CWS taps Blackspace as transformation partner, 2019

These are times of major change at CWS. The Haniel Group subsidiary is currently in the process of repositioning, with new business fields and a focus on its service offerings. This venerable brand, with locations in 16 countries, chose the brand experience consultants at Blackspace to develop its new strategic and visual direction.

Rebranding means structural and cultural changes

CWS is undergoing a dramatic shift in its strategic direction – which makes it necessary to question even the most established messages and processes in the company. “As designers who also see design as a strategic tool, we often work on themes and structures that impact the entire culture of the company,” explained Blackspace’s Michael Keller. “CWS had the courage needed to take such fundamental steps – which is why we could really make a major difference for them.” The brand strategists worked with CWS to radically simplify the company’s brand architecture: Following the merger of Rentokil Initial and CWS-boco, we grouped the many different sub-brands into six service areas under the single CWS brand.

Defining a clear new mission is essential

CWS also wanted to completely overhaul its corporate positioning with Blackspace – rather than focusing on products, they wanted to be seen as a solution provider and a partner in health and wellness. Purpose statements for all new service areas reinforce the new strategic direction – as does the name. This essential element shapes the brand identity, and redefining it was very important for Blackspace: “By giving the familiar letters a new meaning, we were able to retain the company’s tradition while looking towards the future,” explained Blackspace Managing Partner Christoph Rohrer.

The initials of founder Conrad Wolfgang Schnyder were reborn in this naming process. Now, for the first time in the company’s history, they also express the brand’s mission in the form of a tagline: “Clean. Well. Safe”.

Internal transparency is the key to success

Even in the face of such major transformation processes, every company has a constant that no one can forget, under any circumstances: the brand ambassadors, otherwise known as employees. “Every change also takes a lot of effort. Everyone needs to join forces and work together to be successful,” explained Christoph Rohrer. This is the very reason why Blackspace organized an internal event for CWS prior to the official launch. Here, CWS CEO Thomas Schmidt shared all of the important facts and background information on the rebranding process with his team.

Dynamic identity design principle replaces conventional CD

To create a visual identity that reflected CWS’s bold, forward-looking strategic direction, Blackspace quickly decided to keep the bold colors as part of the brand’s tradition – but also completely abandoned the idea of a conventional logo and corporate design. “CWS is currently in the midst of major growth and transformation. We created a dynamic identity design principle with endless opportunities for scaling and adaptations – while still being clearly recognizable”, said Michael Keller.