Every existing business in the world needs to differentiate itself in the marketplace it competes in, and that can be achieved through branding. “Branding,” as I often define it, is a continuous, conscious, and intentional process of shaping the perception of your business in the minds of your consumers. To achieve the brand we wanted at Afriex, we had to be aware of who we are, consciously communicate that to our audience, and continually radiate our values.
In January 2022, we embarked on a mission to discover who we are, leading to a six-month rebranding process during which we redefined our strategy and our verbal and visual identities. We teamed up with the great guys at Fourth Canvas, and together, we worked to define who we were and who we wanted to be, who our audience was, and how we wanted to connect with them.
Why we rebranded?
As a young company, it was important to lay a solid foundation to build our future, and the most important foundation was knowing who we were and what our mission and vision were. Every decision we make as a company is based on these core fundamentals.
Sending money should be as easy as sending a text message.
During the brand discovery phase of this process, we had several meetings to define who we were and what drove us. We wanted to make sending money as easy as sending an SMS. Consider the process of sending a text message. When you click send, you send it knowing the recipient will receive it in seconds. This process of communicating in seconds and knowing the recipient will receive it was the experience we wanted to build for our audience. This led to our vision of wanting to be at the centre of global wealth creation by enabling people to easily move money across borders.
Choose how your money moves.
Understanding who we were helped us understand how and what to say. We'd solved our identity crisis. We now understood our brand, the problems we wanted to solve, and how we would solve them. That meant other things in us had to change. The old really did pass away.
Next, we defined our tone of voice. This included how we sounded, communicated, wrote and spoke, both internally and externally. That's how we coined our tagline, which has now become a mission in itself, giving our audience the freedom to choose how they move their money. The zazz and audacity to dare to be different, to be a conscious rebel and an enabler. That is the new Afriex.
Out with the old, in with the new (maybe not entirely).
Our visual identity needed to change as well. Our previous logo and visuals used a random set of disjointed and inconsistent elements. To achieve brand consistency, we needed our identity system to connect.
First, the logo had to be redesigned, and we went through different logo concepts before revisiting the previous one. We spent a lot of time redoing the previous logo before settling on a modern, fresher version of it. After deciding on the logo, we chose a font that represented the new Afriex. A mid-20th century classic reimagined, sans-serif called PolySans was chosen as the new champion to convey Afriex's message to our audience.
We kept our blue colour but added secondary colours to help get the vibrancy we love. (Since the rebrand, we have added two more colours to this palette.) We also created internal and external brand patterns to incorporate the Afriex zazz into our communications. Next, we created an illustration system, which is my favourite part of the rebrand. We also completely overhauled and redesigned our website.
How has it been since the rebrand?
The Afriex brand is not static; it is constantly evolving. In the eight months since we rebranded and laid the groundwork for our new visual and verbal identities, there have been many moving parts. That means many iterations and evolutions of our identity. We work tirelessly to ensure that our brand is perceived the way we want it to be, creating synergies at every touchpoint where our customers interact with us.
At Afriex, we understand that branding goes beyond our visual and verbal identity. As we rolled out our new identity across our digital platforms, we did the same internally. We understand that all Afriex employees must align with our mission, values, and identity. To achieve this, we conducted several workshops with employees. We have also prioritised the well-being and satisfaction of our employees because we know that only happy employees can help us achieve the brand we want. If you do it right in-house, you can easily present it to the world. Happy employees make happy customers.
- A logo is just a subset of the brand: Defining and understanding who you are and who you want to be as a brand is more important than having a great logo or visual identity.
- Branding is a continuous process: Branding never ends. The marathon never ends. All experiences and associations, both positive and negative, build customer perceptions, so all brands must actively work to continuously shape their desired image.
- Every team is a stakeholder: Branding is about the company, not just a function for the design or marketing teams. All employees should always be on the same page. Everyone is involved in achieving the desired brand image.
- Visual identity is iterative: A brand is a living thing. Only the foundation is laid early on (within the guidelines set). Therefore, its identity should be allowed to evolve. Make small changes regularly to keep your brand fresh.
- It takes time: You can't achieve your dream brand in a month. It is not possible to involve all employees in one workshop. It takes time to create something of value. Have patience while marking important milestones and learn from your successes and failures.