Intercultural Branding: composing the future of a start-up in the UK targeted Chinese graduates

Brand establishment of CRIUS Consulting Ltd.

Growing up with our client is what gives us happiness. Seeing them become greater and stronger than us is, indeed, what makes us proud.

Our first client, CRIUS Consulting just celebrated their first anniversary. When their Managing Director Derek Yang told us that they had their party at The Shard, London, welcomed the elites in various industries over the UK, we were surprised and also feel truly happy with the progress they made.

One year ago, in Edinburgh, we met Derek, he told us his business plan of a career coaching company helping young Chinese graduates manage the challenge on international job hunting from the application, interview and performance in the global firms. After a year, CRIUS became a unique company in the UK market that connects local businesses and young Chinese workforces on the campus, helping both sides to grow efficiently, economically and of course, internationally.

Now the brand identity that we created one year ago fit their business much more than ever before, which makes us feel sincerely satisfied, as our ambitions are always lying on building future business and global brand for any companies, no matter they are small or large.

What is Intercultural Branding

In the context of the inevitable globalisation and Brexit, to be more international is a crucial topic for all the companies in the UK looking for growth.

Building up a culturally agile brand is not only for big enterprise, but a strategic option for start-ups and SMEs.

The core of Intercultural Branding is cultural intelligence. That means design culturally rather than only visually or lingually. It reflects the multiple needs and customer expectations of the various markets that company targets.

It aims to build up a culturally agile experience with high consistency on mind identity, visual identity and behaviour identity of a company.

The branding we did for CRIUS is a very typical Intercultural Branding. Aligning to the function of the company, it communicates the Western career fashion to the young Eastern graduates, it solves the problem of the cultural difference yet correctly presents the original culture.

Does it work? We can never forget after the brand launched, Derek told me:

Students said the reason why they choose us is the exceptionally professional image that is presented by our brand identity.

The Opportunities and Challenges

The market of career coaching in the UK and around the world is rather prosperous because of the strong will of Chinese students to work for the global enterprises and huge pain about the cultural difference which stopping them from realising their goals.

Before the design starting, we studied the primary competitors on the market from their visual identity, language preference and brand positioning:

Competitors Analysis

Positioning: Reflects the world that customers love to enter

Building up a brand that customers will love is all the meaning of our job. Since the restricted VISA policy, the targeted customers of CRIUS, the Chinese graduates in the UK, are mainly targeting on the Graduate Schemes of big firms that offer VISA sponsorship. The majority of them are financing companies and banks.

Therefore CRIUS specially positioned themselves as an expert in helping graduates start their career in these type of firms. We, therefore, aligned the brand design to this direction, fully matching the targets of their customers. We then referred the images of the top accounting companies and investment banks in the world to create the top company image of career coaching.

We want to make CRIUS a company that the young graduates would love to join. This is our goal of design.
Mind Map of Design

MI design: Be meaningful, from the core of the mind

We come up with a concept before we do everything. We insist on confirming what we stand for and what to speak before we communicate it. That’s why we began with Mind Identity (MI) design to craft the meaning of the business. It drove the further identity design to a clear purpose and impact.

Research indicated ‘Dream’ is a popular word in career coaching world. All the competitors talked about Dream. However, we believed — only when Action is making, Dream will come true. Dream needs Action to be meaningful.

Don’t Dream it, Be it’ then appeared in our minds and finally became the brand slogan and the core of the MI.

It is perfectly interpreting the offer of CRIUS and making the differentiation of the brand bold on the market. It is calling for action to join the club and to go beyond the comfort zone for the possible bright future.

We introduced practical values beyond dream, entrepreneurial attitude and elites culture in the Mind Identity of CRIUS: be outstanding, always take initiatives, aim high, socially active and live with excellent quality to make a big difference.

VI design: Visualising the customer’s expectations and go beyond it slightly

The Visual Identity (VI) designed for CRIUS Consulting is rather minimalist yet meaningful. The visual positioning of the design is alinging to those biggest accounting companies and banks in the world that majority of the Chinese graduates are targeting as the the brand positioning part mentioned.

We hope to deliver a message: In CRIUS, you don’t dream to be elite in the leading companies, you are when you joined. It is reflecting the goal of design.

We applied the high-end visual positioning to match the popular imagination and high expectation of the graduates about their future.Therefore the whole visual identity looks like a product goes slightly out of their affordability but still can buy it.

Responded the style of the elite, the logo is delivering the meaning of accuracy, effectiveness, intelligence and outstandingness.

We didn’t design the logo as many people think it should be. You find nothing about sophisticated graphics, but you will find a visual logic that let you remember it simply and efficiently on different touch points.
You can quickly identify CRIUS on any platform and materials even without its name.

The unique graphic language and colours construct a unique visual experience that let audiences identify it exactly.

BI design: Apply the philosophy in real life

Tone of voice

CRIUS is more likely to be a young male around 26–34 years old with strong confidence and intelligence.

Relationship & Verbal Language

Act as elite is the ultimate guideline for the action of CRIUS team. We design the relationship between CRIUS team and their customers as fellows or partners. Therefore, CRIUS team never serve their customers, they help and share with their customers their knowledge and ideas. The relationship defines the vocabulary and talking style the team should use to communicate with the customers as well.

Literal Language

The main targeted customers of CRIUS are Chinese graduates in the UK. Therefore, we designed the bilingual style: Chinese with English. We put English in their promotion to enhance the visual fragrance and use Chinese as the primary communication language.

Dress code

The regular dress code of CRIUS is ‘smart casual’ or ‘casual business’. However, formal business is welcome.

Promition & Advertising

Annoymous Campaign

To launch CRIUS as a new brand, we designed a bunch of digital posters with creative copywriting to draw attention online and expose the core value of the company emotionally.

WeChat and Weibo Management

We managed CRIUS social media on a day-to-day base. With the design for small screen aligning to the brand identity, we helped to create content promoting courses and announcing events.

We strictly aligned the content on social media to the brand identity to create a high consistency at every touch point.
Digital Invitation

Played with the advanced Internet trick, we design the invitation of their event held in Glasgow. see our work

If you are interested in our approach and concept, feel free to contact us thorranze@redunit.co or browse our website redunit.co

RED UNIT is an Experience design & Intercultural branding consultancy. We combine business opportunities with customer expectations to define, design and deliver meaningful experiences. We mix brand and service thinking, technology and data to create future proof value. We partner with our client to explore innovative solutions and embrace an actionable and profitable change.

Like what you read? Give Thorranze Cheung a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.