Nuage Networks: A brand new brand
Alcatel-Lucent, the global telecommunications giant, approached Loud Dog in late 2012 with an exciting opportunity: they were launching a spin-out startup venture, called Nuage Networks, which would introduce a next-generation software-defined networking (SDN) solution. “Nuage” is French for “cloud” and their software will help massive datacenters make delivery for cloud services a reality.
With a team composed of top players drawn from all over Alcatel-Lucent, the venture needed a new brand that would distinguish it from its parent, help it stand out in a crowded space, and give it a solid foundation upon which to grow.
A global team
Before the ink was even dry, Loud Dog assembled a rock star team and began meeting with members of the Nuage Networks group, who were spread across the globe. Between our teams we spanned over six cities, five time zones, and five countries.
Building the brand
Solid branding starts with solid understanding. We ask questions, and then we ask the same questions in a different way, and then we ask them again. We find the common denominators of a brand. What’s at its essence? What is its purpose? What’s the organization’s culture? We need to ensure that we are discovering the nuggets of authenticity that are at the heart of every strong brand.
We launched the engagement by conducting in-depth interviews with individual Nuage Networks stakeholders throughout the world. These informal, yet critical conversations gave us insights into the company’s background, culture, market, competitors, and motivation for creating a brand separate from Alcatel-Lucent.
Following the interviews, we brought our entire design team to meet with Nuage Networks’s executives for a one-day workshop focused on discussing their brand vision, values, personality traits, and positioning. Workshops like this generate important conversations internally, helping executive teams align behind a common vision, and give our team a deep understanding into where the leaders want to take the company.
“It was fun, rewarding and professional –
a great combination.”
Lindsay Newell, VP, Marketing & Communications,
Networks & Platforms Group
We like to include the entire creative team in initial workshops so that they are fully immersed in the project and relate directly with the clients at an early stage, before they start to iterate on concepts.
When the new year arrived, we were already up and running with co-founder Dimitri Stiliadis, who took us through an awesome demo of their actual product, highlighting their differentiators and helping illustrate how they were going to change the future of datacenter networking.
Once we had a good understanding of who Nuage Networks was, what they were offering, and had conducted some competitive research, we were able to complete the project’s Creative Brief, which laid the foundation for design and messaging development.
The brand platform and identity
Because of a tight timeframe, we moved forward with strategy, design, and messaging on parallel tracks. Since the creative team was deeply involved from the beginning, they were well-informed and ready to begin the design process as soon as the brief was approved. They brainstormed together, worked on individual concepts, and came back together for more group collaboration.
Hundreds of concepts were reviewed, defended, refined, tossed, and refined some more as the creative team developed the strongest for internal presentations to our best (and worst) critics – ourselves.
Marks with meaning
The best marks (logos) are the ones that are imbued with layers of meaning. Some of that meaning is apparent to the outside world, and some is most compelling to those within the organization. Throughout the creative process, we focus on meaning; we discuss what different concepts signify, what additional layers of meaning exist (and could exist), and what they communicate about the company.
As the final presentation approached, we completed the brand platform, and narrowed our selection of identity concepts to the three strongest, which we presented “in action,” with sample business cards, stationery systems, and website designs, to give the Nuage Networks team a complete idea of how each mark could look when applied to visual expressions.
Each identity concept has multiple layers of meaning that build upon the brand platform. They are aspects of the organization’s vision that can drive the rest of the process.
During the presentation, we focus on possibilities and try to push boundaries. Avoiding what’s comfortable forces both teams to work together to create transformative work. We’d rather dial back later than struggle to dial it up.
The selected mark represents Effortless Connection and has multiple layers of meaning. It works with the Nuage Networks name, clearly representing a cloud, while the individual squares represent the different servers, machines, nodes, and data centers that the Nuage Networks solution connects together. The red and orange colors stand out among their competition, and are forward-looking and powerful. The logo symbolizes how Nuage Networks brings together the colorful, important, and dynamic pieces that make networks perform to their potential.
“This is very exciting. You did not disappoint!”
Manish Gulyani, VP Product Marketing, Core Networks
Extending the new brand to everything else
Once Nuage Networks selected a direction for their identity, we moved quickly ahead, finalizing color palettes, perfecting the mark for trademark applications, and extending it to a variety of applications. The list was long, and it included a variety of collateral, trade show graphics, a responsive website, a brand launch video, banner ads, presentation decks, icons, diagrams, and more.
One of the highlights of this project was drafting, and drafting, and re-drafting a creation story for Nuage Networks that eventually found its way to the big screen in the brand launch video.
We really wanted to distill the story behind Nuage Networks into an inspiring video that would visually and verbally capture the heart of their company and their approach. We partnered with amazingly talented Studio B to produce the video.
“Every single person that talked to me about the video absolutely loved it.”
Houman Modarres, Senior Director, Marketing
Launching the brand
Alcatel-Lucent launched the new brand at the Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara on April 2. We were delighted to be involved and watch as Basil Alwan, President of Alcatel’s Core Networks Division, and Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent’s Nuage Networks, presented it to a full room of industry analysts and reporters.
“The Loud Dog team did an awesome job. We don’t often get a chance to launch a brand and this was a really important one on top of that.”
Manish Gulyani, VP Product Marketing, Core Networks
We’re proud to have been a part of such an exciting new venture at Alcatel-Lucent, and thrilled that the reception for Nuage Networks has been met with media support and respect in the industry for a product that has capabilities that “outpace those of rivals.”
Stay in tune with what Nuage Networks is up to on twitter: @nuagenetworks
Hey! This wasn't written by a quiver of finches! It was written by Jodi Wing, who does awesome work at Loud Dog, a digital branding firm in San Francisco that helps businesses express themselves authentically via identities, websites, and marketing collateral.
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