Corporate identity and brand

Merger of GreenSquare Group & Accord

Housing Association

Vikki millichamp

Branding consultants can get a bit carried away with the bright and shiny elements of a project, but don’t always take into consideration what is important to our stakeholders. See Media was chosen to undertake this project on our behalf because we felt they would genuinely take on board the feedback they collected. The finished name and brand identity really reflected our stakeholders’ views. See Media became, during the process, a trusted extension to our in-house team.

Head of communications & engagement

Background

In 2021, GreenSquare Group, based in the Southwest, and Accord Housing Association, based in the West Midlands, joined together to create GreenSquareAccord as a provider of housing, regeneration, support and commercial services. By joining together, the two housing associations could better fulfil their aim to provide improved services to their customers over a larger operating area.

GreenSquareAccord manages 25,000 homes and over 100 care and support schemes, as well as LoCaL Homes, an off-site manufacturing facility producing timber-framed homes. 

The Challenge

Upon merging, GreenSquareAccord needed a branding partner to create and develop a cohesive brand with a new name and brand identity that would reflect the values of both organisations. A crucial part of the process was to help the two organisations combine the elements of their brands that their individual stakeholders had a great deal of affection for, whilst still creating a brand that signified a fresh start for the newly formed organisation. 

See Media was chosen to work closely with both organisations as well as their stakeholders, devising a strategy for engagement that ensured that staff, residents, care services customers and other external stakeholders were involved, and their views were both heard and acted upon.

What did we do?

We devised an approach that included a variety of engagement tools including virtual workshops, virtual focus groups, online polls, surveys and regular updates on the progress of the branding project with stakeholders.

Phase 1 of the project focused on agreeing a set of brand values for the new organisation:

  • We began with our ‘discovery’ phase which involved us gathering information on Accord and GreenSquare’s existing brands to inform the direction we should take for brand names and values. 
  • We coordinated a ‘discovery workshop’ with the combined Boards and executive teams from both organisations to understand the key objectives of the new brand.
  • Through an online poll we asked stakeholders to rate the importance of the two organisations’ existing brand values and compare them to organisations that were well known for the values they considered to be important.
  • Those brand values were then scrutinised further at a series of online focus groups which showed a surprisingly similar consensus across very mixed groups of stakeholders. 

Once the brand values were agreed, we researched extensively a series of potential new names that would reflect these values. At this point it became clear that both internally and with customers there was a real strength of feeling that the name GreenSquareAccord was the preferred choice. This presented a problem in terms of conveying a fresh start for the new organisation, which meant that the visual identity for the brand needed to work hard for the brand to achieve this aim.

We moved quickly on to a further online survey and series of workshops that asked our stakeholders to consider several visual elements in relation to our newly agreed brand values including text styles, images and colours. From this feedback our design team created some first concepts for review and progressed two designs to be considered by our final set of focus groups. Further feedback led to a minor change to the final design to ensure the graphic elements resonated with our target audience. 

In readiness for the launch of the newly merged organisation, we devised a comprehensive style guide that included templates for marketing collateral, new uniforms and van livery. We then designed, produced and coordinated the installation of signage and developed a new website to go live on launch day.

Results

The whole project was delivered in just in just four months, both on time and within budget, with significant stakeholder engagement:

  • 304 stakeholders completed the brand values online poll and then formed a core group for our future feedback. 
  • 54 stakeholders joined a series of four visual identity feedback workshops.
  • 32 stakeholders took part in a series of five brand values feedback workshops.

Despite the challenges presented by keeping the same names for the new brand, the new identity that was delivered truly reflected the feedback of the stakeholders and was heralded as fresh, striking, bold and bright. 

Our branding work for GreenSquareAccord went on to win the Public Sector Award at the 2022 PRCA Dare Awards. 

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