The V-Flow Battery – Branding A Chinese Innovation For U.S. MarketsNews
V-Liquid Energy co. ltd. is a Leshan, China-based technology startup that is developing a vanadium-flow battery for large commercial use. The battery will empower utility energy providers to store and distribute renewable energy to populations around the world.
We were selected by V-Liquid Energy to create a brand and brand strategy for their product that would resonate in US markets.
Despite the enviable features the product is promising to the industry, the company is unknown to the US markets and struggling to create a brand that would be recognizable in a competitive space. In addition, the vanadium-flow technology has had a history of unreliability and mistrust in the market.
Research and Strategy
As we sought to differentiate the company and it’s product, we researched the traditional-energy and renewable energy space. We repeatedly found that other companies were missing opportunities to connect with the markets on an emotional and aspirational level. Most brands reflected an industrial-persona (scientific, emotionless and utilitarian), despite possessing intrinsic aspirational qualities.
Our research placed vanadium-flow battery technology as being on the cusp of entering into market-viability and acceptance, overcoming decades of scepticism and mistrust. The widespread application, and the benefits this technology would produce to large market areas, framed the direction for our strategy and subsequent designs.
The resulting strategy focused on positioning the product in a way that fostered trust, while also projecting a differentiated personality into the marketplace. Within this same line of thought, we created a narrative that places the audience in the middle of an aspirational story arc, aligning the product’s resulting value with the audience’s goals.
Naming The Battery
We created the name to be as descriptive as possible. Potential buyers can look at the name of the battery (V-Flow Battery) and understand, with minimal education, exactly what the product is (a vanadium flow battery) and what it’s application would be (to store and distribute energy). Because the product’s name describes what the product is/does, those in the market are better-able to learn about and remember the product – futher reducing market-entry and future marketing costs.
Designing The Logo
The insight gained from the research also informed our strategy for creating the product’s identity, including the logo. We wanted the logo to contain natural and energy-elements in a way that further communicates its use and value. However, we knew, to create a truly-differentiated identity, the signals we place in the market could not incorporate any over-used (cliche) colors or iconography. For that reason, we made a conscious decision to not include the color green or any design elements that represented organic plant life (i.e. leaves or trees).
The final design features a vibrant and multi-colored color pallet that fuses blue and red together. The pairing of the two colors bring the viewer a sense of momentum that blends differing components to form a singular concept. Even further, this “fusing” represents the actual function that takes place within the battery – the red and blue colors embody the two liquid electrolyte solutions that, through an electrochemical reaction, can store and convert energy.
Because the battery stores energy generated from renewable sources (i.e. solar) we knew the brand must contain a significant element that is rooted in the natural world. But, as stated earlier, we intentionally avoided any plant life representations.
The final logo features an active hummingbird, which is stylized and placed within the logo to show motion and represent “life” coming springing from the product itself. Specifically, the hummingbird was chosen as the brandmark because the bird is associated with the primary attributes we wanted instilled into the brand: energy, resilience, precision and friendliness.
Communicating design concepts can be tricky, especially when you’re communicating across cultures and languages. As we developed a divergent set of package designs, we brought in our modeling team to design a rotating 3D model and then place our designs on each model. The end result (which you can view here) enabled decision makers to quickly understand how designs would be applied and viewed.
The final brand composition and brand leans heavily on the idea of balancing of energy and nature. The strategy relies on creating the industry-wide missing link between renewable energy aspirations and applications. This created a clear path toward building trust and acceptance in the industry as not just another product, but as an essential component to providing renewable energy to the world.