Team players – not mavericks
Firefighters are often portrayed as heroic mavericks. Is this even true, and does it do the profession justice? We pondered these questions and many others when we were tasked with taking the brand identity of S-GARD – a manufacturer of innovative protective clothing – to the next level.
S-Gard has been producing top-quality protective clothing for more than 130 years in order to keep firefighters and other members of the emergency services as safe as possible in extreme conditions. This family-run company also sees itself as an all-round partner of the fire service, offering a wide variety of up-to-date training and development programmes, not to mention maintenance, cleaning and repair services.
While the greatest care has always been taken to maintain the quality of the product range, the company’s visual identity and external communication had grown outdated. The company’s public image reflected neither its market-leading position in Germany nor its plethora of innovative products.
The aim was to achieve a fresh, modern identity; integrated communication that becomes more relevant to the target group due to its insights, and choice of topics and a brand awareness that hones the company’s image as an established driver of innovation and a partner to the fire service while bringing this image more to the fore.
It was time to take the brand power to the streets.
Thanks to detailed market research, workshops and focus groups comprising firefighters from different fire stations, we garnered an insight into the motivations, values and needs of the target group.
Our analysis clearly illustrated that while the market’s typical approach to communicating with the target group – glorifying a heroic maverick against a bleak backdrop – serves a cliché, it has little to do with the reality. Based on these insights, we brought creative light into the darkness and completely redefined the brand identity.
We not only modernised the logo and slogan, but also developed a new visual style and communication approach that resonates more strongly with the target group: the maverick becomes a team player.
We incorporated the previously outsourced Safetytour subbrand, which handles the training and development programmes, into the S-GARD brand in order to maximise the synergies of both brands.
The visual revamp was met with an overwhelmingly positive response – and not just at the company and amongst employees. The new look, as well as the precisely calibrated visual and written communication, was also well received amongst business partners, retailers and customers. They express the excellence of the brand in a new way. The new brand strategy leads to a positive image transfer and allows the brands to benefit from one another.
Alongside a new website and various specialist brochures, we also designed the corporate image and product catalogue of S-GARD. The family-run business now boasts a revised brand architecture and a new brand identity, allowing it to be clearer and more self-assured on its communication channels in terms of design and communication.