As the quintessential challenger brand, Grant Thornton is not only challenging competitors in the category, but challenging what has been typical in the industry: uniformity, predictability, and maybe even complacency. It’s about not settling. It’s about Status Go.
Grant Thornton LLP is one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory services. The industry is transforming to keep pace with new technology and regulatory pressures. The foundations of business are shifting. Uncertainty creates a competitive opportunity. Until now, they had not kept pace with competitors but their distinctive, people-first growth strategy puts them in the perfect position to seize the advantage in times of transformative change. Business-as-usual was not an option. In a brand survey, clients were clear about what they are looking for; a firm that is a true partner, advice on how to prepare for the future, and desire to be treated as very important. However, the actual target market the firm is focused on was less clear about who they are.
The brand strategy sessions uncovered the company’s unique position in the marketplace as “pragmatic by design.” They needed to show, instead of “tell” who they are. The two tenets of the new brand positioning are 1) a people-first culture, and 2) a future-forward approach which embraces the organization’s unique personality. The company’s brand mark, the Mobius, represents the connection with clients and people, and is the center of the new visual identity. Using its continual spiral and rounded corners, it informed the creation of the illustrations and icons. A pared back and brightened color palette introduced warmth and approachability. Photography had been traditionally black and white, but with people at the center of the brand, the change was to warm, colored images that always have a touch of humanity. Focusing on creating the new brand is just one of the strategic drivers towards the future. It’s the foundation on which the company’s success is built, as greatness is built from within the organization.
New positioning and visual identities result in massive change that touches every aspect of a firm, inside and out. They impact everything and everyone from clients, partners, associates and all internal colleagues. Throughout the project, Grant Thornton has exemplified agility through some of its business challenges especially as it relates to technology integration. Not only was this project about delivering the brand “assets,” it was also about educating and training employees about the brand, and conveying why it is a strategic driver which all are responsible for. That training also included the visual identity components and how to use them in an easy, accessible way through the internal framework and eLearning tools. The company’s evolution continues as the rebrand is rolled out. There is renewed excitement about the brand from within, as new elements and assets are adopted and implemented.