There are 10 competitions that make up the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, one of these is communications. We are judged on how we communicate our house and ideas both in the lead up to the competition and during the 21 day event.
The first step in communicating a message is to create a memorable and unique brand which includes a name, logo and message. We need a brand that will communicate the right message here in NZ and around the world. We have been lucky enough to get some very experienced help in this area to ensure our world class entry gets the attention it needs.
We are a Victoria University student team led by the School of Architecture, but most importantly we are a New Zealand team. We are taking the best of New Zealand to an international competition and we need a name and a brand that will reflect the unique perspective we are bringing to the event.
For us the name “First LightNZ” sums up our perspective and our origin. Our global positioning makes New Zealand the first country in the world to see each new day—literally the first to see the light.
After deciding on the name First LightNZ we needed a brand to go with it: enter Designworks. We were introduced to the team at Designworks through our connections with Leap, who are providing the plumbing and hot water solutions for our home. Designworks are a strategic design company behind some of New Zealand’s best known brands. Their clients include Air New Zealand, AMI, Telecom, Southern Cross, DB Breweries’ Monteith’s and Tui brands, and now First LightNZ—which we’re over the moon about.
Designworks gurus Paul Johnson—Design Leadership, Tim Denee—Design and Chris Meade—Strategy/Business Development, have generously given their time, energy and expertise to create a competition winning brand which will become synonymous with the New Zealand entry into the Solar Decathlon 2011. Their hard work has produced the foundation for the positioning of the First LightNZ brand, as well as ongoing strategic advice leading up to the Washington event.
At the start of the project we had designed a kind of place holder logo, which played off the shape of the solar canopy, Paul and Tim played with a number of ideas but wanted to stay true to our original logo. What they have come up with is simple, clean and bold; it still uses the shape of the solar canopy but incorporates the letters F and L on their sides. We love what they have created including their ideas for warm tones and natural landscapes to be used as a part of our branding. We are now talking with Kiwi photographers and hoping we can use their unique landscape shots as a part of our image.
We are very grateful to Designworks for their creativity so far and are looking forward to working with them further on the project. Our communications strategy goes further than just the competition, we want New Zealanders to connect with our brand and the project. By engaging with the project hopefully people will understand the importance of embracing more sustainable energy efficient products and will begin to make the most of our fantastic solar resource.
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