Revitalizing a brand’s story

Card Scanning Solutions, Inc. (CSSN) had outgrown its name. With a name that referenced only a single product line of the growing company, CSSN deeply needed to rebrand itself. What the company needed was more than just a new company name, though. It needed a complete brand refresh to reflect the current state of the business and its aspirations for the future.

CSSN enlisted our support in developing the brand, guiding the renaming and shaping the identity. Our objectives were to:

  • Help CSSN clearly define who they are as a company and what they do.
  • Capture the present reality and future aspirations of the company.
  • Differentiate CSSN in the marketplace through clear, crisp messaging.
  • Strengthen customer perceptions of the company’s promise and offerings.
  • Connect employees to the company vision and enable aligned day-to-day execution on the front lines.

Uncovering the company’s core

Our first objective was to develop a more intimate picture of CSSN’s business, industry, employees, customer perceptions, environment and culture. To get to know the company and challenge more fully, we:

  • Conducted 10 one-on-one interviews with internal stakeholders and two customers to gain input and perspectives about the company.
  • Reviewed a wide array of documents, research, marketing and business communications and presentations.
  • Reviewed the company’s multiple product websites.
  • Received an on-site product demonstration.
  • Audited three top competitors with a focus on how they position themselves in the marketplace.

Using these activities and resources as our basis, we developed core insights and recommendations. We rolled all of our research into a summary of key findings and insights. It outlined key opportunities and challenges, audience profiles, competitor analysis, core insights and recommendations. These findings provided a foundation for discussion and critical reflection, which influenced the phases that followed.

Brand platform

Defining the positioning

We used our initial research and discovery to shape the company’s brand platform. As we distilled the research, the core idea — optimizing performance — emerged. This positioning was credible, ownable, defensible, relevant and enduring. It summed up Acuant’s ongoing pursuit of effectiveness and consistent execution — precisely what the company promised to deliver.

In conjunction with this positioning, we fleshed out “on-brand” personality traits and behaviors to define the brand in human terms. This would help humanize the company and pave the way for clear, consistent and compelling communication across a variety of touch points and channels over time.


Building meaning through naming

With the brand platform in hand, we moved forward into name development. One of the most apparent concerns with the existing name CSSN was its failure to fully capture the scope of the company’s work. Though the organization had scaled, the name had not. We needed to develop a name that would better capture not only the functional benefits and breadth of the organization’s work but also the spirit and personality of the company. We reviewed comparable names in the identity scanning solutions industry and documented naming objectives and criteria to guide us.

We recognized that the new name needed to:

  • Effectively differentiate and define the company in the marketplace.
  • Reflect needed functionality to support the company’s present and future offerings, industry and geography.
  • Align with team preferences in terms of language and storytelling impacts.
  • Evoke desired perceptions among stakeholders — both internal and external.

The company’s existing product and service names were highly descriptive, product-based names. For the master brand name, however, we wanted to create an association with an experience, and reflect the positioning and personality of the company in a way that would build meaning and equity over time. Acuant was selected as the finalist. A coined word inspired by “accuracy” and “acuity” the name alludes to the inherent value provided by the company while leaving room to grow in services and operations.


Brand expression

Designing the brand’s face

Once Acuant was selected as the name, we created the complete identity and story for the company. We began our work with word concepts derived from the brand platform and allowed these to drive our creative concepts. The ultimate expression stems from key concepts central to the brand — breaking technology barriers; transformational solutions that drive system-wide change; and insight, expertise and the potential for ubiquity.

The selected identity extended well into a full identity system. It reflects the statement — Acuant builds performance into everything we do. To ensure consistent use throughout the organization, we developed a concise guide on how to use the elements of the visual identity. This would help employees put the brand into action across all types of communication.

To accompany the visual expression, we also developed a key messaging platform that contained an overarching brand story, supporting headlines and proof points. Communicators within the organization would have a go-to resource for consistent communication in the future, complete with defined copy and headlines. We also created tailored messaging based on our client’s needs – specifically for employees and three key industries of clients.

Visual Vocabulary

Summarizing the spirit of the brand

To express the spirit of the corporate brand in the most succinct terms, we explored tagline options. Our aim was to create a tagline that would:

  • Express the essential benefits that Acuant brings to its customers.
  • Communicate the end-to-end nature of Acuant’s offering ranging from acquisition and authentication through verification.
  • Convey the brand position of Optimizing Performance.
  • Reflect the company’s personality — enterprising, nimble, ingenious and can do.
  • Telegraph the company’s drive to stay ahead of the market and innovative approach to solving tomorrow’s identity challenges.
  • Possess memorability.
  • Avoid conflict or confusion with competitors.

Ultimately, “smart from the start” was selected. It takes a common turn of phrase that’s powerful in its simplicity and provides a nice complement to the newly created word Acuant. “Smart from the start” communicates ease of use and a promise to deliver quality that optimizes performance.

Business card

Creating momentum

This is a rebrand still relatively fresh out of the gates. However, the name and identity have been received positively within the organization.

Acuant components

  • Naming
  • Tagline
  • Identity

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