Kathleen Phelps : design
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Branding a Merger

IENA: INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE NORTH AMERICA
Branding Case Study

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Case Study: IENA Rebranding

The merger of 2 international work exchange agencies posed a unique problem:
How do you maintain market share when you lose your name?

International Exchange North America (IENA) is a US State Department designated visa provider working largely behind the scenes while 3 Adventures (3A) was a popular destination for employers and perspective workers. Unfortunately, when 3A purchased IENA the company with market share lost its name due to the legal standing of the entity it was acquiring.

The client approached with their own bulky solution, retain the company names as programs, linking a logo with multiple tag lines. 3 Adventures would be joining several other legacy programs. This solution went against the brand they said they wanted to build, one which would be clear, concise, and create no friction for the user, regardless from which end of the business they were approaching: Hire | Work. 

Research with shareholders and employees exposed a confused structure, many didn’t know one program from the other. The complex organization was irrelevant. The user, whether workers or employers had no need for the splintered identity. They still had a problem, if the program names were eliminated how would a link to the past, and their market, be maintained?

A solution presented itself, playing with letter/number forms the 2 names were visually combined while satisfying the need to adopt the one name. 

 
 The original brief requested a main logo with applications for each of the separate companies which existed prior to the merger.

The original brief requested a main logo with applications for each of the separate companies which existed prior to the merger.

 Visually incorporating 3A into IENA provided an elegant solution to the problem of maintaining market recognition.

Visually incorporating 3A into IENA provided an elegant solution to the problem of maintaining market recognition.

 Increasing legibility by reversing the '3' so it reads as an 'E' yet this iteration still maintained the splintered corporate identity.

Increasing legibility by reversing the '3' so it reads as an 'E' yet this iteration still maintained the splintered corporate identity.

 The complexity of the old organization became unified into one whole, IENA.

The complexity of the old organization became unified into one whole, IENA.

 
 The old logos.

The old logos.

 

With the structure resolved research into the competitor market revealed a need for a modern, clean approach. The brand positioning was formulated: IENA represents ease for both the young participant and the employer. No tension, relaxed yet competent, friendly, honest, open and trust-worthy. All experiences with the brand had to measure up. 

Rough designs were tested and refined to elicit the proper recognition of the name. A clear, bright color palette supported the brand proposition, as do brand guidelines which establish logo usage, primary and secondary color palettes, typography, conventions for text, photography and layout examples. These brand guidelines are the spearhead of a growing brand identity which is cataloged and shared in an open setting allowing for brand coherence as the company moves forward.