An office redesign can be the ultimate embodiment of how a new brand can motivate and energize a company’s employees, as demonstrated by the collaboration between brand agency CBX and Del Monte to create a new name and visual identity for its pet products business.
The company’s pet portfolio included several iconic brands, including Milk-Bone, Meow Mix, Natural Balance, Kibbles ‘n Bits, 9Lives, and Nature’s Recipe. Using its proprietary naming methodology, CBX first created a new name: Big Heart Pet Brands. It then developed a new visual identity centered on a “heartpaw” logo that combines a paw print with a heart to convey the emotional bond between pets and their “parents."
Part of the assignment involved redesigning the client’s San Francisco headquarters to incorporate the new identity. The challenge was to implement the plan over a three-day weekend, so that when employees arrived for work the following Tuesday, they would learn for the first time they were working for a new brand.
“Because we had so little time, we kept things very simple and went very big with it,” explained Joseph Bona, president of branded environments for CBX. “We wanted to make a big gesture that would achieve the greatest impact.”
Upon returning to work, employees were summoned to the company’s second-floor conference space, where they were greeted along the floor’s corridors with larger-than-life photos of pets, along with the new logo and the brand message: “We nurture the bond between pets and the people who love them—making every day special.”
The impact on employees was immediate and dramatic, leading to a “casting call” that allowed staffers to have their pets professionally photographed for possible use in the company’s facilities. Employees’ dogs were photographed at a nearby dog park. To accommodate those with cats, a photographer went on location to photograph the pets in their home environments.
Enthusiasm for the new brand identity and environment pervaded the company—which was subsequently acquired by the J.M. Smucker Company in February 2015 for approximately $5.8 billion. Eventually, field offices and even production plants received the same kind of graphic treatment.
“Our goal was to create a brand, and to capture the spirit of pet parenting,” said Bona. “And we did it in a way that really brought the brand to life and created a wonderful environment that feels very natural.”