Start Creative refreshes Virgin Money

Start Creative has refreshed Virgin Money’s visual communications, aiming to reposition the company as a bank-led brand.

The visual and tone-of-voice refresh, which launches this week, is the fruit of a six-month project and brand review that started in July following the financial services business’ failed buyout bid for Northern Rock.

A Virgin Money spokesman says the company wanted to differentiate itself from other financial services and restore consumer confidence in the sector. Start, which has a long-standing relationship with the Virgin Group, was appointed without a pitch in June, according to Start Creative creative director Martin Muir.

Start, working closely with Virgin Money’s in-house team, was tasked with realigning Virgin Money’s identity, tone of voice and visual communications with an existing proposition – ‘Everyone’s better off’ – devised in-house.

Muir says that at the heart of the project is the idea of ‘shedding new light on financial services’, with the ‘evolved’ logo featuring a halo of light behind the Virgin marque (pictured right).

All elements of the visual language and copywriting aim to simplify what Muir says has become a confusing and worrying area for consumers.

Revised brand guidelines now apply to above-the-line advertising, product literature (pictured below), direct mail and online communications, laying out direction on the use of the logo, colour, typography and photography.

‘We’ve evolved the logo in terms of the idea behind it – “shedding new light” – and have changed the typography to give things a more open, human, honest look, which relates back to the tone of voice,’ says Muir.

‘In terms of colour palette, colour comes through our new brand photography, but we’ve created a flexible technique that allows Virgin red to overlay photography where appropriate. It’s all part of an enlightened approach to a new visual language for Virgin Money,’ he adds.

One of the key challenges on the project, according to Muir, has been to work within the Virgin corporate masterbrand.

He says, ‘That’s always the challenge when working with the Virgin Group: to understand the Virgin values and approach.

‘It’s about how you differentiate [each of the Virgin companies], and how we always do that is through creating ideas in each of the different marques, using tone of voice, fonts and photography appropriately. You have to consider each Virgin business having its own identity but “keeping it in the family”.’

Virgin Money’s Credit History

• Virgin Money offers mortgages, credit cards, insurance, loans, pensions and savings, as well as providing investment services

• It launched in 1995, offering a PEP savings account. It later began offering pensions and life insurance

• Virgin Money was to be transferred to Northern Rock in return for equity, while Northern Rock was to be renamed and rebranded Virgin Money, as part of the proposal put forward in October 2007

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