Plugsurfing: Rebranding the European EV pioneer
The electric-vehicle industry was at a standstill, losing track of the bigger picture of EV benefits — positive contribution to the environment whilst enjoying freedom of driving.
Plugsurfing, an electric-vehicle charging platform, set out to transform themselves and the industry. This new ambition required a new compelling brand. One to disrupt and transform how the e-mobility industry talks and behaves.
At the beginning of 2021, Plugsurfing’s new strategy came into play. A radical shift in how they saw the future of emobility industry and their role in it. Werklig partnered with the company to make sense of this inflection point, taking them on an extraordinary journey to create a brand fit for a forerunner.
The rapidly developing EV industry was in the midst of fragmentation and disarray. Full of fiercely competitive players. The experience for the drivers was anything but smooth. Plugsurfing decided to be the force for collaboration. Transforming EV charging by bringing together the industry players. Building the leading emobility software alliance in Europe.
To see this future through, Plugsurfing needed new energy to re-engage its teams. To form solid partnerships and create marketing communications that cut through.
Fast forward 5 months, past an accelerated strategic and creative development, a new brand strategy and brand identity are launched. Intense collaboration with multiple client teams results in the most future-positive emobility brand in the industry.
The re-energized brand gets people and partners genuinely excited about joining forces, building the alliance of an electric future. It stands out in the market with new clarity and breathes life inside the office. There’s a laser-sharp focus and a clear common purpose.
Inception of the identity concept, drafting a new symbol.
The rapidly growing emobility market sets a challenging playing field. Many aggressive players and a flood of newcomers competing for attention. How to win the game? Plugsurfing’s radical idea: collaboration. The idea of winning through collaborating, becoming an architect of an alliance, is a spark of genius. This new vision sets a need for a compelling brand. One with a strong sense of purpose and identity, supported by palpable storytelling to connect, inspire and attract.
A strong and lasting brand strategy starts with truth. First understanding the state of the matters. What brought Plugsurfing to its inflection point and why, what is the plan for a triumphant future? Then getting under the skin of the company, discovering the beating heart of its culture.
We set out a series of workshops with several internal teams, from operations to the directors and the CEO. We brought over 80 people into an online session to co-create Plugsurfing’s values. All the gathered input was analyzed, crystallized, shared and iterated – until the output, the carefully articulated elements of the brand, genuinely resonated with the client.
The defining method for Werklig is the synergy between strategic and creative teams. The brand strategy and creative development feed off each other, providing a tangible layer to the strategy and a conceptual base for the identity.
The symbol itself is inspired by the new positioning, bridging all the three target groups as well as derivating the main brand colors (yellows) from the three values.
From values to ambition and competitive advantages to positioning, ending with the spelling out of the company’s purpose. Werklig’s process takes the client through the strategic brand development framework step by step, completing the brand puzzle in close collaboration. Ultimately defining what makes Plugsurfing stand out and grow into a category-leading brand.
Plugsurfing’s brand strategy framework was completed in five weeks and the overlapping creative development of the identity and chosen applications in twelve. Within the first six weeks, the strategy and the key identity elements were finished.
The web content strategy and content design streams were tightly connected to the brand strategy. We collected and synthesized qualitative customer insights to create Plugsurfing personas and the respective key messages and value propositions. This strategic phase allowed us to rapidly design and develop the website and its content, an important touchpoint for new and existing customers for telling the new story of Plugsurfing.
Merchandise is only one of the many applications created from the brand identity. A key element to celebrate the new brand launch and build the internal culture.
The strategy shines through all the brand expressions - from the brand story to the elements of the visual identity, tone of voice and all the individual applications. The visual identity gets its design drivers directly from the values and the positioning gives clarity and focus. An architect of the electric future, founder of the emobility alliance. The one who bridges people, locations, partners and cutting-edge technology together demands an identity that embodies love, hope and future positivity.
The final solution is a new unified expression, based on truth and meaning. One that stands out boldly and joyfully.
A symbol of positivity and a nod to the brand’s legacy. The new logo combines the bridge symbol and a bespoke typeset wordmark that takes influences from its legacy.
The visual identity made heavy use of typography and colors. Combined with a bespoke set of illustration and typographic glyphs, the set balances bold statements with a human perspective.
The three main brand colors are present throughout all expressions, while the typographic glyphs, illustrations and complementatry colors bring another layer of joy and positivity.
The visual identity made heavy use of typography and colors. Combined with a bespoke set of illustration and typographic glyphs, the set balances bold statements with a human perspective.Any powerful brand knows how to leverage storytelling. From a tuned tone of voice to compelling visual storytelling through brand photography. Werklig went the extra miles with our partner KoskiSyvari, taking off on a journey through Europe in an (actually two) electric vehicle. Our team spent one week on the road creating truly authentic photography of the future of road trip.
The journey of a life time, four countrips, tow cars, three ferries and millions of kilowatts later, the best brand photography to date.
The result is a set of unique brand images that complete the Plugsurfing story, in a more honest and authentic way that any other production could have.
Portrait photgraphy (made in Berlin, our destination) follow the brand images style and aim to focus on loving.
Along with the NFC key, the re-branded Plugsurfing charging card is a road-trip essential.
Telling a story goes beyound, colors, symbols or photography, it is founded in deep human understanding. A key step in our digital product framework to build compelling consumer touchpoints.
Our team made the heavy lifting of making sense of Plugsurfing’s new offering. We collected consumer insights then synthesized into personas, in order to aligned the communication with the new brand, and telling a compelling story. The new information architecture and key messages became the foundation for the website's structure, and came to life with the brand identity elements.
The brand development process that Werklig took Plugsurfing through energized the client, reviving their belief in themselves and the company they represent.
Internal communication tool like presentations, and other collaterals and merchandises are important part of living and breathing the new brand throughout the company.
The new strategy sends a clear, confident message to the whole industry. It shines with positivity for emobility and the future. Current and would-be collaborators have reacted with excitement, jumping on the chance to join the new platform and pledging themselves to the new alliance.
Plugsurfing has raised the brand bar for the industry. In terms of their vision, the soft power of collaboration and an expression that is pure joy.
- Brand strategy
- Strategic analysis
- Creative analysis
- Art direction
- Digital product
- Kimmo @ KoskiSyvari (photography)
- Jack Forrest (illustrations)