When Lutonians Bina Briggs and Bronwen Philpott set up their HR advice and support business they had a business name and a black and white view of the future but little did they realise just how bright their future was going to become online.
We've yet to see a business embrace the notion of a brand colour the same way that Plain Talking HR has and we love it! Pay a visit to their Luton office and you'll see it's not just the web design that has a touch of orange about it.
Bina and Bronwen formed their business having met each other when they both worked in senior HR roles at different businesses based at London Luton Airport and discovered they had a very similar view about HR in business. Once you've worked for an air travel business kerosene seems to get into your veins so when the two friends formed their company they named it using a play on words, swapping the word 'plane' for 'plain'.
From the outset of the project it was clear that the website needed to run in a three-websites-in-one arrangement under any one of three domain names; this would enable either Director to promote and contract with clients personally or through the Plain Talking HR Limited company. This shared flexibility provided a safety net should either Director wish to split and pursue alternative commercial avenues; in such a scenario the website could be split and still function independently of the Plain Talking HR brand.
The brief was that there needed to be a strong sense of black and white representing the polarised view of HR law and also making a subtle nod towards diversity in the workplace. People businesses tend to wrongly play the diversity card and end up looking just the same through their use of uninspiring and unimaginative stock HR photographs of blatantly American models high-fiving themselves in various office situations.
Sub@omic worked to develop a solid black and white identity that would flow through the webpage design into stationery and marketing materials to confidently project an modern-looking, yet experienced and professional organisation that is "good with people"; little did we know just how far the identity would travel.
Visit Bina and Bronwen in their Luton office or out on the networking circuit and you'll immediately know where they're from because of the flash of orange that you'll always find them both carrying, whether that's on their clothing, or the colouring of their filings systems, stationery, their corporate flower or mobile phone cover.
Sub@omic presented a number of logo options for the new business; the one that was selected echoes the aircraft marshal's bright orange hand signals used to direct aircraft on the ground.
Soon after recognising the power of a good identity, the notion of having 3 distinct entry points to the business was dropped because Bina and Bronwen recognised that so much more could be achieved by ploughing all marketing effort into the powerful and meaningful company brand.
The majority of HR support is delivered by telephone rather than in person so Sub@omic developed the brand colour orange and developed the orange telephone boxes isolated an a variety of black and white backgrounds.
Four years after the formation of the business and the launch of the brand, the website is still attracting regular positive feedback from business people in and around Luton who all praise about it's clarity and cleanliness.
Have you ever looked for stock images of staff or employees? Ghastly isn't it? Hundreds of cliché images of highly polished Americans high-fiving themselves around the boardroom table.
Sub@omic were determined not to let Plain Talking HR stumble over the same pothole that so many HR businesses do.
Having already developed the logo for the business we set about filling the website with meaningful images which, although they originated from stock libraries, look anything but stock - thanks to a little care and attention in Photoshop and a keen understanding of the HR consultancy's business objectives.