• Transform magazine
  • April 16, 2024

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Five minutes with Emma Lewis

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Transform speaks to Siegel+Gale’s associate strategy director, Emma Lewis, about the branding agency’s work with global marine geoscience and technology business Shearwater GeoServices.

What was the brief? 

We were tasked with creating a brand for a highly skilled and educated audience that projected clarity and would help the business evolve for a new era, aiming to position the brand as a forward-thinking industry leader, representing their newfound stature, strategy, capabilities and ambitions. We underwent extensive quantitative and qualitative research to produce a re-energised, modern brand and identity. We developed a new strategic positioning, TOV, messaging, logo and visual identity as part of this.  

Tell us about the insights process.

We did a deep dive into both numbers and sentiments, researching Shearwater's current audiences, including clients, talent, investors, the community and the government.  

It turns out that across the board, Shearwater's stakeholders wanted to understand the business plans for a future beyond oil and gas. Top of the list was how the business planned to tackle the transition and retain relevance. Shearwater was also seen as a bold innovator, a company of scientists not afraid to buck trends and defy expectations to make a discovery.  

This revelation pointed to a shift towards becoming a tech-focused geoscience partner to businesses in the energy sector, with disruption and the energy transition at their core. 

We ensured that at the heart of Shearwater's identity was a scientific quest for knowledge, a relentless pursuit of discovery, innovative tool development, and a commitment to delivering geoscience facts that advance the industry and secure access to the world's resources.  

What was the strategic approach? 

Collaborating with the Shearwater team, we developed a purpose-led brand platform, which was then expressed through our brand idea – ‘Seismic Thinking’. Embodying the quest to unveil the unknowns, contribute to energy security and responsibly utilise the Earth's resources. The concept injected an authentically disruptive and tech-focused energy, projecting confidence and positioning Shearwater as a leader in navigating unexplored waters in the industry.  

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How did this feed into the new brand identity?

The logo – a bold new wordmark – symbolises focus, direction and an ocean-anchored brand. Within it, a concealed Shearwater bird in its signature dive added a layer of discovery, nodding to the brand's history. The tone of voice, shaped by 'Open', 'Fresh' and 'First' brand principles, conveys Shearwater's disruptive attitude. The visual identity, with bold purples, lively accents, impactful typefaces and unfiltered photography, captures the raw nature of the business.  

And what about the wider brand ecosystem? 

Beyond core brand elements, the transformation extended to the brand ecosystem. The client-partner collaboration ventured into a strategic and creative direction for a comprehensive communications strategy and a refreshed website. These initiatives laid the foundations for a brand world that Shearwater could leverage and extend further. 

In essence, 'Seismic Thinking' became more than a brand identity; it represented a mindset, a commitment to exploration and innovation and a desire to lead the way into a sustainable and transformative era in geoscience. As Shearwater navigates the currents of change, its seismic thinking resonates as a beacon guiding the industry toward uncharted horizons. 

What did you enjoy most about working on this project? 

One of the highlights was the progressive involvement we had with the business leaders. Their willingness to be engaged at every stage of the project facilitated a smoother workflow and provided valuable insights that significantly contributed to the project's success. 

Working alongside individuals who shared a common goal and were committed to a collaborative approach created a unique outcome. This teamwork not only enhanced the quality of our output but also fostered a real sense of camaraderie. 

Moreover, on a personal level, the project presented an opportunity to help a business on its journey towards a more sustainable future, delivering energy security on the way. Being able to help Shearwater communicate its journey was a privilege and a powerful motivator.