and saw so many companies clustered around blue, and a few others in red. We wanted to pick a color that would help us stand-out. Orange also evokes characteristics of Conduent – it signals energy, determination and enthusiasm. So we’re excited about what we can do with the color Orange, and specifically what we’re calling a “vibrant orange” for Conduent.
It will take time to infuse this kind of meaning into it — or as is said in marketing parlance — to build equity in the brand. This will be the next stage of the work in front of the Conduent team. To repeatedly and consistently invest in the core idea of Conduent so that, over time, our stakeholders come to see us for the value we create. And if we do our work well – our brand expression and identity will remind them of that every time.