What happens when a brand just doesn’t work? Well, you get a case like Wettermark Keith. This regional law firm has a serious case of brand identity dysfunction. In this post I’ll show you what they’re doing that misses and how they could fix it.
Unless you’re local to Birmingham, AL, you’ve probably never heard of Wettermark Keith. Their billboards make you very aware of their presence here, though. That’s what started me on the broken brand series. This brand just doesn’t work.
First, there’s the logo. It’s not just that the logo is one of the most generic logos I’ve seen. It’s really more about fit in this case.
Really, I found another in my twitter feed almost just like WK’s without even searching. This similar logo from Mattermark, a data growth company, shows just how common the three bars logo is. Actually, this looks like a Fiverr logo, and maybe that’s where they got it.
In any case, your logo should function as a symbol that unites your brand. It really needs to be unique, so that as you build your brand, it’s recognizable. Since WK’s is so generic, it easily gets lost in the noise of graphic logos with three bars.
The one thng that kind of makes sense for the logo is the shield. Protection might be a symbol for them. Although, peole who come to them have already been in an unprotected place in their lives, they want to be protected now. They at least want their rights protected. So the shield works for their brand.
If I took away the tag-line “personal injury lawyers” from the banner above, what would you think the company does? My mind wanders to printing. Maybe it’s because Wettermark is so close to Lettermark.
Either way, the styling of the logo and supporting text suggest a young, progressive, leading edge company. The block graphics suggest simplicity and order. Then the yellow implies something along the lines of joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Gray leans towards knowledge and wisdom. At least they got one right. The yellow may be what they want
The yellow may be what they want people to think of them as a brand. However, linking joy, happiness, and energy to a personal injury company might not be the best fit. This leads me to my next problem.
When it comes to branding, it’s really about choices. You want to decide who to connect with and what you communicate in as short amount of time as possible. Finding a target audience is key to an effective branding campaign.
WK completely misses, and here’s how you can tell. If they were trying to connect with an elite group of people who are searching for cutting edge attorneys because they were progressive themselves, then their brand would make a lot more sense.
However, since these billboards are everywhere, it seems more likely they are just trying to connect with every driver on the road in certain high traffic areas. They are probably hoping that as accidents happen on these high traffic roads, people will look up and call their number.
Here’s the dead giveaway, though. Look at their about picture.
The picture tells a different story than the rest of the brand. Check out the blue and gray suits. This isn’t progressive, it’s traditional. There’s only one genuine smile in the group, which doesn’t match the yellow profile of their logo at all. The photo has a lot of contrast in lights and darks, but the general impression is dark, even heavy feeling.
This group photo simply doesn’t match the rest of the brand. It’s hard, even knowing, trying to link the logo with this picture. This is a brand consistency problem, suggesting more brand identity issues.
So, how to go about fixing this brand. Where to start. This company needs a brand deep dive, desperately. They need to take a step back and find out who they are, not who they’re trying to be.
After they establish their identity, they can use what they already have that’s an asset. Wettermark Keith is a unique name. They probably don’t even need an image to accompany the name.
Because the business of personal injury law seems a bit shady, I would suggest the company try a more traditional looking typography, definitely something with a serif. It doesn’t have to be super traditional if they still consider themselves young, but a serif font exudes a grounded feeling.
Finally, I would lean towards a different color. It would be tempting to just use navy. Blue is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, and truth. Navy would be the more bold choice.
However, since they apparently want to differentiate themselves, and they, in some way, lean toward a more progressive bent, I would suggest something in the more blue to green family for their style guide. Green symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Banks use green a lot because of this implied meaning.
A quick mockup of a new logo shows how much could be done with the current logo.
Even with the simple changes suggested, the logo brings more brand consistency into WK’s business. I’m not suggesting this as the new logo, I don’t give away free design work, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Wettermark Kieth has some real issues with their brand. It can be salvaged with a little internal work and a great designer. The bigger challenge for them as a brand is defeating the negative image of their field. I absolutely believe any brand can be salvaged with enough time and an intentional plan.
Did I miss anything? Maybe you noticed something I didn’t. I’d love to hear from you if you did.