A super-helpful services brand
Dixons Carphone was becoming established in the specialist technology support market through their Knowhow and Geek Squad brands, and there was growing consumer appetite for accredited expertise. Although a third of the UK population have purchased technology support, evidence showed the market was fragmented and mistrusted. People didn’t know where to turn when they needed hands-on help.

Dixons Carphone wanted to create a national network of local experts who could help across a range of needs. This would cover the lifecycle of a product, from install and set up, to repair and upgrade. They asked us to help integrate the two existing brands, bringing together the best of both, to create a new services brand.

An experience built on strategic foundations
We initially developed a purpose for the new brand, based on the Team Knowhow belief that everyone has the right to expert help for technology, delivered in a smart, convenient, affordable, and human way.

We went on to define the go-to-market proposition, launch offer and overarching brand strategy. Through rigorous consumer and colleague testing, we helped Team Knowhow move from the retail approach of packaging services by internal business unit or product type, to organising and focusing the offer around real customer needs. Four customer-facing service categories – Connect it, Fix it, Protect it, Improve it – simplified and connected this service-based offer.

With strategic foundations set, we defined the customer experience in-store, online, at home and over the phone. After creating a series of customer and colleague journeys, our experience designers created bespoke principles, stand out service moments, and prototypes based on a new collaborative operational approach. Team Knowhow will use this framework to develop and implement sustainable services ideas in the future.

“Their work with us has rightfully become the business’ overall commercial framework, which tells you everything about how well they understood us, our ambitions, and the future of our industry”

Louise EnglishMD of Services, Dixons Carphone

An identity that combines instruction with magic
We created a visual expression that explained the new services, based around the idea of ‘experts in action’. Inspired by instruction manuals, four multi-talented Team Knowhow characters bring user stories to life across platforms. They’re practical and helpful, yet playful. They’re individuals that work as part of a team, just like the real experts.

To craft unique gestures and movements, we partnered with animation experts Animade. We developed charmingly human motion behaviours to live seamlessly alongside the graphic language and come to life on digital touchpoints.

“Wolff Olins did everything they could, working desk-to-desk with our designers and partnering with the best specialists out there to create something visually unique, digital first, and intrinsic to the actual delivery of our services”

Louise English, MD of Services, Dixons Carphone

Our thinking acted as a north star for the newly combined services business, and engaged colleagues from the incumbent brands in the new ‘Team Knowhow way’. Using insights gained from their work with us, the internal team delivered immersion sessions for all 30,000 Dixons Carphone people.

The service was piloted and rolled out to over a thousand Curry’s PC World and Carphone Warehouse stores as of July 2017. And that’s just the start.

Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, is renowned for acting like an innovative upscale boutique, with high quality products at low prices. This strategy had set them apart from others who focused solely on price, and now they had ambitious plans to grow their revenue from $50 billion to $150 billion.

They also had an unruly portfolio of over 240 brands – the result of merchants acting independently to create own-brands, in the absence of a strategic architecture. Consequently, while there was choice, own-brands weren’t driving loyalty. Customers were confused, with research showing only 32% could correctly attribute Target’s own-brands to the right company.

A framework for decision-making and innovation
We worked with Target’s senior management to define the essence of the master-brand and a set of principles to guide own-brands. We analysed the hundreds of existing labels, spending time with customers at stores and in their homes to get a deep understanding of shopping patterns.

We found a fragmented mass of products that lacked coherence, and recommended that Target manage fewer, bigger, better brands. We created a strategic framework that categorised brands based on their relationship to the master-brand, their role in customers’ lives, their in-store scalability, and their potential profitability.

“The consistent execution of our strategy helps us create the excitement Target guests expect and the shopping experience they love.”

Target 2006 Annual Report

Everyday optimism
We also gave Target a range of recommendations to simplify and upgrade own brands. For example in the consumables category, we conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses to understand the competitive landscape, consumer needs and Target’s unique advantages.

