The consultancy was appointed to the project in April this year on credentials to help with overall direction of the brand, though the Thorntons in-house team responsible is also working on packaging designs and product development.
Tracey Stevenson, design director at 1HQ, says, ‘We were briefed to join them on a journey where they wanted to look at getting the brand reappraised. At the moment the brand seems like a bit of a commodity – a producer and seller of chocolate – and in this day and age you have to have equity and personality to drive engagement with the consumer.’
1HQ has created brand guidelines and a new masterbrand, with additional brand devices that Stevenson says will ‘help drive [Thorntons’] scope’ and recognition.
She says, ‘At the moment they’re simply recognized by a logo, so we’ve looked at moving it on and making it more modern.’ The last brand refresh took place in 2009.
She adds, ‘we’ve guided them on principles rather than designs so they can make them work internally. It’s a whole new way of thinking for them.’
The consultancy’s brand guidelines will begin to be shown on packaging, stores and other collateral in ‘a step change in our ranging, packaging and merchandising by the autumn of 2013’, according to a financial statement issued by Thorntons this week.
This month sees the launch of a new Thorntons Direct website ‘with improved functionality and improved personalisation’, according to the brand, and 1HQ says the new branding may be shown on the site.
Hannah Legg, brand and customer marketing director for Thorntons, says, ‘part of our strategy was to articulate the brand and the thinking behind the brand – we wanted to make sure we did that before launching a new visual brand.’
In February this year, Thorntons unveiled a new store concept designed by Inspire. The forthcoming brand overhaul will see stores use the 1HQ brand guidlines, though it is unknown whether these will be in place of the Inspire-designed interiors.
The statement also reveals that Thorntons plans to continue with its ‘Own Store closure programme’, and that around 40 stores will be closed over the course of the current financial year. It says, ‘we remain confident that we can retain a sustainable and profitable Own Store estate of between 180 to 200 stores.’