Honeywell: A Case Study
When Honeywell acquired Elster there was a period where every vendor’s performance came under review. Having successfully Branded Elster’s Smart Energy user conference (Elster Connect) for three consecutive years, Foundry Zero was an easy fit for the Honeywell rebrand of the same event.
Honeywell Energize Brand
Since the internal Honeywell team did not substantially change, we felt confident and worked to our highest standards. The team began early enough to enable Foundry Zero to consult on the naming of the event, build a new event Brand, and then complete the creative phase with the campaign Brand.
For Foundry Zero, the creative phase is always the peak period of pressure during the lengthy process. Not only do you really need to be highly creative in considering the primary mark, creativity must be tempered by anticipating the accompanying campaigns. The perfect grounding method is to start with different types of research. We began looking at the energy/software market with fresh eyes to integrating mandates that were discussed beforehand with the Honeywell team and seeing what approaches will create what we call “pillar” directions. These pillars are usually conceptual focuses where an idea seems to explain itself easily and with the most impact. Generally, the visual look will follow the lead of the concept.
The primary mark fell in line with the Honeywell Brand and with a high-tech premise, but it was also unlike the sub brand scheme for typical Honeywell Brand structure. The Honeywell team knew this, but liked the out-of-the-box thinking. Fortunately, their faith was rewarded with some surprise synergy between the final logo and the campaign which made the results feel very intuitive. During our research, an image was uncovered that was surprisingly similar to the icon in the new logo but far more graphic. While we presented a number of campaign directions, it was uncannily similar and really tied everything together. It also solved the client’s desire to portray the campaign concept as being inaugural.
Delivering Diverse Projects
With the concept approved, we began tackling our first production pieces. For this event, the production broke out into two directions
1) Digital Ads and Save the Dates
2) Printed material that had long print schedules
As in previous years, a Cvent event planning/hosting site was developed early in the project that would be completed in tandem with the brand. Foundry Zero skins the Cvent site with event logo and colors, and straightens out any stylistic anomalies. Other major projects to support the event included a 36-40 page printed conference guide, onsite schedule and promotional signage, PowerPoint templates, informative branding, various table top signage, handouts, promotions, floor decals, key cards, hats, bags and etc.
One big standout project was animating the primary campaign visual for onscreen presentation. The image really lent itself to fun animation and the audience really responded to it.
Having a strong main focus for the entire event also means you must ensure that there is enough graphic variety so as not to create image fatigue. Event organizers want to see the primary image in primary places. If done well, proper placement of key graphics can be very memorable, tasteful and rewarding without leading to visual fatigue. We have learned how to work closely with event organizers and gain their trust. This team appreciated the guidance, and were very satisfied with the results.
The Second Year
The following year was different. And we felt in many ways the event was changing in good ways. The new members of the team had gotten to know Foundry Zero from the previous year and there was confidence that things would run smoothly. But there were also more eyes—and opinions—on the creative process as my contact’s bosses were also involved in primary creative presentations.
With other creative minds in play, the first mandate was to take the previous logo and alter it to a simpler look. That was a good move as we felt it opened up the campaign to new visual avenues. The second mandate was one that that my contacts had previously pushed for, and Foundry Zero was in total agreement, and that was to shift much of the graphic focus to showing people. For many years, Derek Keith Photography was a key player in making the conference fun and approachable for attendees. Their archive of great attendee photos from previous conference provided a wealth of options to include recognizable images, rather than stock photography, which the clients considered very important.
Armed with the mandated approaches, we really set forth to weave the conference business into graphic significance with the final campaign. A number of concepts were presented, and the winner brought in Honeywell’s emphasis on iconography found in their main Brand structure and logical shapes that described the training and technology being showcased at the event. This year was shaping up to be our personal favorite design approach of all the conferences we had been involved with so far.
Besides creating a particularly dexterous campaign structure this year, we were allowed more digital integration. Skinning an app for mobile devices in concert with the main Cvent event site really gave us an opportunity to challenge the visual fatigue with a wide variety of approaches both onsite and digitally.
Our final year doing the conference was a lot of fun and also gave us some valuable contacts within Honeywell to continue to do other work. The following year all the departments in the division were reorganized. After ten years, the former Elster conference was folded into a larger Honeywell conference that had its own internal design team. However, the relationship with Honeywell has grown into other opportunities related to division Branding, as well as different projects related to events.