Nature, spirit, soul: building a solid brand identity with V12 Design & Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue
What does it take to design the visual identity for small and micro Italian companies? We explore the energetic collaboration between Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue and Milanese studio V12 Design.
Incredible things happen when one of the most important Italian banks joins forces with one of the most forward-thinking design studios in Italy. That is the case of Intesa Sanpaolo and V12 Design, this power duo has come together to help the growth and development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Intesa Sanpaolo’s visionary initiative called Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue.
With an aim to support SMEs across Italy through non-financial services, Intensa Sanpaolo partnered up with a selection of companies specialized in different sectors to help enable the growth and unleash the potential of SMEs. From the development of human resources, strengthening their digital presence and reputation, facilitating networking, to making processes more efficient and enabling innovation, Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue provides SMEs with the tools they need to face new challenges and succeed.
In order to offer the best suitable options for each enterprise, Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue prepares a personalized offering and intervention to cater to the client’s needs as a company. Among the incredible companies that partnered-up with the initiative to support SMEs, we find the innovative Milanese company V12 Design. Because it is common to find small and medium enterprises with amazing products and services but lacking good communication, Intesa Sanpaolo involved V12 Design in their visionary initiative as a provider of visual communication services given their expertise and multidisciplinary nature.
Intesa Sanpaolo and V12 Design understand the importance and advantages of a well-developed visual identity. Starting from marketing strategies, helping to stand out among competitors, establishing credibility, giving confidence in the business, a good visual identity is essential. It also assists in business development, attracting ideal clients, and helping those companies that cannot anymore simply rely on word of mouth to grow their business.
Every partner involved in Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue works very well together creating a synergy that brings out the best in each one of them to help SMEs grow. For example, if V12 Design creates the brand identity of a company, another partner can create the website based on that identity creating that way a unique synergism to cater to all the needs small and medium enterprises may have.
As a forward-thinking and creative company, V12 Design approaches each Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue project individually by creating a custom intervention for each client. Since its involvement with the program, V12 Design has completed 15 projects in a bit more than 1 year working with clients in a variety of sectors including energy, packaging, communication, food industry, and chemical products among others.
It is without a doubt Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue is a visionary and ingenious program, in order to get a better understanding of it, Massimo Klun, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue and Valerio Cometti, Founder of V12 Design gave us some deeper insights into this incredible initiative and showed us some projects that prove how Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue is successfully helping SMEs across Italy.
Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue is born from a bank but is not a bank: how does it support businesses and entrepreneurs?
Massimo Klun: “Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue, a company belonging to the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, offers a wide array of solutions to support businesses, designed to promote innovation and growth and to simplify business management. The products and services of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue are divided into five operational macro-areas built on the understanding and on the needs of businesses.
They range from networking to digitalization, from rental of cars and capital goods to training and development for people, up to advanced services providing customized solutions for issues such as the extrajudicial recovery of trade receivables, subsidized taxation, consultancy on processes and visual communication.
In order to do all of this, we plan and collaborate with qualified partners, selected according to their skillset and experience across the Italian and international market, and a network of consultants throughout the Italian territory.”
Similarly to a design thinking process, the services of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue are defined around the needs of entrepreneurs: does this prove to be a successful approach?
Massimo Klun: “As a matter of fact, our approach was similar to design thinking. We went beyond our first beliefs. We co-designed the business model of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue‘s starting from listening to a significant sample of Italian small and medium-sized enterprises to understand in detail what recurring needs (different from those already covered by the Bank) we could address to become a driver for the growth and development of companies.
In the first three years of activity, we have refined, together with our partners, products and services for companies to reach the current offering of our five operational areas. We carry out a quarterly survey with our customers with the aim of measuring our net promoter score and the results are encouraging; since we started the index has risen by 34 points. But most importantly, companies today tell us that we cover almost the entire area of their main non-financial needs. We keep the same approach even in the refinement phase of our proposition.
We recently involved a group of clients in an online workshop to design together with the best networking methods for and between companies, taking into account the current hybrid model, remote and physical, which will increasingly define the new normal after the pandemic.”
