Project: Brand development, for Fios, Inc.

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Fios, Inc.
Brand development

Evolving a company’s brand by careful attrition, and attention to detail

Fios was a pioneer and industry leader in the field of electronic discovery, a type of legal research concerned with the processing and cataloging of electronic evidence for trial: e-mail, spreadsheets, word-processing and other “loose” documents, recorded audio, instant messages, and so on. Fios consults with clients to help them set up systems for document retention and evidence response as well as doing the exacting grunt work of processing.

Beyond its logo, designed by an advertising agency in 2000, the company had done its brand-related activities in-house, and without any particular strategy apart from the exigencies of day-to-day business.

We were initially retained to do some very simple alterations to Fios’ trade show booth and develop collateral to accompany it. The company’s director of marketing asked us to do the work with an eye toward eventually retooling the brand, a project for which he did not as yet have the financial or political capital.

This kind of “back-door” branding exercise is more common than not with established mid-sized companies; the calculus of equity-to-resources is more complicated here than in smaller or larger concerns, and makes it difficult to start from zero. We were fortunate in that most of Fios’ collateral had already reached end-of-life; whatever we did wouldn’t have to coexist with it for too long.

Still, we had to be sensitive to what equity was left, and we couldn’t touch the logo.

We ended up paring the existing brand language back to the logo, its colors (black and a very nice red), a simple logic for page construction based upon the proportions of the logo (square), and rigorous, rational sans-serif typography.

We outlawed clip art and stock photography and made simple, declarative copy the hero, with the idea that there’s no glamour in the electronic discovery business and no point to pretending otherwise. Fios’ brand promise is competent people with an eye for detail, every i dotted, every t crossed.

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Presentation folder

Built along the lines of a standard letter-size file folder, with the view that the sales rep could use the tab to customize the book. Legal-size would have been more appropriate for the target market, but would have made handling too difficult.

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Folder and brochure

Although both the presentation folder and capabilities brochure (see below) were designed to have lives outside of each other, about two-thirds of the print run were stitched together. Two high pockets were included to accommodate other collateral snugly.

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Collateral

A square is a static form: it implies no particular direction. We moved the logo into an “eyebrow” position at the top of the cover page in most applications, both to set up the language of squares resident in the pages’ logic, and also – by bleeding it off the top – to make it a dynamic player in the page hierarchy.

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Service sheet cover

Service sheet, in this case detailing Fios’ offerings to counsel serving the energy industry. No stock photography; instead, we developed a system of simple icons to describe the company’s activities.

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Service sheet interior

We reduced the company’s typographic palette to four weights of Adrian Frutiger’s Univers, deployed in a maximum of three sizes,  showing emphasis by modulating whitespace instead of ink, with the goal of conveying a feeling calm, methodical efficiency across all collateral.

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Technology Counsel cover

A periodical published by the company concerning the area where technology and the law overlap, and a good example of the philosophy of brand as consistency of approach – although Technology Counsel doesn’t carry the Fios logo on the cover, its underlying logic links it with the rest of the brand.

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Technology Counsel interior

Typical interior pages.

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Web properties

We developed several Web components for Fios; these simple WordPress-powered weblogs were among the first applications. Clockwise from upper right: Technology Counsel, a daily web companion to the magazine; Index for Discovery Resources,  an aggregator for the electronic discovery community, and part of the Technology Counsel media network, along with its sister Compliance Resources; news aggregator and resource pages for Discovery Resources.

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Capabilities brochure

In 2007, Fios clarified its market position to offering expertise in readiness and response: a direct reversal of the industry position that discovery is something that happens to you. Targeted at the senior-counsel type who might have a passing knowledge of electronic discovery processes, this piece starts with the basics, moves into a discussion of Fios’ process model and discusses how it applies to different constituencies.

Copy, written by our friend Timothy Leigh, is kept to under two hundred words per spread, with a system of sidenotes deployed to explain technical terms. Illustration is simple and bold, using only Fios’ red, black and gray. Michael Jones’ informal portraits of Fios team members finish the argument with a human face.

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Cover

The piece was designed to ride stitched inside a custom presentation folder (see above), but also to stand on its own, as shown here. At about 6×11 inches, it is an optical double square, relating to the split square of the company’s logo (which which we had nothing to do).

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Introduction

A very short, simple argument for proper planning in document storage. Note black to red color progression, mirroring that in the Fios logo. The long, narrow proportion of the book renders a square when opened.

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The document

Introduction of the document. A discussion of the various types of electronic files that fall under the purview of legal discovery.

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The document in the wild

Introduction of the concepts of readiness and response. Our simple document icon from the previous page has become one of thousands, but still needs to be located.

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Process model

The Fios process model, and how it applies to the company’s four major constituencies illustrated by a quartet of anecdotes drawn from actual (though, sadly, anonymous) case studies. One of the hardest aspects of telling this story was our inability – for legal reasons – to name names.

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Service menu

A menu of specific solutions offered by Fios for various aspects of the discovery process. Straight type, elegantly deployed. A good example of language as the best illustrator; each of these offerings would be extremely difficult to symbolize, but can be explained by a good writer in fifty words or less.

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The people

There is very little technological differentiation in the electronic discovery business; Fios offers reference-standard technology on the execution side; but its value proposition is that it also provides deep consulting experience and service under the same roof. Here, the quality of people actually do make a difference. Photographs of actual shiny, happy Fios employees (no stock, dammit) done by our friend Michael Jones.

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Credits/colophon
Agency
Pinch
Creative directors
Adam McIsaac
Eric Hillerns
Copywriters
Timothy Leigh
Mark Reber
Marketing director
Mark Reber
Photography
Michael Jones
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