Merging two brands into one – ensuring a unified brand
We took a chat with Intrum’s Brand & Marketing Director, Niklas Sjögren, and Internal Communications Director, Annika Närling, who told us the story of how they created Intrum’s digital brand manual and how it helped to build a unified brand. The project started when two companies joined forces, and to communicate the new brand, Intrum decided on a digital solution.
Tell us about Intrum.
Niklas: Intrum is market leader in Europe within credit management services. Currently we have 10 000 employees and are present in 24 European countries. Intrum has an important role in the socio-economic environment and wants to lead the way to a sound economy. We enable companies to prosper and keep growing, and most importantly we help and advice our clients’ customers in how they can get debt free.
Annika: A sound economy is essential for a functioning society and Intrum is an important piece of that puzzle. As an employee I am proud of working for a value driven company that takes big responsibility towards all our stakeholder. We do have an important role in society at large.
What is the story behind Intrum's rebranding?
Annika: In 2017, Intrum Justitia and Lindorff merged together; two large companies with approx. 4 000 employees each. We had to create a common ground, where it was evident that from that point forward, we were one brand. This also included a new visual identity, which plays a crucial role in a company brand. The initial plan was to use both company names in the new brand to maintain the brand recognition from both companies, and for many different reasons we ended up with the name Intrum.
Niklas: Before the new visual identity was developed, we had to have the brand strategy in place. A lot of work was put into creating the overall picture, ensuring that everything was connected. There is a natural story behind every graphic element that originates from our brand strategy, why we look like we do and behave accordingly. It was also a balance between keeping the brand recognition from before the merger and at the same time modernize it.
Describe how you chose to structure Intrum's Brand Manual.
Annika: The structure needed to be logical and user-friendly to inspire for further reading. We started with the platform itself and our strategy – the foundation and our ambitions. Next step was the visual identity and showing how to implement the different elements of our brand and share examples of how we should look like when conveying different messages like our employer branding messages, marketing concept or how we should display ourselves at events. Lastly, we added a download logic to simplify access to templates, images or other assets.
Niklas: Our assignment was to go from scattered to unified. It was essential to make our leading position on the market and our purpose Leading the way to a sound economy, a prominent part of the brand manual. We also wanted a balance between practical and inspirational content. Since we operate in several different countries, it is important that guidelines and assets are centralized and easily accessible, so we do not end up with 24 different versions of the brand.
Do you have any recommendations or insights to share to companies considering digitizing their brand manual?
Adjust the manual for different users
Niklas: It has to be inspirational to encourage usage. For us, we have to consider our different target groups. Internally, for those who communicate the brand but also externally, for partners or agencies that are assigned to communicate the brand.
Annika: We work with a network where the level of competence differs internally as well. From anything to junior employees, who have not previously been working with branding, to employees with a high level of knowledge on the subject. The manual has to be educational, a source of knowledge and information. On that note, it is important to really understand the users.
Ease the transformation phase
Annika: It is very helpful to have a platform where everything is centralized during a hectic period, such as going through a transformation phase. When we initiated our rebranding process, we were about to communicate a whole new brand to both internal and external parties. During a period of time, changes and updates were made on the different brand elements. This made it more important than ever to have everything in one central location, to be able to keep the brand together.
How has Intrum's Brand Manual helped your organization?
Annika: Previously we had to answer all questions one-by-one, now we can share the link to our brand manual instead. It saves time and makes the workflow a lot easier. We are very proud of our brand and we feel that the logic together with the look and feel of the manual inspires visitors to explore and understand how to use our visual identity.
“We are very proud of our brand and we feel that the logic together with the look and feel of the manual inspires visitors to explore and understand how to use our visual identity.“
Niklas: Generally speaking, to enhance brand awareness and brand recognition you have to work consistently with the brand. Then it is essential to have “a place to go to” where everything is located and available for everyone to take part of. For us, this is our brand manual. Needless to say, it gives a proper return on investment.
A brand also needs to be reviewed and updated over time, which is a lot easier to do if you have just one place to do this. The latest versions can always be found in the brand manual. I would also say that previously we were more limited, now we have the flexibility to communicate the brand in a more multifaceted way.
Describe how you use the manual in your day-to-day work?
Annika: We use it ourselves to find the material we need, we also direct a lot of traffic to the brand manual whenever we get requests from employees and partners. It is very important in our day-to-day work.
Niklas: We operate in multiple different markets, and we have to modernize our way of working. Therefore, we refer to the brand manual whenever we communicate our brand. From my experience, most users are satisfied when you send them the link to the manual – which proofs that it answers their questions.
Annika: We also have an ambassador network that stretches over all 24 European countries. For them, the brand manual is central as they work with brand management. They are very important ambassadors that enables us to implement our brand identity throughout the whole organization.
Thanks to Annika and Niklas for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences from digitizing Intrum's brand manual using deBroome's service.