In what terms is “design” an added value in business? How does it contribute to the growth of a company?
Massimo Klun: “For a bank like ours, supporting Italian companies does solely involve granting credit. The strengthening of their competitiveness is one of the drivers for the growth of our economy, employment and development.
At Intesa Sanpaolo, we firmly believe in supporting entrepreneurs through advanced services which are not purely financial but related to the management and development of their companies. This is crucial for the growth of the Italian entrepreneurial system, to guarantee the return on investments and at the same time standing by the companies in this particularly difficult moment.
In this regard, I would like to remark that our digital solutions for businesses (websites, e-commerce, social networks, web export on Alibaba) are aimed at supporting the development of a channel which, despite the increase recorded starting from the lockdown following the Covid-19 emergency, still finds Italy ranking 19th in Europe.
Moreover, in order to support home-working, we launched the #lavorodacasa (#Iworkfromhome) initiative, offering businesses the opportunity to rent laptops for their employees and collaborators. Listening, digitalization, sustainability, and innovation are the keywords of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue’s continuous design for the development and growth of companies and therefore, ultimately, to protect the human capital of companies.”
We’ll now explore the collaboration between Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue and V12 Design through the words of its founder Valerio Cometti and look into some of the incredible projects the Milanese company created as part of this initiative.
What is the essence of the design services offered by V12 within the context of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue (ISFV)?
Valerio Cometti: “V12 Design offers a wide set of services for companies, ranging from product design to branding, to rethinking business models through Design Thinking. The partnership with ISFV focuses on branding services, i.e. the design or rethinking of the naming, the brand and its logo, the elements of corporate identity, up to their visual assets such as brochures, company presentations, and graphics for product packaging.
The aim of V12 Design’s collaboration with ISFV is to offer a structured approach to communication and visual identity to small and micro Italian companies, allowing them to take the first steps towards solid storytelling representing the high quality of their production.”
Curious to know more about Valerio Cometti and V12 Design? Don’t miss How Milanese company V12 Design merges the engineering approach with a design vision.
The first case study we examine is the Milan-based AAKON, a producer of chemical material for the healthcare, cosmetics, and metal industries. Troubled by a weak identity (they had to use the word “Polichimica” in their logo to identify their sector), AAKON got involved in Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue seeking a clear and stronger brand identity to make them stand out in the sector.
Taking everything AAKON wanted, V12 Design redesigned its brand identity with 2 main goals in mind: bringing AAKON’s branding in line with the cosmetic sector and making the brand more contemporary. With the use of strong visual colors, a thin font, and the addition of “Milano” to clearly refer to the company origins, V12 Design was able to recreate AAKON’s logo resulting in a beautiful branding that not only represents the double-A in the company’s name but it is also mirrored to represent the chemical bonding and the sector they work in. This complete brand identity is now applied to the company’s headed paper, business cards, and all the communication material AAKON may need.
Seeking to make their brand more actual and modern, the energy service company Tecnoenergy was also part of the Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue initiative. Catering to its needs, V12 Design rebranded the company’s identity and designed its communication material.
Keeping the original circle of Tecnoenergy’s logo, V12 Design provided a more dynamic shape: this detail not only modernizes the brand but emphasizes the work Tecnoenergy does while bringing it to the forefront of its sector.
In order to represent the transformative nature of Tecnoenergy, V12 Design developed a corporate slideshow that includes the logo presented in different ways in every slide as well as a large “mask” showing images within its shape. This modern rebranding not only shows versatility but is perfectly in line with Tecnoenergy’s work and services.
Valerio, what are the potential impacts of a well-designed branding strategy and corporate identity on a business?
Valerio Cometti: “I would say that the first benefit is self-esteem. Frequently, the Italian entrepreneur focuses on the quality of the product he makes, on its performance, on innovation… leaving behind communication matters and the first visual impact of the product. Very often, when we complete a project with a client together with ISFV, the first benefit recognized by the client is the awareness of having more chances in the global market. The current situation made the digital presence and visual communication vital since consumers have the first contact with the product indirectly, rather than “touching first hand”.
