In a world where the largest tech companies are attempting to become car companies, the automotive industry is increasingly moving towards creating technology platforms. The sector needs to keep up with the future of transportation and the logistics of manufacturing and retail. There is now a huge opportunity to better work with the richness of data available to them. In November 2020, CDK Global, Inc. came to SomeOne to create a new name and identity to start a new chapter.
CDKI were keen for this to be an opportunity for real change. They had undergone a couple of name and identity changes in recent years and were keen to capitalise on their newfound financial independence and seize the potential to create a fresh, agile tech platform business to rival Silicon Valley.
The name alone came with some gruelling conditions: On top of legal requirements that demand three months for a name to be available to be challenged, the name had to be easy to say and spell in the forty-three markets that CDKI operates in, have no negative cultural connotations, but hardest of all was to get domain suffix availability (.com, co.uk etc) for each of those forty-three markets…
With this in mind, we had to start the naming process at the same time as our initial stakeholder interviews and strategic recommendations.
We were faced with a monumental task: Create a new brand strategy, name and fully implemented identity from scratch in sixty days. During UK Lockdown.
With additional input from an internal competition that hadn’t produced any significant winners, we were able to lead the client through our NameStorm process at speed in order to get as many and as wide a choice of type of name within a heavily edited selection down from around a hundred and fifty ‘rough’ names, to a list of thirty that we could offer with different levels of potential availability.
From this set, we moved forward with three potential candidates and one heavy favourite. The effort that went into legally securing all the domain suffixes, as well as the speed of the registration process and cultural checking, paid off and the name ‘Keyloop’ was universally approved as the new company name. The name’s literal meaning is synonymous with a ‘keychain’ and not only is a nod to the automotive industry but also to an iterative development mentality (loop). It also helps that ‘Keyloop’ has two syllables and begins with a K (a ‘voiceless stop’ in linguistics).
The team at SomeOne got the balance between understanding us and challenging us just right. We could never have imagined our new name and brand at the outset.
The project team from both client and agency met via Zoom three times a week for the duration of the project and this really helped key strategic and design decisions to be made at pace.
After thirty-one stakeholder interviews with current staff as well as the investment partners and clients, a strategic narrative quickly coalesced around the idea of being ‘Future-motive’ as a business – looking ahead and adapting to change within the automotive Industry or to put it more simply, ‘creating technology to make everything about buying and owning a car better’. This strategy helped the business to focus on an exciting tech future as a fast-moving, innovative tech company and not a traditionally slow, deeply embedded set of legacy software products.
We moved to the creative stage while three names were still under consideration, so we decided each route had to work independently from any name, although we led with Keyloop as the favourite when visualising the routes.
The key considerations when it came to the creative brief was for the new identity to have more of a tech platform company feel than that of an automotive company.
The Keyloop wordmark takes advantage of the double ‘o’ within it to combine them into one ‘loop’ simply and memorably. There were many iterations looking at how the ‘o’s could link, but the original thought was agreed to be the most distinctive.
The rest of the identity also had to be distinctively different from CDK Global in terms of any visual assets, from colour, typeface, logo, photography and visual property.
The favoured theme for the visual identity was based on the concept of the ‘amplification’ effect of an open platform on the automotive industry.
We also had the firm belief that the identity itself should in some way exemplify innovation and technology in the way it was created.
So working with artist and coder Zach Lieberman, based in New York City, we developed a completely dynamic brand property – an animated visualisation of amplified light that acts as moving and static backdrops for Keyloop’s communications.
The ‘Amplifier’ has its own tool that a user can create individual patterns and animations for any purpose, with simple wavelength, colour range, and timing parameters.
This approach, purposely using technology to help create the brand, helps establish Keyloop’s tech credentials as an innovative 21st-century business.
Due to the complexity and timing of creating a completely new digital experience, the priority was to reskin their existing websites globally (as well as all printable electronic templates), with the bigger task to be completed in due course following the legal change.
We prepared all identity assets, created a photographic strategy and visual approach for their image bank and icon design alongside the global change of their typeface to IBM Plex, a fitting globally applicable free to use font. We rewrote the home page and ‘about us’ copy to help put our tone of voice for Keyloop into practice and the inevitable PowerPoint deck.
Following a full and frank audit of all products, services and partnerships across their international footprint, we identified that the current brand architecture could be simplified to be clearer, simpler to understand and navigate through a new product naming strategy and consolidation of overlapping platforms.
This simpler, clearer approach helps demonstrate Keyloop’s lean and agile expertise.