Brand Design: the Alcanzia Case

It’s one of the wonderful pluses of deregulation that an organisation needs to prepare to compete in the open market and get its brand battle-ready for a whole new era of competition. Alcanzia is one such company that has made impressive gains in just three years under its previous brand identity albeit within a regulated market scenario.

The question is did Alcanzia really need to rebrand for competing in a deregulated market in order to achieve its business goals?

The previous identity was serving it well, yet management moved to rebrand the organisation in the face of electricity deregulation. In the case of Alcanzia, why?

For my money, this rebrand is mainly a change of logo away from one that clearly references accessible energy to one that emphatically prioritises digitial interaction and functionality – the on-off smartphone icon/button/switch that requires a human touch to activate.

Hmmm… sorry but I do not get the advantage of this logo switch (excuse the pun!). The clear balance of ‘soft and engaging’ with ‘strong and efficient’ that was achieved by the previous mark and typography is lost in the new. The problem is that the new ‘switch’ mark is so dominant and functional that it overwhelms the rounded typographic evolution that the designers delivered for the brand name. The German Industrial designer inspiration is noted and there is no question that the branding “system” is efficient at a B2B / corporate stationery level. Undoubtedly the new logo “switch” design reflects such rationalist and technical efficiency too (and btw also works very neatly as an App icon!).

As a consequence, the extent of the blue coloration scheme comes into play with much more force with the effect of sterilising and cooling the identity. Ironically, the new brand identity for this energy? electricity? company is now indeed very cold and functional in its design. It’s not that a digital switch is an irrelevant direction to take, it’s just that the challenge then is to convey emotion and warmth to create a personality and brand tone that is appropriate to this business, its brand offer and, in a deregulated market, engages powerfully and persuasively with customers and consumers alike. And why shouldn’t this start with the brand identity itself?

As the old motto goes “a change is as good as a rest”….but that is not the case in branding (or business!) and certainly not in the case of the Alcanzia brand identity. Of course change is good, and change is always with us, but change for change sake misses the point.

The use of playful graphics/illustrations/photos also brings into question the reliable visibility of such collateral across all marketing channels, traditional, social, online… The point is that in this case the dependence of the brand mark on the supporting collateral is too high and therefore the brand will suffer if and when collateral support is not immediately at hand. In addition, the advertising/marketing collateral and imagery is not contributing enough to the brand identity anyway, as it appears somewhat disconnected. This cannot be permitted because without joined-up integrated communication, this identity is sterile and far too cold to stand on its own brand feet. Indeed I would venture to say that commoditised (ubiquitous) imagery of this nature (we’ve all seen it, right?) is not strong enough or own-able enough to protect and promote Alcanzia’s essential brand proposition and its future market value.

I believe the designers here have missed a trick and the Alcanzia rebrand is far from a wrap! Back to the drawing board…?  Well, there’s a lot needs fixing here and someone needs to flip a switch and put the focus emphatically back on the customer, the brand benefits, and how to energise the consumer experience so that Alcanzia can confidently take a strong and decisive brand position in the real world of competitive electricity (or is that energy) deregulation.

Brian McGurk

Brian McGurk