Recently, we completed a branding upgrade for our client ClaimVantage. ClaimVantage is a software company that has developed a claims processing solution that runs on the cloud-based force.com platform. The company has offices in both Portland, Maine and Dublin, Ireland.
We’ve been working with ClaimVantage for more than a year and the branding process was part evolution, part revolution. When we first started working together we helped them with a “clean up” of their web site. But at that time they didn’t have the budget for a complete rebuilding of their brand identity. So the web design upgrade was modest. Then in early 2011 they scored a grant from Enterprise Ireland, giving them them the funding to help redesign their logo and web site completely.
Like with all of our branding projects, we started with research into their competitors and target audience. Although our clients always know a lot about this, we prefer to do our own research to validate their findings and look at it from an outsider’s perspective.
The insurance claims processing field has a limited number of players and they were easy to identify. ClaimVantage is on the forefront of cloud-based software, and was ready to make a mark by grabbing this position. Many of the others companies who provide claims processing prefer a traditional sales approach where not much information is given on their web site and most information sharing is done on an individual basis between a sales rep and a potential client. By making ClaimVantage’s solution easy to understand directly on the web site, they could immediately put their product in front of decision makers.
We felt that ClaimVantage’s name was quite good and recommended that they stick with it. However, not everyone understood what part of the insurance claims process they were in. So we worked with our partner Rob Coburn of Coburn Communications to develop a tagline that quickly summarized what they did, what benefit they offered:
Automated claims. Better decisions.
We did a full exploration of logo concepts, but narrowed the process by keeping their corporate green and black color palette. Whenever you do a rebranding or branding refresh one must be careful to keep ties to the original brand identity. Since their dark green color was one element they carried along for five years and we felt it would be a good thread to keep their new brand identity connected to their old.
Our sketches focused on the following themes: cloud-based technology; small details of claim intake building into the larger view of claims processing; the Irish heritage of the company; multiple information sources converging; input of data and exporting of reports; systems and flow of information.
We showed 9 logo concepts at our first presentation. This is on the higher end of what we normally show, but experienced has shown us that most clients like to see both a range of ideas, but also a sense of the thinking that went into a logo design.
The client was very happy with the range of ideas presented, but felt that number 6 was the strongest with number 8 their second choice. They liked that design number 6 seemed to tell a story: “ClaimVantage focuses on all the little details, so that when you put it together you get a very robust system.”
We worked to refine the logo, and to integrate it with the name and tagline. We ended up simplifying it greatly. Along the way, we actually tried fewer and fewer number of blocks to be as simple as possible, but still get the idea across.
We started with 20 blocks, and tried simplifying to as few as 7 blocks. We also arranged the type more compactly or more horizontally. We tried different typefaces and arrangements for the taglines. Above is a sample of what we explored.
In the end, we ended up with 11 blocks. We also chose a horizontal version of the logo. Technically, their name is one word. And more importantly, within their software the space for a logo was not very tall, so the horizontal presentation made most sense.
The most important place to tell ClaimVantage’s story and explain their unique benefits was on their web site. You can see what their web site looked like previously in this blog post. Our goal was to create a design that was much more clean and sophisticated looking.
Here are three design directions we showed.
The first option continued to use illustration (like their earlier web site design), but with a different style. It reduced the the number of elements on the home page, and focused on just a few key messages.
The second web design option had no specific photography or illustration and it built upon the boxes in the logo. A slider element in the bottom was a way to present additional information without overwhelming the viewer.
The third design introduced photography as a brand element. The photographs were not of typical clients (ie business people), but more abstract and energetic.
You can see the web site design in its final form live at ClaimVantage.com The design is mostly option three, with further refinements to make the home page even more simple.
Our roots here at Visible Logic are in graphic design. But to develop a complete and compelling identity, the writing must be an integrated part of the brand. A voice that speaks in an appropriate tone is important, and the message must focus on the right customer benefits. We worked with Coburn Communications to improve the content throughout their site.
Like many businesses, ClaimVantage had focused too much on what they offered and not how they solve their client’s problems. We focused on creating key messages that summarized the benefits of their software solution, to make them succinct and easy to digest. The details of the software still needed to remain on interior pages, but would be framed within the context of solving a business problem.
When we work with our clients to develop their comprehensive brand identity, we want to look at every place they interact with prospects and clients. Are they showing a professional and unified brand image? Some of the other pieces we created for ClaimVantage included: business cards, electronic letterhead, tradebooth graphics, training materials and an e-newsletter design using our Mail On The Mark e-newsletter service.
This is a typical process for how we work with our branding clients. Sometimes we are involved with new business launches and we are creating names, logos and web sites from scratch. Other times (like in this case) we are doing a rebranding project. That means that we must remain aware of current brand standards and build upon them in a way that improves what is working and adds to it.