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BRANDING NEWS: Rebrand of the month - Jato

Jato Dynamics, supplier of information to the automative industry, had not refreshed its brand image since it launched in the UK in 1984. Since then the business has grown significantly, and now has offices in 45 countries. When marketing manager Laura Kirk was appointed to work at its UK head office last July, she saw the need to bring the company's image up to date and make it live up to the 'dynamic' part of its name. An internal launch of the updated brand image happened at the end of March and phase two, the external launch, is due to take place next month.

Kirk not only wanted to refresh the brand, she also wanted to readdress the company's focus. Until now, Jato had been very product-orientated in its marketing; churning out product sheets that it had come to realise were written in a long-winded, jargon-heavy way that wasn't particularly user-friendly. Going forwards, it wanted to think more about its key customer markets and on tailoring its communications and literature to suit each of these as it strove to drive new business.


A change in focus

“Jato is a cutting-edge technology-based business. However, our image simply didn't reflect our aspirations anymore. We'd grown dramatically over the last ten years and we needed to have a thorough refresh,” explains Kirk. “The other major change has been the way we have changed from focusing on our many products to key customer markets.”

Peter Wilkinson, creative director at brand agency Milestone Strategic Design, explains the brief that was given to him. “Jato identified that in order to expand its brand in emerging markets, which its wanted to do, it needed to present its products in a more customer-friendly fashion,” he says. “The product sheets it had were text heavy, poorly laid out and in many cases, the content hard to understand. All in all they were confusing.”

Jato launched its refreshed identity internally, flying 30 of its general managers in from around the world for a presentation near its Harrow HQ, that opened in an unexpected way. Wilkinson explains why images of popstar Madonna featured in the launch presentation. “The concept behind this was to emphasise that since 1984, Madonna has reinvented herself countless times. In the same time period, Jato hasn't rejuvenated its image once!” he says. “With the motor industry being so male orientated, Madonna was the last thing they expected to see in the presentation. It really helped to dramatise and bring to life the whole thing.”

A big part of breathing new life into Jato's image meant updating the logo. Its chairman and founder, Jake Shafran, had designed the company's signature speedwing icon as a child, and was adamant that it remain. “Because we couldn't change that, we worked on the text”, says Wilkinson. “So we just softened the shape of the icon and designed a bespoke font for the text with a new bold typography that gives it a distinctive edge.” They also brought Jato's slogan, 'Our knowledge is your power', to the fore. Before, it had often been found buried within text. “We thought it was a good slogan and that it needed to stand out more,” says Wilkinson, “so now it sits permanently under the logo.”

Kirk confirms the content was rewritten as part of the company refresh and with its diverse customer base in mind. Its customers include analysts, research and development teams and car dealerships; all customers requiring different types of data from Jato. “The content was completely rewritten so whether it was for an analyst who wanted deep, thorough analysis, or a customer in a softer marketing role, they could find what they wanted,”she says.


Creating brand continuity

Milestone persuaded Jato to ditch some of the industry jargon contained within the product sheets and redesign them into colour brochures. It also suggested that Jato drop the different product names which had been developed of which there were around ten and instead build a hierarchy based on the master brand.

“Before, all the products had different names and different styles of branding. We brought all of the products together to give them the same branded look and feel and created a clearer way of sub branding them based on the master brand,” explains Wilkinson.

Refreshing the brochures meant rethinking the way that text and images were displayed, and one of the biggest challenges Milestone faced was in working with a fairly limited photography budget.

“We did negotiations with some motor industry photographers,” explains Milestone director Ian Sutton. “And used their images along with some stock photography. We also did our own photoshoot, so we ended up with a mixture of commissioned, purchased and stock photography. To give them all a bespoke look, we gave them a treatment so that they were all coloured up to look the same.”

Work on July's external launch is still in progress and will coincide with the unveiling of a redesigned website. At the time of going to press, Jato was unable to confirm details of any advertising activity planned around the external announcement, but Kirk said that it would launch with a “big bang.”

There is real optimism, she says, within the company going forwards. “The internal launch has been received really well. Since it took place there has been a real surge of energy within the company. From this point forwards the idea is to keep the company's image looking up to date and fresh.”

About Jato

Jato Dynamics supplies the automotive market with data on vehicle prices and specifications, industry news and sales and registration data. Its B2B customers include all of the world's volume vehicle manufacturers as well as researchers and developers and major leasing companies. Its data has also been adapted for consumer use in motoring web portals, where customers can see the advantages and disadvantages of a specified model against any other. Jato has offices around the world, in countries including Brazil, Japan, USA, France, Germany and Italy, with its headquarters based in the UK. 


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