As I sat with Powerflex Batteries owner John Lowndes and his two lieutenants Mike and Dave at the Hedgehog pub in Lichfield in December last year, I felt totally at ease with three clients who had become very friendly with myself and my own team back at Design Pit HQ. Powerflex are a company who deal in industrial scale batteries, the kind you’d find in a forklift truck or airport lorry. It is dirty work. Chemicals, grease, blood sweat and tears… Hard graft. We’re meeting to discuss the next stage in a gradual rebranding process for Powerflex and the major agenda item is a new website design and development project. John, Mike and Dave are all very much open books, “I’ve no real knowledge of how websites work and I’ve no desire to learn now. That’s why we’ve got you Gareth”.
This is great, just perfect in fact. A client who is trusting us to do our very best for them. A relationship like this is the best kind, we know that we are trusted to deliver great design work but we aren’t hindered by stipulations or boundaries in the brief. We can get cracking and let our creative juices flow. We can suggest the best routes forward for the whole design, the navigation, the way we gather data from visitors, the calls to action… This is shaping up to be a great brief.
In an industry densely populated by “pikeys” as John calls them, it is rare to find a company like Powerflex Batteries that is as thoroughly professional as they are. Powerflex have a real structure to their business, dedicated premises, back office staff, a defined sales process, battery maintenance department and a focussed factory shop floor that delivers first rate quality products. They have an identity and are well known in the industry as the people who do it properly. They are growing as well with more corporate clients coming on board, they need to look the part to back up their reputation and the first place this really need to happen was online.
Soon after the initial meeting at the Hedgehog, our studio got started on the new website and produced a comprehensive site design that painted Powerflex in the perfect light. It gave them call back features, data capture, FAQs page and product information that would be out there, online, 24/7… Needless to say, John and the gang were mightily impressed with what we produced and later put into development. The site is due to go live very soon, the last few bits of content are being written before the switch is flicked! Powerflex are happy, the identity and brand is growing and soon we’ll be looking ahead to the next stage…
Evolution not Revolution
The first stage of this rebrand was to update the Powerflex logo. The logo was dated, it looked like it had been created from a clipart icon, the typography was a bit basic and there was a strange dot floating in the space above the strapline. We needed to evolve the logo rather than reinvent the wheel so the changes we could make had to be justified and subtle.
We wanted to create a new logo that paid homage to the old one in terms of composition and structure but carried a more modern feel. The typography needed to work harder as well, so we looked at ways of linking letters together to make them a more bespoke logotype rather than a font typed out.
The Face(s) of the Brand
Stage 2 was to give Powerflex a friendly face; or in this case two friendly faces! The two main client facing team members at Powerflex are Mike and Dave, these two are the main sales people and the names most frequently requested on the phones at Powerflex HQ. The only real issue was that both Mike and Dave weren’t too keen on the idea of having photos taken. After a bit of discussion, we settled on the idea of using cartoons to provide a visual link to them both. Before too long, the Battery Boys were born…
These characters can be found on email signatures, quoting documents, letters and various other documentation. Later, we’d go on to use the cartoons on a large section of the new Powerflex website – as the Battery Boys fronted up a detailed FAQs area. The cartoons provide a bit of light relief and start to build a friendly tone of voice for Powerflex. They both link back to Mike and David in terms of likeness but they are also characters in their own right, and this gives a platform for them to deliver key information on big parts of Powerflex’s business.