New: Repositioning, redesign, and a new logo
Launched: February 21, 2006
Story in brief:
Since 1948, Manpower has meant "temps," having built a worldwide
business of 4,400 offices and revenues of some $16 billion
providing (mostly) temporary staffing services. But today,
"temps" are just one form of outsourcing, as worker/employer
relationships continue to evolve. Since 1999, under new
CEO Jeff Joerres, Manpower has scrambled to expand its offerings
and to keep pace, if not to lead, in adapting to rapid changes
in "the world of work." Temps, yes; but now add contract
and permanent recruitment, assessment, training, outplacement
and yes, outsourcing.
Joerres was frustrated, however, that the Manpower image would
not change as rapidly as its reality. On a director's advice, he
made the trip (from Milwaukee) to London to call on Brian Boylan,
Chairman of Wolff Olins, to talk about the brand.
Wolff Olins developed the positioning goal "Thought leader in the
new world of work," designed a logo and more importantly, a complete
new look and feel for all Manpower media -- print, Web, and all
those 4,400 offices. As many as 200 different unit and office
identities would be replaced with the new brandmark.
(Three important newer subsidiaries, however -- Jefferson Wells,
Elan and Right Management -- were redesigned as a sub-brand family
with a common symbol, endorsed only verbally by Manpower. Wolff
Olins did not advise or do this work.)
The new logo is a softer, lighter wordmark, lower-cased to be
more "approachable," dominated by an abstract symbol of five rounded
bars... their meaning, "multiple choices, multiple colors."
The bars are not meant to relate to Manpower's five
principal units, the designer tells me. And although they spell
"mp," they are not meant to be seen as such; Manpower does
not particularly want to be known as MP.
C.E.O. - Jeffrey A. Joerres
Identity design - Wolff Olins, London (Luke Gifford, designer)
This program is more important as a comprehensive corporate
redesign, a change of look and personality, than as a new logo.
As such I think it will be sweepingly effective, and I regret
that identityworks.com is not set up to better illustrate a
visual system like this at work.
That said, I must address the logo too. Its design strategy
puzzles me. The Manpower name is (although regrettably chauvinistic)
a wonderful identity asset, but it's overwhelmed here by the symbol.
And to what end? Does the symbol convey a compelling idea? Not
really. You might see initials, which (undermining the name) is
actually counterproductive. Personally I see a wooly animal
(bison?); my ancestral hunter genes, perhaps.
The brand architecture design puzzles me too. Granted,
marketplace equities of Jefferson Wells (audit, accounting, tax
professionals), Elan (IT specialists) and Right (consulting and
'career transition') must be respected, yet they are exactly what
Manpower could use to expand its own reputation. Instead these three
appear to be moving, together, to a different star.
Tony Nguyen notes some predecessors at the rounded bar, Sony's Mylo and Intel's Viiv.
Juan Rivera was reminded of the MIT
Press colophon designed by Muriel Cooper, a brilliant illustration of
how hard we'll work to see letterforms no matter how tortured or
abstracted they may be.
CEO Jeffrey Joerres
"The new brand aligns the company we are today with the image we
project in the marketplace"
Redesigned sub-brand logos.
(But imagine them with the 5-bar symbol,
in place of the blue box)
Sony Mylo, Intel Viiv
Muriel Cooper, 1963