Like any entity, Equiem had humble origins. Six years ago we consisted of two desks and two passionate team members. The term “Proptech” didn’t exist, and “tenant engagement” was a nascent concept. We had one client - Rialto Melbourne - and one product - the Equiem Portal, which had just entered into its beta period. We were still pure play tech - the Portal was a straightforward e-commerce platform that connected hyperlocal services to office occupants. The practical heights of our concern back then? That our 300 users could click through the weekly newsletter, and the lunch boxes they ordered were delivered hot.
Since then Equiem has grown exponentially in both ambition and complexity. The Portal is now fully fledged tenant engagement platform - with news, events, space bookings, social feeds, analytics and more - we’re proud that it’s the most advanced of its kind. We’re also now online and offline - with customer service staff on the ground in Equiem Onsite and an omni-channel experience platform provided by Equiem Engage. Finally, from our initial 300, we now have over 90,000 users across 100 buildings worldwide, employ over 250 staff, and have offices in Melbourne, Sydney, New York and London.
As the company scope, ethos and product ecosystem evolved, one aspect of Equiem remained relatively untouched - our brand identity. By the start of 2017 it had became clear that our current set of visual components were no longer enough.
The crux of the issue was that the previous brand was beginning to sell us short. There were amazing human stories coming out of our buildings each day, and yet our identity felt cold. It lacked the heart and emotion that was at core to everything we did. Put simply it didn’t showcase our company’s energy, achievements and people, the way we felt it should.
Heading into the early stages of our global business expansion, we also knew we needed an identity that could stand shoulder to shoulder with the world’s biggest brands - one that could take us forward to new audiences with confidence.
We began the rebrand by establishing a set of success criteria for the new brand:
The next step was to take stock of what Equiem stood for. We felt confident where we were as a company, now we just had to distill it all into its core constituents. This took the form of a brand model covering three core principles.
With the brand model complete, the next step was to create a manifesto - a brand story that encompassed our purpose, utility and personality in one statement:
"At Equiem, we see beyond the conventional indicators of a building’s success.
Beyond the square footage. Beyond the number of units. Beyond the location. After all, buildings are more than bricks and mortar. We see the value in connecting people. In creating communities that unlock untapped revenue. That attract more tenants. Retain them longer. And make them feel welcome. Every day.
So we’ve created next-generation technology that enhances connections, and gets you closer to your customers. Because we believe building your community profits your building.
Equiem. Powering Connections."
With foundations complete, the rest of the brand components were built.
Our previous brandmark has remained unchanged since we first launched it in 2011. The ‘Q’ was originally designed to symbolise how Equiem helps you “find and magnify” local services. This was highly relevant in our first year of operations, but as Equiem’s scope expanded, it became less and less so. In recent years, the ‘Q’ has largely remained nebulous in meaning.
For the rebrand, we wanted the ‘Equiem Q’ to have meaning again, and to be able to tell a story on its own. One of the central pillars to Equiem’s reason for existence is how we help property managers unlock value in their buildings. We wanted to convey this in our new identity somehow. “Unlocking Value” became the core rationale behind the new brandmark, brought to life in the new ‘Q’.
The story of the Equiem Q begins as closed circle, representing community in a building.
The elements of the circle are flexible, and it opens, representing how Equiem unlocks opportunities.
The final, opened circle forms the ‘Q’, representing unlocked value in the building community.
The ‘tail’ of the ‘Q’ represents an entryway, as it is modelled after the entryway for a door in a standard floor plan. The entire ‘Q’ also resembles an ‘ON’ button - symbolising how buildings in our portfolio are ‘powered by Equiem’.
Our previous identity was dominated by a shade of cyan we called the ‘Equiem Blue’. The colour was originally chosen in 2011 for its strong connotations to technology. We made a conscious decision to use the blue everywhere, to stamp it distinctly Equiem in the Australian market.
Over time however, this look began to tire. Our reliance on the Equiem "cyan" limited our expression. For the rebrand, we needed to better integrate secondary colours into our identity.
Our new colour palette reflects the vibrancy, humanity and energy that encapsulates life at Equiem. Expressed through our products, the content we write, the events we organise and our team, the new palette is designed to express Equiem’s diversity and palpable energy.
We wanted to go “full colour” with care. Since Telstra rebranded to its current neon theme a few years ago, many brands have decided to follow the trend. Big brands have chosen a wide spectrum of colours, diluting each individual shade’s significance. Additionally it causes issues with usage, with teams being easily confused which colour do you use for which situation.
We wanted our colours to be vibrant and diverse, but also retain sophistication and utility. We therefore carefully chose five colours - a vibrant red and yellow, balanced with a subdued Scandinavian blue and green. All would be tied together, critically, by a new ‘Equiem Blue’.
We wanted to retain Equiem Blue as our primary for brand continuity. But we also wanted to resolve the issues outlined above. The new Equiem Blue is a vibrant, powerful shade, that “punches” through almost anywhere it is applied. Combined with our 4 accent colours, our new palette was designed to be adaptable to different audiences. The light blue and green can be applied in reserved, corporate use cases; the vibrant red and yellow to appeal a more consumer or B2C audience.
Tone of voice and language was one of the strong points of the previous brand. Back in 2012, even before the term “Proptech” was coined, we were one of the first to evangelise the values of “tenant engagement,” “customer experience,” and community; and live and breathe a people-centric philosophy where everyone in a building were customers, not just the companies that occupy the floors.
Over time however, as the market matured, our language and phrases began to become ubiquitous. We were starting to lose our differentiation.
Our new tone of voice builds on the foundations of our previous, by further exemplifying our focus on people and community, but refreshing it with a contemporary personality that is uniquely Equiem. Our voice is built upon three characteristics:
A critical aspect of our new language is its improved ability to explain what we do and our value to our customers succinctly but still maintaining our brand personality. Like our colour palette, the tone was designed to provide flexibility and range; the playfulness of the copy can be ‘dialed’ up and down, depending on the audience.
Our previous typeface was Benton Sans. It’s still a sharp, modern Sans Serif, with a wide range. The issue with ‘Benton’ was that it wasn’t available in Google Apps, Equiem’s primary productivity platform - largely limiting its use in print and web. Benton also lacked distinction amongst the sea of Helvetica-based Sans Serif’s.
Roboto is our new primary typeface. Originally designed by Google for their Android platform, Roboto is a "modern, yet approachable” typeface. Especially when combined with the rest of our visual identity, Roboto conveys sophistication, intelligence, while also remaining an edge and distinction versus the market.
Back in 2011, the real estate industry was awash with architectural photography of buildings that were devoid of life or energy. With our focus on people, we sought to be different by focusing our photography on the humans and communities that inhabit our buildings. We avoided standard building shots, replacing them with images of the movement and activity that surround these communities.
Our new photography style builds on this already strong foundation. It revolves around the concept “Vignettes of life,” which aims to capture the emotions of people touched by our products and services. The spark of a smile, the joy of seeing a friend, the feeling of achievement after a morning jog - fleeting, genuinely human moments - captured on film, at just the right moment.
The end result is a brand that captures the essence of Equiem - our mission, our products, our philosophy, our people. Sophisticated, intelligent, human, vibrant, distinct; it provides flexibility to speak to our range of customers; and the confidence to launch Equiem onto the global stage.
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