Building An Inclusive Brand the Write Way
Credible, entertaining, and passionate – Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) stands for journalism that goes beyond so its readership can see more. Headquartered in Munich, its journalism is characterized by the unmistakable language of its authors and now, with Frontify, SZ has also found a solution that can help strengthen the identity of its brand.
SZ is now introducing new logos and a whole new corporate design for all of its marketing channels and products, bringing them all under the SZ brand umbrella. By choosing to do a gradual rollout of the corporate design, the newspaper has taken into account the numerous and wide-ranging communication needs of the different offerings and products. As a next step, another important milestone will be the rollout of SZ’s new corporate language, which is currently still in development.
The SZ brand is a strong one, one that has grown and evolved over time. Its traditional brand profile is now given a more contemporary feel as part of the wider brand relaunch. But more than that, the diversified portfolio of offerings (and the inconsistencies that might have happened, visually, in the past) have now been given a uniform brand structure that is comprehensible to all users and originating from the same source.
Frontify helped the newspaper create a brand platform, bundling all relevant information about the corporate identity, communication, and design under one roof. Key stakeholders from all the relevant business units can now use Frontify to design and communicate consistently and in line with SZ’s new and unified brand values. According to Korbinian Vielmeier, Head of Brand, the platform will help the publisher become more efficient in the future, while increasing brand awareness across the company.
The implementation of a new brand portal has streamlined the brand management process. Now, content can just be uploaded without having to inform every stakeholder separately, like they did before. But more than that, the brand team can now effectively ensure that everyone is working with the newest versions – increasing the consistency of their entire communication and design projects.
Before we started working with Frontify, different style guides existed. They were accessible via different and often outdated sources which made it really difficult and time-consuming for the user to find and work with the correct content.
Making people self-sufficient in how they work with the brand means that each stakeholder can become an ambassador, and with each new employee, this can now start during the onboarding phase where they can inform themselves about SZ’s brand strategy, and corporate identity. New employees can also hit the ground running by downloading essential brand materials – like the corporate fonts – from the get-go, or whenever needed.
Last year, SZ’s brand team consciously decided on a soft launch of their platform. This was especially the case because it was highly specialized around design elements. As Elena Jende, Lead Brand Strategy states: “We started with the heavy users, our UX and visual designers, followed by marketers and agency partners. With more and more content added to our portal, Frontify has become more relevant for the rest of the organization too.” For example, salespeople and editorial teams can now visit the platform on a regular basis to keep themselves in the know independently.
Since Frontify is our brand platform, a typical use case has been to commission external designers to create some ads. The designer gets access to the platform and finds all the relevant brand information there. Additionally, they have the possibility to download corporate design elements like logos or icons seamlessly.
At the moment, SZ have more than 200 registered brand portal users from all departments, including the CEO, editors, developers, and designers. And the potential for growing the number of users will continue, as more content will be added to the portal – bringing more active users to the table.
We have the vision to fill the platform with more helpful brand content, while assuring that there is not an overload of information. Since we are still in the rollout process of the corporate design, and the corporate language, some important parts are still missing on the platform.
The presentation of the SZ brand is now more tangible, and the simple access to all its brand-related content and information has resulted in a surge of new users. Thanks to constant growth, users are now closer to the brand than ever before, and the increased brand inclusion has resulted in employees being active contributors to its development. These are exciting times for SZ, and Frontify will continue to offer its best-in class solution for the SZ brand in order for its growing user base to leverage it fully for many years to come.