270x170 York Link logo news thumb

PROJECT

York Link

CLIENT

York Region
York Region retained Shikatani Lacroix to develop an in-depth strategy and rebranding program for York Link, formerly known as Centres and Corridors while integrating Invest in York, its previous economic development program. Shikatani Lacroix developed the brand strategy, program positioning, new logo and brand standards manual for the program.

Related Services

Brand Strategy
Corporate Identity
Naming
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BACKGROUND

The Centres and Corridors of York Region is a key area in Southern Ontario for business development and community grow­­th. Connected by an efficient network of highways and public transit, business hubs, and large residential developments, the region offers unique opportunities for businesses to find exceptional talent right in their own backyard, and for residents to find an ideal work/life balance. York Region has rebranded Centres and Corridors through the integration of its previous economic development program Invest in York to York Link. The new economic development marketing and communications strategy aims to attract new employment and business development within the York region. York Region’s previous business development marketing strategy Invest in York focused on retaining, expanding and attracting growth businesses in York Region. The new strategy integrates Invest in York while targeting employers as it aims to influence location business decisions in the region, primarily within urban growth centers and along transit and transportation corridors.

The Challenge

York Region needed to attract new employment and business development within the region to promote economic growth. Business growth had stagnated in recent years, and the Municipality Board of Directors recognized a critical opportunity had arisen for York Region to define itself more succinctly in order to be competitive. However, its positioning was being lost amongst other municipalities with similar branding and messaging. York Region was suffering identity dilution as the word “York” is utilized by a variety of organizations. There was a need to explore a position beyond the seven territories within the region.
The economic development program suffered from identity dilution

Our Process

Define

Shikatani Lacroix identified a lack of familiarity and understanding of the region. York Region’s point-of-difference needed to be clearly defined with specific targeted messaging that leveraged its numerous assets.

Design

CZ Bank Logo

PROJECT

York Region

CLIENT

York Region

Shikatani Lacroix partnered with MetaThink to leverage its new positioning and identity design for China Zheshang Bank by designing new flagship and community branch formats.

Related Services

Brand Delivery
Design Innovation
Digital Experiences
Environmental Design

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BACKGROUND

Since its start in the early 1990s, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD) has grown quickly in the highly competitive Chinese banking industry. By now, the bank operates a national network of 41 branches and over 1,700 banking outlets across China and the number of employees has exceeded 48,000. It stretches across China and caters to both the retail and institutional markets. Since its public listing on the stock market, SPD Bank has been ranked among the Top 100 Listed Companies in China by Asia Weekly for several consecutive years. In February 2017, SPD Bank ranked 18th on the list of “Top 500 Banking Brands” released by the British magazine The Banker, with a brand value of USD 11,963 million, making it the 6th among Chinese banks. In May 2016, SPD Bank ranked 57th on the list of Forbes Global 2000 – 12th among the Chinese companies and 7th among the Chinese banks. Banks in China are mandated to undergo periodic redesigns and SPD retained MetaThink to develop their new position and identity. As part of a strategic plan to ensure thay they stay up-to-date with the latest trends, MetaThink was engaged to further brand the digital banking platform under the spdb+ name. In order to reinforce the new digital banking spdb+ experience, the leadership team retained MetaThink to develop the new customer branch experience. For its 2016 redesign, SPD called on SLD and our China-based partner, MetaThink, to reimagine four SPD bank branches in Shanghai, Tianjin, and Changsha and to develop prototypes with a planned nationwide rollout.

The Challenge

The greatest challenge of this redesign was finding a cohesive modern style that would unify the look of each branch while still allowing enough variation to identify the different new digital banking services offered in each part of the bank. The lobby area, for instance, needed to be welcoming and attainable while the VIP area required an innovative and modern look. SPD also wanted to highlight spdb+, its new online and offline banking platform, with a high-tech, contemporary design that would outshine its largest competitors.

There was also a strict timeline in place to ensure that construction could start on the first branch location in December 2016, just six months after SLD was chosen for this project.

