World’s toughest brief

Branding projects can be tricky beasts at the best of times.

There are a whole host of factors to take into consideration. Primarily, whether the wider world will understand what it is that the new brand strategy is trying to convey. As designers we can get very precious about the visual side of things and often mistakenly believe that the audience will instinctively get the ‘science bit’. We’ve done the focus groups right? Hey, you should have seen them before. Sound familiar?

In reality, the audience only really cares if a rebrand makes their lives slightly easier; easier to understand what you, as an organisation do and easier to make an informed buying choice. The reason why red can spell danger, why purple can be calming or why a sans serif font doesn’t necessarily always mean modern is often dismissed as agencies justifying their own existence. Everybody likes to criticise rebrands and quite often they are the fall guys covering up cracks elsewhere in the organisation if it doesn’t work. But ultimately, you don’t work on rebrand briefs where the original name and look is inextricably linked with human tragedy.

All design agency bugbears pale into insignificance when you consider the task facing the rebranding team for Malaysian Airlines. Not only does it have to restore the worldwide public’s faith in its ability to safely operate, but it also has to restore the pride of a nation with extreme sensitivity, under the scrutiny of the whole world.

According to the BBC, the new brand is likely to be unveiled in September. The company’s newly appointed CEO Christoph Mueller announced that the airline is “technically bankrupt” and will have to shed 6,000 jobs.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing with 239 passengers and crew in March last year, and has not yet been found. Flight MH17 was then shot down over Ukraine while travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July, with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew on board.

“The decline of performance started long before the tragic events of 2014,” Mueller says.

The company has made a financial loss every year since 2011, but the two incidents have further impacted on its revenue, Malaysia Airlines says.

Mueller has not yet confirmed whether a rebrand would mean a change in name or logo. “All constellations are open,” he said.

The question is, where do you start?

Jun, 03, 2015

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