3-2-1- liftoff! Excitement was in the air when we received the news that we’d been selected to brand ARKA, a Blackstone funded aerospace company. And with more than US$600 billion under management, few Private Equity firms know more about creating brand value than Blackstone. We couldn’t wait to join this mission.
ARKA was the result of three strategic acquisitions combined to form a new company with unprecedented space and defense capabilities. Our work would have to serve multiple purposes, including:
- Projecting a vision to unify and connect the cultures of the different acquisitions. It was critical to project confidence and sophistication, as well as mystery and depth, demonstrating new innovation, while leveraging historical accomplishments.
- Supporting growth and new business while communicating a clear leadership position. The ability for the brand to extend for new acquisitions and markets as the company evolved would be important.
- Attracting and Retaining Talent by standing out and being motivating. Professionals in aerospace engineering and sciences are not easy to recruit or retain, so establishing an inspirational platform was essential.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” –Arthur C. Clarke
Building the ARKA Brand
The ARKA brand was designed to create a sense of wonder and possibility. First impressions would be important, so we positioned the brand around big ideas and a confident presentation..
Starting with the Right Name
The name ARKA was not initially well received by the client. It had been introduced previous to our engagement and was among a list of names under consideration. Of all the selections, we felt it was the strongest, so we focused on two aspects of naming to limit subjectivity:
- Name meaning and characteristics: ARKA was derived from an ancient word for “ray of light,” supporting ARKA’s mission to illuminate the unknown and invent the way forward. Though the name is abstract, it suggests an arc of progress and gives the company room to evolve by not being narrowly defined.
- Name mechanics: The construction of the name, its letters, sound, and length are optimal. The name ARKA has strong mechanics—only four letters (three unique), a strong K, and the fact that it begins and ends with the letter “A” gives it visual symmetry and balance.
Creating the ARKA Identity
Brand development began with a rapid discovery period to quickly gain insight, so we could invest as much time as possible in brand exploration. We then developed dynamic design and video presentations, so decisionmakers could visualize the brand in real contexts and gain confidence in the process.
The corporate tagline, “Imagine | Achieve” was created to signal a visionary and inventive company and was featured prominently in a video designed to showcase the new brand. Additionally, a cultural tagline, “Beware. Magicians.” was developed to project the company’s personality and energy.
Defining a Culture That Empowers: Beware. Magicians.
In our initial research, we came across testimonials that referred to ARKA’s work as magic. This struck a chord, and we explored ways to leverage the concept. We recommended the slogan, “Beware. Magicians.” to foster a shared sense of pride and create a mystique around the company’s innovative work.
To reinforce the cultural connection, branded items, including a culture book, ARKA branded gear, and facility signage were designed to extend the ARKA brand across the company.
“Beware. Magicians.” was developed to foster a shared sense of pride and create a mystique around the company’s innovative work.
Creating an Effective Brand Architecture
Because ARKA was a new entity created from a acquisitions, we had to consider the relationship between the brand and the respective companies. We started by developing the ARKA brand and unifying principles to guide the company as a whole, while keeping the brands of the acquired companies, Danbury Mission Technologies, Amergint Technologies, and Tethers Unlimited intact.
As the ARKA brand matures, the architecture will likely evolve to either:
- Combine the companies in a single domain while retaining the individual company names, or
- Retire the existing company names and migrate all activities under the ARKA brand.
Ultimately, the most effective brand architecture depends on company strategy and which approach best contributes to achieving objectives.
Building the ARKA Website
The ARKA website was designed to introduce the new brand through a simple, dynamic experience. It demonstrates the company’s depth and sophistication while establishing its relationship to the acquired companies.
The ARKA site experience unfolds with dynamic interactions as the user scrolls through sections featuring 3D animations and a brand video of the company’s vision and historical significance. Visionary and informational content establish the new brand while data visualizations of historical statistics bring credibility.
The brand and website are just the beginning for ARKA, and with so many incredible advances in space, we’re excited to see what comes next. Being part of this historical project has been a tremendous honor—one that would not have been possible without the support of our Blackstone client and the ARKA leadership who were brilliant partners throughout the process.
If your brand has big aspirations and could use some rocket fuel, let’s talk!