Visually redefining a brand won’t fix its problems

As a creative professional working in Malta, there’s much to fault with our industry but what annoys me more than anything is when I see some of Malta’s biggest brands gratefully swallowing tripe for cream, served to them by foreign creative companies because of some misguided belief that if it’s made abroad, it’s somehow better.

For example, take Air Malta’s rebranding, executed last year by FutureBrand London for a reported total cost of 1.9 million Euro. As an agency with a global reputation, do I hold FutureBrand to a higher standard than other local branding firms? Of course I do! Yet they still failed to get anywhere near my expectations with this exercise. In order to demonstrate why, I’m going to compare Air Malta’s new aircraft livery with a spectacularly successful piece of Maltese ‘vernacular design’ – the Malta Bus (click here for video).

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Plumbers vs creativity firms. Who’s more professional?

This week I had lunch with a friend, who, like me, happens to be the owner of a business creativity company in Malta. Our topic of conversation was one that we seem to revisit over and over – institutionalised practices that bring about dissatisfactory consequences in our business relationships. Our discussion was inspired by a simple email request that we both received from a local law firm searching for a creative organisation to help rebrand their company. They enclosed a list of pre-identified communication pieces to cost in order to be considered for the position. Presumably, there would be some sort of elimination process based on the total cost. Needless to say, neither of us gave this any serious consideration.
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Bulldog awarded ‘Best of Awards’ at the REBRAND 100® Global Awards

Our work for Maltese electrical supplier Calleja was heralded as one of the world’s most effective rebrands in the seventh annual REBRAND 100® Global Awards. This prestigious accolade is the highest recognition for excellence in brand repositioning, and is the first and only global program of its kind. Bulldog’s rebrand of Calleja set out to provide reassurance of the brand’s enduring qualities after their Managing Director – Tony Calleja, passed away and to better position them for growth and profitability in the future.

We were completely shocked when we heard. In a field that includes some of the industry’s top firms, including Meta Design, Interbrand, FutureBrand, Siegel+Gale and Lippincott, we had to read the notification several times before we realize that we had won ‘Best of Awards’. Both Jonas and I were thrilled with the end product and so pleased the Rebrand 100 judges felt the same way.

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