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12 May 2023

From proposition to reposition

“The key to evolving the Buchanan brand was distilling the essence of our business. Sounds simple. Tough to get right.”

by Neil Stockwell, Creative Lead

While it had become recognisably Buchanan, the previous identity had served its purpose. Our aim in repositioning ourselves was to demonstrate that our clients are the heart of our business. Everyone says it but we had to show it. Our task was to ensure that the Buchanan visual approach echoed the focus on meaningful engagement – whatever the audience. 

The process was galvanised by a clearer (and more liberating) articulation of the three facets of our business: ‘PR’ becomes ‘Communications’; ‘ESG’ becomes ‘Sustainability’; ‘Design’ becomes ‘Creative’.  This culminated in a succinct new proposition: ‘Financial Stakeholder Engagement’.

In line with the refocused messaging, we revisited our visual identity, reducing or refining what had become superfluous and distracting. We wanted to provide our team with a visual spirit that is not only distinctly Buchanan but is also straight-forward to use. Most importantly, our visual identity must allow the content to shine. Specifically, the brandmark loses its ‘pocket’ bringing more emphasis to the name; hero imagery features our clients’ work; wallpapers and colour palettes are more muted hues; team photography has a touch more drama, and crucially; typography works harder via the combination of a contemporary editorially-focused serif with a hard-working versatile sans. 

The revitalisation of our website has been instrumental in the repositioning process. An issue unearthed in research, was our audience’s need for reliable, trusted sources. Cited examples for these sources were predominantly recognised news and editorial outlets – remarkably apt for much of our work with the Fourth Estate. 

So, rather than simply emulating their article-driven online approaches, we alluded to their print origins with a ‘page turn’ interaction. Given that the majority of our visitors were accessing the site from a desktop, this horizontal scroll is a subtle but deliberate design decision which initially surprises the visitor but soon becomes familiar. This interaction, allied to type choices, image sizing, controlled colour usage and other editorial page furniture, creates a distinctive and ownable experience that references places our audiences find dependable and authoritative.

Plainly these are early days for the new positioning, but we believe the business is now equipped with the foundations of a visual approach which can hit many notes. Who knows, we may have even coined new ‘category’ for our profession! Hubris aside, Financial Stakeholder Engagement is certainly a clearer articulation of what Buchanan does and with it comes a more visually malleable way to communicate its relevance to our audiences.

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