A cohesive modern style that would unify the look of each branch
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Our Process

Define

To better understand SPD’s needs and expectations, SLDNXT worked with MetaThink to explore new brand guidelines before creating three potential concepts. When the final concept was approved, SLDNXT began creating the environmental designs for all four branches.

These designs were based on creating a sophisticated, contemporary feeling that would emphasize SPD’s commitment to cutting-edge technology while making customers feel comfortable and welcomed.

In October 2016, MetaThink and SLDNXT travelled to Shanghai to meet with suppliers and the construction team that would bring our design to life. This ensured that each SPD branch would be redesigned with the highest quality materials available and with a focus on details that would help the brand stand out from its competition.

Design

The final branch design features clean, white fixtures with light touches of wood and the SPD brand colors to create a familiar, welcoming feeling bolstered by the latest banking technology. Halo lighting brightens the lobby and customer lounge while large digital screens in the spdb+ area showcase the bank’s innovative new services. These features, and the comfortable, modern bench seats throughout the branch, invite bank customers to explore the newest products and services available.

Deliver

In December 2016, MetaThink and SLDNXT conducted their final walkthrough of the Shanghai branch – the first prototype for our design concept. Early feedback from the Chinese media indicates the branch’s refreshed look will help revitalize the neighborhood and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank is enthusiastic about the three remaining branches to be remodeled.

Since its public listing on the stock market, SPD Bank has been ranked among the Top 100 Listed Companies in China by Asia Weekly for several consecutive years. In February 2017, SPD Bank ranked 18th on the list of “Top 500 Banking Brands” released by the British magazine The Banker, with a brand value of USD 11,963 million, making it the 6th among Chinese banks. In May 2016, SPD Bank ranked 57th on the list of Forbes Global 2000 – 12th among the Chinese companies and 7th among the Chinese banks.

Banks in China are mandated to undergo periodic redesigns and SPD retained MetaThink to develop their new position and identity. As part of a strategic plan to ensure thay they stay up-to-date with the latest trends, MetaThink was engaged to further brand the digital banking platform under the spdb+ name. In order to reinforce the new digital banking spdb+ experience, the leadership team retained MetaThink to develop the new customer branch experience. For its 2016 redesign, SPD called on SLD and our China-based partner, MetaThink, to reimagine four SPD bank branches in Shanghai, Tianjin, and Changsha and to develop prototypes with a planned nationwide rollout.

Shikatani Lacroix was tasked to create a brand card with a “big story” campaign. This campaign entailed initial research with active participation from key stakeholders, including focus groups and one-on-one interviews, competitive reviews, research, and online surveys involving tenants, developers and economic development officers for the region. With a focus on York Region’s key point-of-difference, the campaign idea, logo and positioning statement were developed. The naming initiative produced a shortlist of options, which underwent market research to gain further insight and identify a direction that differentiated the region and communicated its brand position. Through our ThinkBlink process, the brand positioning was developed through the campaign essence of a “Success Connector” – with the idea that better productivity is equivalent to balanced living, and forward-thinking leadership creates a strong platform to attract talent and future-proof growth. The tagline, “Where Talent and Opportunity Intersect,” supports the new creative direction and resonates with the target audience as an attractive area to establish their business. The York Link logo features a visual representation of the centers and corridors. The logo features bold intersecting lines to symbolize transit across and beyond the corridors. The colorful nodes represent the centres made up by the cities of Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Markham and Vaughan. The bright colors and bold graphic lines invite York Region’s various target groups to interpret the logo in multiple ways.

Deliver

Shikatani Lacroix successfully delivered a fully developed communication program, including a logo, tagline, brand card, global brand standards manual, and big brand idea that was further validated by market research. Shikatani Lacroix evolved the brand from outdated and unclear, to modern, definitive and memorable. The new branding initiative is being implemented across the nine York Region municipalities, and has been well received by both the economic development officers and developers.