• Transform magazine
  • January 26, 2022

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SMAKK designs new identity for oral care brand

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Oral care brand, Otis, worked with branding and marketing agency, SMAKK, to design a new identity to the company in its mission to provide a more empathetic solution to teeth grinding while making night guards more affordable.

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Often associated with stress and anxiety, teeth grinding (or bruxism) is estimated to affect one-third of the general population. While some solutions address the physical results of bruxism, fewer approach this issue with an eye towards normalizing its roots in mental health. As Otis tries to tackle both the physical and mental consequences, SMAKK saw the chance for a brand to lead a conversation about the connection between the two.

SMAKK Founder Katie Klencheski, says, “Many people suffering from bruxism have gone through a traumatic event or are experiencing stress or anxiety. Also, some may experience the symptoms of bruxism, like headaches, jaw pain, and sore teeth, without even knowing that they are grinding their teeth during the night. It was time for a company to acknowledge these truths and commit to addressing them at the core of its brand.”
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The new brand also had to focus on accessibility, stressing that Otis is a more affordable alternative to a dentist visit. To do so, the brand needed to inspire a level of trust that aligned with the fact that they use the same labs as deintists do, but without the markup. To do so, SMAKK included language and visuals that are both approachable and credible, aiming to positioning the brand one that was changing the conversation around oral health. This included engaging with customers in a way that not only educated and informed them about what bruxism is, but supported and empowered them as well. With a personalised brand voice, Otis could ease people into the conversation, getting people talking about oral health and removing the stigma that comes with mental health topics.

“I think this is a good example of a brand that truly cares about the people it’s trying to serve, talking to them in a way that is credible while also being approachable and warm,” Klencheski says.

SMAKK supported the positioning with a playful logo and lifestyle photography, in addition to a series of illustrations with graphic line work. The illustrations were built with flexibility in mind, so that the more detailed, colourful versions could be used in larger compositions, with more minimal versions for smaller mobile platforms.

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“The oral care space has a tendency to feel very sterile or clinical in its design and photography, especially when looking at how they portray product how-tos. Our research turned up a lot of studio-lit, back-to-basics photography when brands were trying to demonstrate the product or show use-cases. So, when brainstorming how we could build and demonstrate tutorials, we thought these illustrations would be a fresh, yet clear way to do so,” says Klencheski.

Another key aspect of the brand’s messaging and design was Otis’ commitment to sustainability, which is reflected in the use recyclable, medical-grade materials to make the night guards and the carbon-neutral packaging they are shipped in.