Zuku Brand Creation and Strategy
One sunny morning after devouring some hearty chapatis in the office, we received a call from the MD of the Wananchi Group. He needed a partner that would help them brand and market what would soon be Kenya's first triple-play service. This was going to be exciting, we dove in straight away.
Before that phonecall, the brand was to be called "Wi-Life". We didn't like it for many reasons, and knew we could do better. After a few meetings, it was clear to us that we needed a new name for this amazing product. One that would resound well with the audience, and provide a strong platform for the brand and future communications. We needed to find a name that would be the perfect fit for a mass-market lifestyle product combining a hi-tech blend of Internet, TV and Phone.
We called it "zuku"
We started playing with some sounds and letters until we had something that hit the spot - Zuku. What does "zuku" mean? Absolutely nothing, zilch, nada. We created a word that had no meaning, yet had the perfect character for the product, and with an African ring to it. The name was unique, memorable, sounded fun, and was easily pronounced.
Next came the hard bit of sharing this insight with our clients. After further testing, we set to reassure our clients that this would work - they bravely said yes, and till today, they're glad they did. A few years on, almost every Kenyan knows what Zuku is, and sees it as a friendly and approachable brand that you can welcome into your living room.
The brand identity was designed to be fun, and casual. The structure of the letterforms were recreated from an existing font to have smoother flowing curves.
Three bright & colourful pods represented the triple-play offering were crafted. Blue for broadband, green for TV, and yellow for phone. The colours for each of these were chosen carefully considering competitor products and their main brand colours. For example, when marketing Internet (blue), no competing product in the market was using blue in their communication, allowing Zuku Internet to be easily differentiated at first glance. Similarly, green and yellow for TV and phone respectively were each unique in their individual market segments.
The main identity was supported by a set of unique icons, to represent the triple-play services.
The overall identity was constructed to be adaptable to all platforms & possible uses in future. The spacing & curvature was carefully adjusted for on-screen use, eg as a TV channel bug. The logo would also be used to brand equipment, from the tiniest remote control covers, to huge satellite dishes, so it needed to be versatile enough to remain easily discernible at various hyperfocal frequencies.
Styling the Brand
The Zuku brand had a special high-energy buzz to it. It's all about vibrance and dynamic content. We had been dabbling with generative programming for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity to flex our geeky muscles. The whole idea behind this technique was to write code that created randomized patterns generated by the custom algorithms. The art was in the code. We split the individual graphical elements into specific clusters for the creation of certain patterns, and after some long nights tweaking variables here & there, we finally got the mix right, and the result was simply stunning.
These generative patterns were then used as the main stylistic devices for the brand, in advertising, vehicle branding, uniform design, stationery, and other communication media.
Check out the Zuku Identity Package for more on Zuku's brand extension.
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