Designing a product sub-brand system
An extensive family of products is brought into alignment
Pace International is a “postharvest” company specializing in products that maintain the freshness and visual appeal of produce—from the day it’s picked to the day you take it home. Their suite of products and services is extensive and had grown organically over time, without a defined system for branding them.
The result was a collection of standalone logos that were strangers to each other. Aside from some shared colors, they didn’t hold together or reinforce the Pace parent brand. Internally, this presented challenges in their marketing efforts. But the biggest problem was that, externally, it was wildly confusing for customers and a huge, missed branding opportunity.
A product sub-brand system helps in a situation like this in three big ways. First, it ensures that the entire suite of products and services presents a unified and recognizable image to customers. Second, it reinforces the parent brand with each instance. And third, it saves the time, energy, and money that was being spent on individual logos.
Chalkbox was already working with Pace on other things and was asked to design a sub-brand system that would be flexible, accessible, comprehensive, and that would nest comfortably within the primary Pace International brand.
Reigning it in
Pace has been around since 1953. Their product list is extensive—75 and counting. And while these products can be organized into 5 primary categories, their individual uses are varied. To avoid creating a similar problem to the existing mix of individual logos, the idea of unique visual iconography for each product was taken off the table early in our process. Instead, we looked within the existing brand for an opportunity to build a modular system—a system that could easily flex to address new additions.
In case you’re wondering, Pace wasn’t alone. We looked at competing and adjacent companies to see how they were solving this problem; many of them hadn’t addressed it at all. But that’s not surprising. When a company has only a few products, individualized identifiers for each can feel like a logical choice. It’s not until later, when there are 10 or 20 or 75 items in the family that the problem becomes tangible and unsustainable.
The solution is a system
The finished system is tech- and research-forward, while remaining clear and practical. Just like the company and their customers, the packers and farmers who use their products.
Color denotes categories, a typographic system identifies the offering, and Pace’s logomark exists in each as a unifying element and a direct tie to the parent brand.
Customer confusion is a brand problem
A brand is the public’s collective perception of an organization. When that audience can’t tell which product goes with which service, or what company they came from, that collective perception isn’t clear or strong. A well-executed brand identity and sub-brand system can make each interaction a clear and reinforcing moment.
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