If you’ve been following our social media over the past couple of days, you’ll have noticed that Opply has just gone through a rebranding process – new logo, new website, and a splash of yellow in our new colours!
To celebrate the launch, we sat down with Jem Egerton and Scott Wotherspoon from Liquid Studio to chat through the creative process of getting Opply’s look to where it is now.
We met the Opply team at the amazing Bread & Jam festival in July 2022. We were exhibiting next to each other, so had plenty of time to chat in down-time. They’re a great team, super-energetic and personable, and we struck up a real rapport and chemistry. We got to know a lot about their product, and the incredible potential it had.
We also discussed the challenges they faced trying to communicate their offering to potential customers. We weren’t the first people to point out that it wasn’t at that point being communicated particularly clearly through their branding and marketing.
Eventually the conversation turned into a question…
‘Can you help us fix it with a brand refresh?’
Naturally we said ‘we’d love to’.
Getting to know visionary founders, and unpacking the real stories behind their brands is one of the most rewarding aspects of our job. Invariably, the ‘why’ that drives their mission is fascinating and illuminating. Baking it into our strategic process always helps us create more authentic branding that will ultimately connect and resonate better with audiences.
Meeting Helen and discovering her story was no exception. Actually there are lots of brilliant stories at the heart of Opply that have shaped both the platform and the innovative culture of the business behind it. One core narrative that runs through everything is the idea of ‘supporting the underdog’, of empowerment. By giving SMB’s easy access to powerful data, it allows them to compete against big players in a way previously unimaginable. Its a game-changer. And this idea of accessibility and democratisation adds a key flavour to the brand story.
On a more fundamental level, all stories need heroes and we always approach every job by casting the consumer in this role. Quite simply, Opply can help their consumer ‘hero’ by making procurement easier and more fun for them. That simple narrative is definitely something we tapped into.
Working on a ‘tech’ project was certainly a departure for us. However our experience of working within the f&b sector meant we had a good understanding of the target audience and the kind of challenges they face. Crucially, though, our mission at Liquid is to ‘champion challengers’ – to empower brave, unconventional businesses who want to challenge the status quo, transform their industry and make a difference. Opply certainly ticks all those boxes, so this project was actually right in our sweet-spot.
The real nugget at the core of Opply’s offering is the idea of ‘connecting with ease’. It connects buyers and suppliers intelligently across its huge network. It seamlessly connects up the whole procurement process end-to-end. It connects different systems within a single ecosystem. It connects businesses across different categories. And it makes all of these connections super-easy for everybody.
That insight ended up driving the creative. We developed a bold ‘journey line’ graphic to embody the sense of easy connection. It forms a fluid ‘spine’ amidst a bright, optimistic, up-beat brand world. Colours pop. Shapes shift. Narratives flow like conversations, using messaging that is deliberately approachable, simple and clear. This sense of connection flows through the whole brand experience – from initial recruitment right through to the platform UX.
As always we started with a Discovery phase. Usually this means asking a bunch of questions to tease out key insights about the brand and the story behind it. What was different about Opply is that they’d already been through an internal strategic discovery process (driven by Mike). We built on this great foundation, interrogating it and supplementing it in some inspirational Discovery sessions with Helen and Mike. Eventually we collaboratively arrived at a distilled proposition – a strategic and verbal definition of the brand that became the roadmap for the ensuing creative process.
Then the creative team came together to create what we call Expression concepts. These are broad-brush inspirations, loose collections of thoughts, themes, palettes, styles, messages that in some way interpret the proposition. In Opply’s case we referenced influences as diverse as 1960s psychedelic posters, 1930s Italian futurism and 1990s gaming consoles. We intentionally start far away from any likely end point and mash up seemingly incompatible themes before honing and whittling down into a few coherent routes.
Once Opply had chosen a favoured Expression route (broadly the ‘connecting with ease’ route), we developed, crafted and iterated it through to approval.
We built out a full brand toolkit to cater for every level and stage of the brand experience. In Opply’s case that meant supplying key visual assets – (logos, icons, colour palette, typography palette, supporting imagery, social assets, web and UX guidelines) and also guidance on the verbal identity (Tone of Voice guideline, key messaging, tag-line). An accompanying Brand Guidelines document summarised all the creative pillars to support coherent roll-out of the brand across multiple touch points.
One of Opply’s big ambitions, and one of its brand principles, is “Make Supply Fun”. When Helen and Martin founded the company, they wanted to “make supply the best part of someone’s day”, rather than the thing they dreaded most. Visually, we’ve attempted to do this through images of people and snapshots of stories.
Another challenge was getting the balance right between fun/engagement and gravitas/reassurance. How could we make the brand feel accessible and fun to engage the audience, but not at the expense of the trust and reassurance needed to convert that audience? How could we surface the seriously powerful intelligence driving the platform without losing people in an impenetrable geek-fest?
Perhaps the biggest challenge was having to watch a tanned Mike conducting one of our weekly zoom calls from a sun-drenched Puglian landscape, whilst we endured English September downpours.
The biggest highlight of the project has undoubtedly been getting to know and working with such an awesome team. To our delight they trusted our approach from day one, were un-prescriptive and gave us free rein. The ambition, ethos and culture of the business is truly inspiring. The platform is truly game-changing. It’s going to fly, and it’s going to make a real difference. Thats something worth championing.
If our story clicks with you and you want to find out more, fill in the form below and one of the team will get back to you quicker than you can say “sundried tomatoes”.
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