We have a new mission: to inform, entertain, and connect the world – not with more of the same but with extraordinary content experiences.
AOL Case Study
In December 2009, global web services business AOL departed from its parent company, Time Warner. With a brand name synonymous with Internet access, AOL looked to Wolff Olins to assist it in re-shaping perceptions of the brand around the very different business it is actually in. New CEO Tim Armstrong's new mission reflected this strategy: To inform, entertain and connect the world - not with more of the same, but with extraordinary content experiences. AOL works with the best collection of journalists, artists and musicians to create 80% original content.
The brief was to help make AOL a media company for the 21st century. At the IPO, Wolff Olins' first task was to create a forward-thinking brand identity that reflected the importance of creativity and originality. As AOL is content, it made sense to invent an identity that acted as a platform for content.
Wolff Olins continued to work with AOL across a full range of projects aimed to rapidly evolve the AOL brand -- from internal programs to energize the organization to external marketing programs, like AOLartists.com (almost 1 million unique visitors in the first 6 months). And we designed initiatives and created partnerships like AOL Originals with Chuck Close and the 25 for 25 grants program to infuse creativity in everything AOL does.
The new brand started to pay off -- by the end of the year, AOL was the only major brand to have a better "buzz" score than online brands like Google, Facebook and Yahoo! according to Brand Index. And the visual expression was well received too -- AOL was named "best identity of 2009" by influential identity blog UnderConsideration and won prestigious awards from both AIGA and Cannes Lions. Since then, AOL has shown no signs of stopping its reinvention as an ad-supported media business. In the first quarter of 2013, AOL reported a 6 percent increase in domestic display advertising and its net income grew 23 percent.
The number 1 best identity of 2009… No identity will have a bigger impact in the evolution of a brand as AOL's
AOL’s new brand identity as created by Wolff Olins was today uncovered at the New York Stock Exchange. In an exclusive interview given to Fast Company, Sam Wilson, Jordan Crane and Paul Worthington give behind the scenes insight into the new brand strategy and explain why the new brand could be from the future. To read more go to www.fastcompany.com
REBOOTED INTERNAL CULTURE
Dec. 2009: new leadership, new strategy. Everyone is required to change and adapt fast. We helped the CEO translate the business strategy into something simple every employee could relate to. We redesigned the HR process and created tools to attract, immerse and retain new talent. We helped AOL bring their employees’ mojo back and infused creativity across the organization.
AOL’s new brand is from the future… They just created the first completely user-contributed, 100% flexible, invisible logo
AOL Artists wins design award
AOL Artists has been selected as a winner in one of the most prestigious design competitions for interactive media, the Communication Arts Interactive Design Competition. The award, judged by a panel of distinguished programmers, interface designers and creative directors, celebrates outstanding work and gives worldwide exposure to winning designers.
To read more go to Communication Arts.
RE-IMAGINED, RE-POSITIONED, RE-BOOTED
We created a philanthropy strategy and web experience that mobilized 377,000 user visits to various charity websites
We generated positive buzz with 65% of people that recalled the ads feeling more positive about the AOL brand
We opened new creative horizons for AOL partnering with the Whitney Museum, New Museum and Art Basel
AOL's 25th birthday
Today AOL celebrated its 25th anniversary at NYC’s New Museum by unveiling its second collection of canvases created by designers, illustrators and animators from around the world. This new wave of work is part of AOL Artists, a year long project co created with Wolff Olins and Chuck Close, that recognises the cultural creative icons of today and tomorrow. To read more go to http://www.aolartists.com/
AOL Artists custom super bowl footballs
A selection of AOL Artists have custom designed one-of-a-kind footballs to be showcased at the Maxim Super Bowl Party on Saturday February 5, the night before the Super Bowl. The hand crafted balls will be displayed in glass podiums throughout the event and will later be donated to the American Heart Association in honor of February as American Heart Month. To read more go to www.aolartists.com
A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR THE NEW BUSINESS AMBITION
We worked with AOL to build an innovative new brand platform for their business. This platform is deliberately disruptive. The reason is simple; the media world today is entirely unlike the media world of yesterday. AOL has won numerous awards for design excellence, including the prestigious AIGA award, the Cannes Lions award.
CHANGED BRAND PERCEPTIONS
We engaged the world's creative community and harnessed the best technology to make AOL's brand relevant again to the broader advertising community. Unlike major social media companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, AOL was the only major brand to actually have a better 'buzz' score by the end of 2010 (source: BrandIndex, Dec 2010).
STREAMLINED AND ORGANIZED PORTFOLIO
We developed a set of criteria to rationalize the AOL portfolio, based on traffic, revenue, awareness, usage, investment, and competitive assessment.
We defined a framework for a clear brand architecture, with AOL playing a connecting role across the whole portfolio. We also developed a set of guiding principles to manage the brands.
Art on the beach
AOL + Paper Magazine have teamed together to deliver exclusive, of the moment coverage of Art Basel and Miami Art Week. Photo and video coverage of the best parties, galleries, and exhibitions throughout the week can be seen at artbasel.aol.com
AOL 25 for 25 winners announced
Today AOL announced the winners of the 25 for 25 grant. The grant, which is designed to support the next generation of culture shapers and influencers, will award each of the 25 winners $25,000 to pursue their passions from painting, music programs, anthropology, and filmmaking. The winners were selected by a panel of judges that included Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg, curator Chrissie Iles, and writers Christian Viveros-Fauné and Glenn O'Brien. To read more go to aolartists.com
Cannes Lions win for Wolff Olins
Wolff Olins today won a bronze award at the Cannes Lions 57th International Advertising Festival for its AOL rebrand. The award recognizes outstanding design in advertising and related fields. Wolff Olins created a new brand identity for AOL in late 2009 to represent its new mission: to inform, entertain and connect the world not with more of the same but with extraordinary content experiences. To read more go to www.canneslions.com