Sometimes, organizational reform starts with rebranding. As the external environment changes rapidly, businesses, too, need to update itself in order to adapt. From transformations in corporate identity to workplace culture, Loftwork and surveying equipment company SOOKI came together to sow the seeds of change for better work and bigger opportunities.
The backbone of construction and manufacturing businesses throughout Japan, SOOKI Corporation is a leading company in rental surveying equipment. On top of renting out surveying equipment for civil engineering and construction companies, SOOKI also drives automatic measurement systems, equipment management and maintenance, as well as new product development.
Since 2014, the company has been working towards transforming itself into a business that can respond to the changing times. In 2020, after a series of measures to strengthen the operations of the company, SOOKI now looked to rebranding the company as the first step in both expanding existing businesses and exploring new opportunities.
For this project, Loftwork redefined the mission statement, logo, colors and action guidelines as a basis for solidifying SOOKI’s position in the civil engineering industry, as well as to gradually evolve into a more ‘proactive’ SOOKI – a company in which employees are encouraged to proactively pitch in. Rebranding the SOOKI corporate identity not only covered key communication assets (business cards, company brochures, brand website), but also led to an online workshop for employees, as a way to further realize this vision within the company.
Integrating the ‘vision’ of management and the ‘pride’ of employees
To reiterate the brand value of SOOKI, we conducted research with a range of people within the company, gathering insights from management to frontline employees. In addition to conducting trend research in collaboration with the company’s marketing department, we interviewed the president and managers to understand the issues from a management perspective and to verbalize their vision for the future. Through depth interviews with members from six major departments, we mapped out the company’s strengths, challenges and appeal from the frontline perspective. These questionnaires with SOOKI employees were able to reveal the unspoken corporate culture and climate underpinning the company.
Using popular brainstorming technique ‘the KJ method’, we organized the opinions of a total of more than 150 employees and consolidated the current values of the company into the following four categories:
- Reliability: A sense of stability and security for customers who unconsciously choose SOOKI because they know they can rely on the company.
- Arrangement ability (1→1.11, 1.2…): SOOKI’s creativity and technical capabilities are based on directness, and efforts to improve the product one step at a time.
- Sincerity: A sense of responsibility to provide the best that one can in one’s position with respect to safety, with no room for error.
- Flexibility: The ability to be imaginative and considerate of others, as well as the ability to look at things that cannot be covered by the system alone. Flexibility to respond to unforeseen circumstances and irregularities.
We also set values that could be further developed in the future, such as ‘open communication’, ‘quantity to quality’, ‘team play’ and ‘smart business processes’.
Revamping corporate identity, the foundation of organizational reform
In the CI/VI (Corporate Identity/Visual Identity) phase, we began to shape the company mission, tagline and VI based on the SOOKI values mapped out during our research.
The designers and copywriters who participated in the project were also involved in the research process. Being in direct contact with the vision of the management and the atmosphere of the workplace, they were able to incorporate both the ‘Sooki-ness’ and ideal states that the employees had imagined into the final products.
Engendering employee participation through the SOOKI Values workshop
In the process of shaping the new action guidelines as part of the new corporate identity, we held an online workshop with SOOKI employees. On top of reflecting the ideas of frontline employees, this enabled us to promote organizational awareness by making the new corporate identity personal to employees.
66 employees took part in the large-scale workshop, which aimed to create ‘future values’ for the company, with the new CI as a starting point.
“This project truly embodied ‘Co-Create’, one of our company's action guidelines. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the members of Loftwork who worked closely with our company's history and culture, transcending company boundaries and positions to become a part of SOOKI and promote the project. In an internal survey, more than 90% of employees responded that the new CI matches SOOKI. We will continue to promote activities to spread the new CI inside and outside the company.”
Mariko Namiki, General Manager/Creative Producer, Marketing Department, Sales Division, SOOKI Co.
“At the start of the project, I didn’t think it was essential to renew the logo. However, since one of the objectives of this rebranding project was to create a common understanding of the future that we were aiming for, we felt that we needed to make a big change in a positive sense, so we proposed starting with that. Changing a logo that had been in use for many years must have had a strong impact on the company, but I think we were able to help the company rebrand by designing a process to incorporate the change and create a variety of contexts, including the invisible parts. ”
Naoto Uemura, Creative Director, Loftwork Inc.