New: Corporate presence, name, and
Launched: April 18, 2012
Story in brief:
"Who owns the vision?" That's a question the
identity consultant/designer must often ask, because
essentially their task is to discover, express and advance a
leader's vision. In 99 cases it's the CEO (who may have
started the identity ball rolling, but more often was awakened
to ownership in the course of the rebranding process
– which tends to ask questions only
the CEO can answer). Lineage is the 100th case; key
investors, not executives, created the vision and
commissioned an identity for it.
Four years ago Adam Forste and Kevin Marchetti formed the private
investment house Bay Grove Capital, and acquired the Seattle-based
Seafreeze Cold Storage, the first in a succession of regional
acquisitions of similar companies who serve food industry needs for
refrigerated and freezer warehousing. This is a case of
creative, hands-on investors, who see growth in combining
independent, mostly family-owned entities into one much bigger, much
stronger contender, usefully leveraging scale efficiencies in
performance and marketing – and most important,
who see how a radical rebranding can make it all happen, virtually
in an instant.
To create the needed master brand, the Bay Grove partners chose
consultants Marshall Strategy, based also in SF, headed by Ken
Pasternak and the Landor veteran Phil Durbrow (who Marchetti knew
from a previous branding). Marshall Strategy, which
subcontracts design work, engaged Jerry Kuyper, another Landor
alumnus, as creative director for the assignment.
Strategy discussions clarified the need to celebrate the heritage
and retain the regional equities of the acquired companies (both
past and future), while absorbing them in the new, larger whole.
This "heritage" idea is reflected in the name "Lineage," the best
survivor in a full-blown naming exercise. (Yes, a real-word solution
proved to be legally available and protectable.) Addition of the
formal-name extension "Logistics" communicates the industry context.
As Forste puts it, "Our name pays homage to heritage, yet points to
the way forward, and suggests the connectivity at the core of our
Kuyper's logo combines a symbol with a wordmark. "The
symbol conveys the movement, control and precision inherent in
logistics," he wrote for the standards manual. "It also shows
different elements coming together to make a stronger whole. The
wordmark reinforces the concept of movement and connection"
Brand architecture will be monolithic. Though the old logos are
to disappear, Pasternak proposed that for a transition period, local
unit names retain their previous initials as well as their place
Flint River Services will sign itself Lineage/FRS Savannah or FRS
Albany, and Richmond Cold Storage will be Lineage/RCS Richmond or
RCS Norfolk. (This is a migration strategy; Forste expects that the
initials will in due course become expendable.)
A few days before public launch, employees convened in
'town halls' at each facility for a dramatic unveiling; key
customers also got a preview. Adam Forste reports that "The
reception has been terrific. The rebranding required considerable
forethought and planning, but has quickly become one of the most
impactful events since we started acquiring."
"C.E.O." - Adam Forste and Kevin Marchetti,
partners in Bay Grove Capital
Identity counsel & naming - Ken
Pasternak with Phil Durbrow,
Identity design - Jerry Kuyper, Jerry Kuyper Partners;
symbol and typography refinements by Joe Finocchiaro.
(Yes, it's the same team that designed
Strategy: In having recognized that
identity can be a powerful tool for leveraging undervalued
acquisitions, in this case through brand consolidation, these
investors are too rare a model. Venture capital firms and
investment bankers everywhere should take note: if sound
fundamentals are in place, rebranding can assure and accelerate
desired change. Make identity experts part of your teams.
Naming: Real words do have an authenticity
advantage, however slight, and can quickly gain acceptance as
merely a name almost regardless of literal meaning. It
does help, however, to offer a narrative at launch; thus
"lineage" offers "family-businesses heritage" plus the idea of
connectedness (which the formal-name addition of "Logistics"
also helps to plant.)
Design: The shield is visually appealing; it
complements the distinctive wordmark, rather than competing with
it. I love the color gradation, done with just three flat
(and cool) hues. And it is communicatively appropriate on
several levels – in its promise of
protection, in symbolizing the contributions of multiple parts
to a new whole – and most
importantly, by connecting "lineage" to heraldry, the shield
helps to sell and seat the name.
Corporate Brand Matrix ratings:
structural, 100% strategic, 0% functional (est.)