Today I’d like to introduce a new series here on the blog: the Brand Review. With the new series I plan to give you valuable branding insights from interesting visual identities out there. You'll discover all about the ins-and-outs of brand identity design —what is brand identity, the brand-assets you'll need, the pitfalls and most importantly what it can do for you.
To kick off the series I’ll start with a quick brand review of none other than WakaWaka. They’ve been in the news recently with their: One million lives empowered. Congrats, guys! Great job! In light of this amazing achievement I thought I’d take a closer look at their visual brand identity.
I’ll have a look at: who they are, their why and how; and how this all relates to their brand.
WHO IS WAKAWAKA?
#1: It’s crucial to get to know a company before you start working on a brand identity.
“[WakaWaka is] a social impact company on a mission to provide universal access to the abundant energy of the sun.” After a successful Kickstarter campaign where they introduced their Buy one = Give one philosophy, they were able to bring their WakaWaka Light (a solar LED lamp with a story) to market. From that moment on they’ve been on fire.
On their about page (adequately named Mission) they give a short description of who they are, why they give and how they share the sun:
WHO WE ARE
“We help people plug into the sun. For power and for light. In an emergency or for play. In the middle of the city or way off the beaten path.”
WHY WE GIVE
“Because there are more than a billion people living worldwide without access to electricity and there more than a billion of people that can do something about it.”
HOW WE SHARE
“We left the best part for last: Buy a WakaWaka and you get to send one to someone living through a humanitarian crisis.”
“You. Me. All of us: Agents of Light. Let’s WakaWaka.”
They’re on a mission alright. I love the way they position themselves with their sharing philosophy.
VISUAL BRAND IDENTITY
#2: After getting to know the company, start with the development of a logo as a visual representation of their values
Now, let’s have a look at their brand identity. On their website you can find a mediakit with a selection of their brand assets (incl. their main logo, several alternatives and a style guide).
We’ll look at four parts of their identity:
- Offline presence: Product and packaging
- Online presence: Website and all other online places your business appears on
- Social media presence
#3: It’s a good idea to offer a mediakit for the press. Not only because it makes you look professional, but also because the press will have your high quality brand assets at their disposal with a guide on how to use them properly.
Let's start with their logo:
— Image: WakaWaka logo
As a tech company with a social mission they’ve chosen a simple, but effective logo. A bright yellow circle representing the sun combined with their name in capital letters (a Fontfabric font: Bebas Neue) —again in bright yellow on a white background. Very strong and recognisable. The yellow also matches really well with their Agents of Light philosophy. Finally, they've added a short and clear pay off (a Linotype font: Universe Condensed) in ‘techy' grey and they're done.
The yellow matches great with the contrasting tech grey as well:
— Image: WakaWaka logo with product name
COLOURS THAT SHINE
WakaWaka uses four colours: a bright yellow and three shades of grey.
PANTONE 109 C
CMYK 0, 9, 100, 0
RGB 255, 233, 0
PANTONE 424 C
CMYK 54, 45, 41, 6
RGB 131, 130, 131
PANTONE 425 C
CMYK 54, 45, 41, 22
RGB 114, 114, 115
PANTONE 426 C (90%)
CMYK 54, 45, 41, 60
RGB 72, 71, 74
1. OFFLINE PRESENCE
The bright yellow stands out and is used very effectively throughout their whole brand identity. Especially in their product line:
— Image: WakaWaka Base
You can recognise a WakaWaka product right away. When you encounter a WakaWaka product 'in the wild’, it’s so easy to spot:
— Image: WakaWaka Power in an urban setting
When we look at the WakaWaka packaging, we also recognise the bright yellow and the tech grey again. The cardboard look and feel of the rest of the packaging let's us subconsciously know that we're dealing with a company that’s responsible and holds sustainability in high regard.
— Image: WakaWaka packaging
I find their use of cardboard in their packaging really clever. I suits them. Sometimes when you use plain cardboard in your packaging it will look cheap, however in this case it only amplifies their message and mission.
2. ONLINE PRESENCE
When we take a look at their website: wake-waka.com, we instantly know we’re in the right place:
— Image: WakaWaka website
The logo and other bright yellow and tech grey elements welcome us right from the start. Without having to look very hard you can find out what they do and what they’re all about. The slider gives us a good impression (with both information about their mission and their products) and the brief explanation of WakaWaka (with good use of icons) underneath only makes it more clear. A menu with just a few items shows us our options without overwhelming us. And the huge amount of social proof on the website makes them look trustworthy.
The only thing I miss is a clear call-to-action (CTA) with what they want us to do next.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
On Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn we also instantly recognise WakaWaka. How? Their use of colour (bright yellow and tech grey again), the circle, the image of their product and of course the imagery of all the happy people they’ve empowered.
— Image: WakaWaka on Twitter (@WakaWakaLight)
— Image: WakaWaka on LinkedIn
I love the fact that they always show their mission —Share the sun; "provide universal access to the abundant energy of the sun”— first. It’s always the first thing you see —on all the social media platforms.
One thing that looks different when we compare the social media platforms is the logo on LinkedIn. Instead of using the yellow circle with a WakaWaka product in the middle, they use their name logo with pay off here.
#4: It’s important to be consistent throughout your whole brand identity.
When it comes to imagery, I think they’ve struck gold. All those images with happy people showing off their new WakaWaka Light exude so much emotion. And the bright yellow of the product and packaging pops out in every image.
— Image: Maurits Groen (co-founder) with a lot of happy people holding their new WakaWaka Light
The only image I could find where the bright yellow doesn’t do the trick is when the person in the image is dressed in bright yellow as well. For example take a look at the woman in the image below. You have to look a lot harder to spot the WakaWaka in this picture.
— Image: A happy woman showing her WakaWaka Light
And when you combine the imagery with the (sun) circle in their logo, the images pop even more —see image below. This is where the WakaWaka identity really shines.
— Image: Great use of the circle in their logo in combination with strong imagery
Since their start in 2012 WakaWaka has come a long way. I was only able to point out some minor details that can be improved upon. Let's have a quick look at those again:
- Website: a clear call-to-action (CTA) is missing. A clear CTA is very useful for the user as it gives them direction.
- Social media: on LinkedIn they chose to use a different logo. Consistency is very important when we talk about brand identity.
- Imagery: the bright yellow of the product can clash with other bright yellow in a picture. Make sure your product stands out.
They’ve been able to create a great visual brand identity with a simple and clear logo, short and to-the-point pay off, strong use of colour, and amazing imagery!
Their mission, the sense of community (e.g. Buy one = Give one) and the benefits for the consumer shine through in all aspects of their brand identity and that makes WakaWaka a very powerful brand.
HOW IS YOUR BRAND PERFORMING?
How is your brand performing on these 4 levels — 1. your offline presence, 2. online presence, 3. social media presence and 4. your imagery? Is it all connected, congruent and telling the same story?
Well, think about it and leave your answer in the comments below.
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Atelier Pan | Brand Design for Conscious Entrepreneurs
*Images from: WakaWaka, except the final one.