The impacts of our branding services are surprisingly concrete and tangible, often unexpectedly for the company itself. A well-designed brand image and visual narrative, and the construction of storytelling that radiates beyond the physical perimeter of the company its values and excellence, have a concrete impact on turnover, but even more on margins, because they trigger a virtuous path, raising the perceived value of the company.”
In the case of Cascina Portina, a dairy farm specializing in cow’s milk located in Lodi, Italy, the request was to create a new brand identity for the preparation of their expansion and exportation of milk abroad. To achieve this, V12 Design created a strong connection with the local territory: Lodi. The city’s beautiful churches and rose-like windows served as inspiration for the shape of the logo and its colors. With the use of a terracotta red inspired by Roman buildings and the traditional blue used in the milk sector, V12 Design managed to create a modern crest as a logo that exudes a modern aesthetic combined with a historical look.
Cascina Portina was pleased to see how V12 Design was able to make the connection between Roman churches and their sector as farms have historically been closely intertwined with churches given that monks used to work in them. With this new brand identity, V12 Design was able to not only prepare the company for expansion but also for the exportation of their products by adding the location of the company, Lodi – Italy, as a detail that links its local territory with their international spirit.
With a desire to change their old brand image which seemed too descriptive, weak among competitors and not representing the incredible evolution from a small company to a corporate firm, Almagroup, a company specialized in eco-packaging made of cardboard and wood for fruits and vegetables sought the help of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue. Their request: maintaining the link to their ecological soul and adding the concept of “group” to state their institutional image.
Having this in mind, V12 Design took on the challenge and renewed the visual identity of the company starting from its logotype which represents a box and a flower. Adding natural lettering, including “Italy” to highlight the Italian nature of the brand and using the color from the old branding but digitized with a petroleum touch, resulted in a strong visual identity suitable for a corporate firm.
New client, day 1: how does V12 Design structure the work to define a new branding strategy and corporate identity?
Valerio Cometti: “The process is very “lean”, fast and carried out remotely, managed with great effectiveness thanks to our vast expertise. At the start of the project, the customer receives a detailed questionnaire, specific to the required area of intervention (logo, catalogue, packaging, etc.), on the basis of which V12 Design draws a profile of the client’s tastes and develops a project brief.
If necessary, a video call is set up to deepen the brief and discuss the communication objectives in detail. Afterwards, the visual communication team of V12 Design elaborates the project and presents it to the customer, always through digital means of communication: the time of the company and the entrepreneur is precious, we learned to make this “back and forth” very efficiently.
Strictly respecting the brief, we develop and submit alternative creative paths which explore a wide range of different readings of the values, ambitions, and pluses of the company so that the client can find the solution that best represents them, the one that better suits them.”
As an energy service company and part of the Interconsult SPA group, I-energy wanted to rethink its visual identity to differentiate from the parent company. Considering the request, V12 Design created a complete rebranding, new visual identity and a service brochure catalogue to cater to the company’s needs.
By changing the logo, lettering, and taking the circular shape from the previous logo to create a continuous circle representing I-energy’s circular and sustainable energy, V12 Design was able to create a modern and effective brand identity fitting for an energy service company. For the design of the service brochure catalogue, V12 Design opted for a clean and minimal aesthetic with key images that clearly narrate the DNA of the company while always keeping present the iconic circle as a watermark on all pages.
Altea, an energy company working across Italy, sought the help of Intesa Sanpaolo Forvalue to make their brand identity more actual, compact and contemporary. Based on this idea, V12 Designed created a stronger identity for the energy company which started from the logo. Made of basic shapes, the new Altea logo represents the company fully by using the same colors from the old brand identity but used in a more logical sense. The yellow represents sun-energy, the blue represents wind-energy, and the green represents the eco-soul at the base of Altea’s structure.
Find out more about V12 Design’s work, don’t miss The icon, the past and the future come together in Brionvega’s Alpha Television by V12 Design.
Besides representing the core of the company, V12 Design included rounded characters in the logo to visually communicate the safety and friendly nature of Altea. The result is an effective and modern design suitable for an Italian energy company.