Monday, August 5, 2013

PwC Branding

The Urge to Merge

Two old brands, pre-merger (above)

Accounting/consulting firms will merge as accounting/consulting firms do. Sometimes repeatedly. I was working on an internal event for the firm in 1998 at the time when this ill-conceived rebrand came across my desk. Brand usage standards had not even been tricked out yet. I believe a Dutch firm created and famously sold the concept presented below. My thought at the time was: "I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall, as the CD stood there trying to rationalize the staggered, off-baseline presentation of Waterhouse at the center of this mess." Poor Lybrand was not even to be found, but one really wonders what was the pitch? "It represents the fluidity of the firm metaphorically represented by the WATERhouse name." It was, at the time, a branding LOL, before LOL existed. The little, redundant bug, to the right of the whole large cap-small cap mess, seemed a quaint reference to a simpler time.

Finished (?) product

A little more than a decade later (2010) Landor stepped in, intelligently solving the issue of how to utilize a 22 letter brand name in a multitude of situations, arguing, "How do you put that on a golf ball?" Also effectively arguing the issues of language and pronunciation for a global firm whose name is a mouthful. They will henceforth be known as PwC in documents and conversation. Poor Waterhouse getting the 'short' end of the stick again. 

Sadly their outcome echoes a tired pattern in multi-national firm solutions that insists a multi-color(many disciplines/or products?), decorative device to lighten and make happy the whole thing. The structure is confusing at best. What is the (upper)score and the translucent layers that are attached to it? Is it a butterfly? Is it a flame attached to a cigarette? We will never know. And the didactic one-color version offers no clues.

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