International, Multi-lingual, Original, Unforgettable

Branding a multi-national company from an ocean away


Let’s talk about branding for a minute.

Coming up with an identity for a new business isn’t a low-pressure situation—you’re tasked with creating a personality, a first impression, something that’s going to become someone’s everything. If you’re naming the business on top of that, the pressure only increases. And all the complexities inherent in that process get multiplied when that identity has to work an ocean away, in three countries and in multiple languages.




That’s the challenge our friend Catherine Keogh brought to our table. After decades shaping marketing at Alltech, she was launching a new company with her friend Fabien, in France. Their new company would bring together a network of talented professionals across the world to meet the marketing needs of complex brands. Catherine and Fabien tasked us with creating an identity that would convey this mission, work across Europe, and launch their business with undeniable style.




When we name a brand, we subscribe to the fifteen-heads-are-better-than-one theory. After Catherine downloaded us on the story of her brand, we got our whole team in a room, gave everyone some scratch paper, and went to town. We looked up words in three languages, we played with acronyms and initials, we combined words, we went down internet rabbit holes. We stopped, we worked on other things, we came back to it. We slept on it, dreamed on it, texted each other at all hours about it.


We finally decided on three very different concepts to present (because that’s how we work). Catherine and Fabien loved them all, but they loved one most: Ruche.

It means “hive” in French. It’s easy to pronounce accurately whether you speak English, German, or French (obviously). It’s clear, bold, and speaks to what Catherine and Fabien are building—a network of talent, working together for a common goal. During our research and brainstorming process, we found an article about the intersection of beekeeping and corporate culture, and it really helped us solidify why the hive was the right image to guide our branding.




“…the life of the healthy hive is rich in metaphor for the life of a healthy, sustainable office or any community of people working together. There needs to be good morale for it to work, everyone has their purpose and works together to achieve the goal of the whole.” – Hannah Judge-Brown, The Guardian

Once they selected their concept, we set up Catherine and Fabien with everything they needed to launch—business cards, a landing page, a tagline. More than that, though, we helped them distill their story into a visual identity—one that can be easily absorbed, understood, and appreciated all over the world.



Tags: branding, design,

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