ESB Making Waves in the UK

As ESB Group launches its new branding in the UK, we grabbed a few minutes with WONDR’s Creative Director, Oisin Hurst, to 
chat about how the project came together.

How did the project come about?
Through collaboration. We have a great working relationship with ESB and with ESB’s brand agency — True Story. We’ve worked together on a number of projects. They know us and we know them. We trust each other’s expertise. So when ESB came to them to discuss ESB Energy UK, knowing that it was a digital-first brand they invited us into the project.

They shared the brand evolution work they had been developing and were very open about us having input and suggesting ways to evolve the brand’s visual expression. The work they had done was great but we had a few ideas.

ESB Wave in motion

What kind of ideas?
Mostly around the main brand graphic, the ESB Wave. It was evolving and we suggested that as ESB UK was going to be a digitally-led brand we could push this asset on a bit.

You said you wanted to push it on, in what way?
At a conceptional level we thought the Wave could really come to life in the digital space. We felt it should have a physical rather than a graphical presence, something that could embody ESB UK’s ethos. We wanted to treat it like it was alive, a protective and playful entity. That’s why it loops around people in the brand photography. It’s present, but unintrusive, enabling people to get on with living. That’s how good utility companies should behave.

Were there any other benefits from this approach?
From a practical standpoint, through colour, shape, motion and application the Wave is uniquely ESB’s. It’s also more adaptable and flexible, making it functionally much more effective and contemporary across digital channels.

Mobile Screens

Was this done before the website?
More in parallel really. While we were evolving the Wave and testing the brand assets we were also working on the UX and the UI for the ESB UK quote engine. That work proved successful enough that we were also commissioned to work on the main UK website and just recently on ESB Group website for their UK presence.

esbgroup.co.uk homepage

Was the fact that it was an existing brand limiting?
No. It gives you a starting point and loads of well considered brand assets to work with.

What next then?
ESB UK are developing their advertising and are adopting the digital version of the ESB Wave.

Is that a case of the tail wagging the dog?
No, I think it’s proof that real collaboration works. And that there is no head or tail anymore. Clients don’t benefit from that kind of mindset and younger agencies and studios understand that fact.