Our learnings led us to create a strategy around ‘Everyday Optimism’, which was about bringing a helpful, positive attitude to daily purchases. We brought this to life with the brand name ‘up & up’, supporting it with a vibrant identity across packaging design and in-store execution.

“The identity gives us the opportunity to deliver on both the ‘expect more’ and ‘pay less’ sides of our brand promise”

Mark Schindele, Senior VP Merchandising, Target
Up, up and away
‘Up & up’ now includes over 800 everyday essential products across more than 40 categories, including household, healthcare, beauty, baby, and personal care. Nearly 100 items were introduced for launch, including new categories such as cotton balls and swabs, laundry detergent and baby food.

Our work helped make Target one of the most valuable retail brands in the US. In 2009, the ‘up & up’ brand registered a 14% increase in comparable sales, and by July 2010, comparable sales were 21% higher than the previous year.

Fortnum & Mason is a 307 year old business with the ambition to secure another 300 year old future and double the size of the business in the next 3 to 5 years.

To get there, they needed to expand their reach and relevance, and dramatically reassert themselves in a world that is hungry for the passion, knowledge and expertise Fortnum & Mason uniquely possesses. Most of all, they needed to understand the potential for growth beyond its core offer (food) and its single store in Piccadilly.

A strategy to deliver the business ambition
We worked directly with the CEO and his executive team to shape a brand strategy that could deliver the business. Critically, in the fast pace of retail, we needed to quickly give them tools to activate and instantly use the brand strategy. We devised ways in which Fortnum & Mason could step outside its Piccadilly store and bring its unique way of making the everyday special to a broader audience.

The first manifestation of this has been the F&M Hamperling– a unique piece of product innovation that reinterprets and contemporises the iconic hamper. It will form part of Fortnum & Mason’s takeaway offer both in-store and beyond, and appear front and centre in the experience-led initiative at St.Pancras International, which opened in November 2013.

Clear focus on commercial success
Since our relationship began we have helped embed the brand in the business. We have given the business a distinctive purpose and clear focus, lent coherency and direction to the product offer, specifically looking at the business opportunity for confectionery and rationalised categories on each floor. We have crafted a narrative that tied together the in-store experience, secured a new retail space, and established a partnership with the Serpentine Gallery.

In the year 2015, like-for-like sales were 15% up over the key Christmas period, the five weeks to 3 January. This pushed annual profits up 31% to £5m. Fortnum said it recorded the best trading day in its history on 15 December.

3M is perhaps most famous for Post-it® notes and Scotch® tape but such well-known consumer brands are a small fraction of its 60,000+ products.

It has long been among Fortune’s most admired companies, and it’s almost impossible to get through a day without coming into contact with 3M materials. They’re in cars, planes, mobile devices, hospitals, factories, offices, and homes.

Despite its status as an innovation powerhouse that makes vital contributions to everyday life, the brand is relatively invisible. We were asked to help change this by leveraging the overarching brand platform: 3M Science. Applied to Life.™

We worked with Chief Design Officer, Eric Quint, and Global Creative Director, Donna Root, to create a new identity that would reflect the transformative power of 3M. The company needed a smart system that would be flexible enough to resonate with business partners and customers around the globe.

“Our visual design system must bring life to the 3M experience, elevating every touchpoint”

Eric Quint, Chief Design Officer, 3M
About the system
The visual identity brings forward strength and symmetry. The core graphic elements were developed with science in mind, and the typeface – 3M Circular – is more distinctive. The system incorporates epic and lifestyle photography, highlighting the world at large and the people solving problems using 3M products.

“We were excited to co-create a system that would empower everyone to tell the story in a creative yet distinct way”

Jan Eumann, Design Director, 3M

The new system was revealed at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas in March 2015 and deployed worldwide in a carefully phased program. Reaction from 3M’s widespread businesses has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and dynamism now defines the brand experience.