Spinach in 2020: A year in branding

Chotto Matte design by © Spinach Branding

This has been an extraordinary year for most brands. The pandemic aside, the world order has been shifting for some time – the coronavirus has simply accelerated life into the future. The excitement and anxiety around advancements in artificial learning and machine science have been with us for a while. Our consumer habits have also been dramatically altering for some time and are about to radicalise further. Then there is the health of our planet and growing environmental concerns that have to be urgently addressed.

Covid-19 may have unleashed subtle and unsubtle cultural shifts, but there is no turning back with many businesses seeing this as an opportunity for change. They are seeking advice from independent branding agencies, consultancies like ours who have years of experience building and nurturing businesses and are able to offer an objective view.

Campari 2020 advertising campaign by © Spinach Branding

Like most businesses we have had to tentatively navigate the year. In March, as the UK went into rapid lockdown, Spinach adjusted to the ‘new normal’. We temporarily left our London studio to set up safe home offices for our staff, and learnt to master digital meetings and virtual workshops. Much like other businesses, we have seen both the benefits and limitations of distanced working life and have adjusted our methodology accordingly.

So, what have been our highlights of the year? Campari has got to be one of our happy memories as we continue to work alongside the global drinks brand on its advertising campaign. This year we further pushed the brand message and followed on from our successful ‘Ready for Bitter?’ brand advertising. In the peak of pandemic blues, we helped create ‘The Little Red Book’, a compendium of Campari cocktails offered free as a digital download on the La Vita Campari brand website. With most of us unable to travel, the demand was beyond expectation. We’d like to think the book brought with it a little Italian sunshine. Justerini & Brooks content publishing by © Spinach Branding Elsewhere on the drinks front, our content publishing team had the pleasure to work with Justerini and Brooks on revisioning the company’s prestigious on-trade publication. We finalised the brand creation for CAP Gin, a unique spirit with the essence of the Côte d’Azur and a sprinkling of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. We have also begun working with a new client, a leading US luxury drinks brand, which we are hugely excited about and will be able to share more on in the New Year.

Despite the highly unusual circumstances, this year we helped with the launch of several new restaurant brands including Thunderbird Fried Chicken and Bisushima – two very different propositions, but equally exciting businesses to be involved with. With a new identity created by our team, the fast-food chain Thunderbird Fried Chicken is now successfully opening sites across the UK. At the same time, Japanese fine-dining restaurant Bisushima has finally opened its stylish doors in Covent Garden, albeit reduced to a take-away menu for exclusive Kaiseki inspired cuisine.

Bisushima brand name and brand creation by © Spinach Branding

Another highlight of our year has been working alongside the restauranteur Kurt Zdesar and his dynamic global brand Chotto Matte. With an impressive portfolio to include introducing Nobu to Europe and finding the Ping Pong brand, Kurt has been a delight and an inspiration to work with, and we cannot wait to share our brand story with you soon.

In 2020, we rebranded the global steamer specialist Propress and launched its new consumer hand-held product, the Propress Mini. We continued to create annual reports for leading retail giant Applegreen PLC, and the UK National Lottery operator Camelot. Spinach has also been working with the London and Cotswolds architecture practice Gluckman Smith Architects. The new brand name, Woldon, reflects the practice’s evolution, as does the new website which launches early next year.

Woldon brand name and identity by © Spinach Branding

Last but certainly not least, our team have also been busy all year working alongside one of Europe’s most significant mixed-use placemaking development projects. Barking Riverside is evolving a vibrant London neighbourhood, providing a platform for existing and new residents to create an authentic and inclusive place that encourages opportunity. We cannot wait to share a more in-depth overview of this groundbreaking project with you, but in the meantime visit the website and see the development unfold.

So, how can we sum up 2020 and what to expect from 2021? There is no question that it has been challenging for most businesses, including ours. Yet, we have learnt a great deal from this historic period. ‘It is a year that reminded me of why we keep a balanced portfolio, and work within various industries,’ says Spinach creative director and partner Adam Thomas. ‘It has shown the importance of embracing technology and developing agility and flex into brands.’

Propress branding by © Spinach Branding

The past year has been breathtaking in so many ways – a bittersweet year with so much loss and sorrow,’ says Spinach branding director and partner Leigh Banks. ‘Next year will be equally challenging, yet it will also present the opportunity to reimagine what is possible. I’m excited by the spirit and ingenuity we are seeing around us, of how so many brands have taken the lead and adjusted their business models to be relevant for our times. A heartfelt thank you to our clients; and we look forward to helping you and new brands and businesses make a positive change in 2021.’

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

Barking Riverside branding by © Spinach Branding
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