Ballard Power Systems has established itself as the world-leader in hydrogen fuel cell technology, with products that are poised to become an indispensable part of everyday life. Ballard came to us at an inflection point in their evolution. Smart investments in product development, manufacturing systemization and network development are yielding benefits that are helping the company achieve widespread market adoption for its zero-emissions technology. The time was right for the company to rejuvenate its brand with a new, modern visual standard and an update to their well recognized logo. The brand identity needed to reflect the rest of its operations: world leading and progressive.
Strategy is all about process and understanding the situation to recommend the best and most appropriate solution. To develop the brand strategy we:
- clarified their vision, goals and values
- conducted market research and competitor audits
- completed a SWOT analysis
- developed the strategy foundation
- wrote a creative brief
We held information gathering sessions with their various leadership teams. In the first session we gathered information from the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) in order to build an understanding of the situation. We reviewed where the company has been, where it is now and where they wanted it to be in the future. We answered the question: What is the company’s roadmap for the next 10 years? We then solicited feedback from the company’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in order to get a 360 perspective of Ballard’s landscape.
In the following session, we presented our findings, defined the company’s brand attributes and unique value proposition. This led to a larger conversation about visual representation of the company. “How do we help the company evolve its image and connect with a diverse marketplace?” We then had the context to explore appropriate visual solutions.
- Brand Strategy
- Graphic Design
- Establishing a Visual Standard
The big challenge was to bring renewal to a well-established brand identity without jeopardizing its equity and familiarity. We modernized the logo while maintaining the iconic blue square. The lightning bolts of the legacy wordmark had become tired. The bolts and the existing typeface were replaced with custom typography. The new wordmark is tilted forward, in perpetual motion, with its distinctive “B” driving it onward – representing Ballard’s ability to always advance and innovate.
Since their founding in 1979, Ballard has been dedicated to energy solutions. In the early days they were an R&D enterprise focused on high-energy lithium batteries. They soon saw the greater potential of environmentally-clean energy from PEM fuel cells, and pivoted. By 1986 they were developing the first Ballard fuel cell stacks. They operated with their widely recognizable and compelling tagline: “Power to Change the World”.
So why not keep it?
Because the old tagline was ideal for the “startup” phase, as they were striving to engage the world in the value of their fuel cell expertise to power the hydrogen society.
But the world has changed. The global transition to clean energy is underway and the role of hydrogen in decarbonization is now accepted. We needed to refine their positioning to differentiate them in a changed landscape. They needed to be perceived as the trusted, knowledgeable partner with decades of experience in implementing fuel cell solutions, and the stability to stand behind them.
The tagline “Here for life” says that they are here for the long haul. And it carries a secondary, equally important meaning: that Ballard’s environmentally sustainable solutions are here for the life of the planet and all the creatures that live on it.
At the core of the new identity system is the fresh colour palette and the dynamic gradient. The gradient appears to be alive and moving – a visual representation of the chemical reaction within a hydrogen fuel cell. A new style guide for photography includes happy, bright images of people in vehicles propelled by Ballard technology – evoking positive feelings that will deeply connect with their target audiences.
Once the entire identity system and a Graphic Standards Manual were created, we made it come to life by creating various templates for stationery, product sheets, brochures, white papers, social media headers, the website and more.
Excellent creative, work product and passion by the Red Rocket Creative Strategies team!
President and CEO, Ballard Power Systems
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