When it comes to telecommunications companies the modus operandi is apparently clear: The bigger, the better. And what could be bigger (and better?) than a new joint spin-off company by, already-big corporations, Finland-based Nokia and Germany-based Siemens, two of the most influential technology companies in the world. The result is Nokia Siemens Network (NSN). Like most telecommunication giants (Alcatel-Lucent, Ericcson and Cisco), NSN’s scope is broad, ambitious and ambiguous so creating an identity around it becomes increasingly complex. Moving Brands, a London-based branding agency — and a newcomer to the highly public branding game — scooped the project from a handful of the major players and proceeded to create and, most amazingly, launch a new identity in the span of two months, premiering at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona this past February.
Booth at 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona
Incredulous that such a distinct identity could be approved by two incredibly large (and I’m surely incredibly complex) corporations I had the opportunity to inquire with Moving Brands about this fast-forward process. “As you might have guessed it,” says Peter Faulkner of Moving Brands, “it wasn’t an easy process; however the tight time schedules did have the effect of forcing quick and weighty decisions from key stakeholders (Nokia board, Siemens board, Nokia Siemens Networks board, etc.)” And on the possibility of what this identity could have easily been (and what Tony Spaeth pointedly illustrates) Peter adds, “One of the biggest [decisions] was to use a new font rather than continue with Nokia and Siemens brand marks attached to ‘Networks.’ We were fortunate in working with a client who had access to the key decision makers and who was able to accelerate the process.” The resulting identity — perhaps unorthodox, and undoubtedly European — is an implicitly dynamic wave, with a purple to yellow gradient (avoiding what would have been a too-cold gradient from Nokia’s blue to Siemens’ light teal) and a confident, modern sans serif. “The wave symbol,” adds Peter, “which was one of the earlier concepts got an immediately positive response from all sections of the organisation which also assisted the process; there were, naturally, many iterations of the final form you see.” Regarding the timing, “The logo was in approved design direction in less than two months. By the time two months came up we had produced visual concepts for all key applications (events, livery, signage, press, advertising, etc.) based on the Corporate Identity system we had developed.”
After the rush launch, Moving Brands can now look forward to a probable date of April 1st for the official launch of NSN and the rollout of the implemented identity. Plenty of work is still necessary, but the biggest hurdle has been cleared, allowing the brand to evolve, and from the application of the identity in the booth, livery and web site, it looks poised to deliver on the dynamic promise established by the static-by-nature wave mark. Unlike other marks for giant conglomerates (nielsen to name one) Nokia Siemens Network is a heroic case study of what can be achieved with a committed leadership group on the client end, a motivated and energetic branding agency, and the desire to create an identity that breaks out of the expected. The bigger, the less expected, the better.