26 October 2023

Designing a brand with many stakeholders

by Simon Richards

Ideas Made Real is a school outreach programme designed to bridge the gap between curriculum and industry needs, championing the role of advanced manufacturing in our lives and opening young minds to the limitless potential of a career in STEM.

STEM education equips students with analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills that are relevant to many careers. Furthermore, it fosters creativity and innovation, which are essential for addressing the most pressing challenges facing society and our world today

The Ideas Made Real program is a nationwide STEM and advanced manufacturing schools program from Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) that empowers the next generation of makers with the tools for the future. We’ve been involved in helping with brand naming, brand identity, and the challenges of managing the many brands and organisations involved in this program. The objective was to inspire students of all ages to create, innovate, challenge stereotypes, pioneer new technologies and make their brilliant and bold ideas real.

Often, projects may seem straightforward at the outset, but as you unbox the complexities of branding programs and initiatives involving multiple stakeholders, branding projects can help create clarity regarding who should lead and who should endorse. In this case, we had to determine the correct branding relationship, whether the program should have its own name and brand or if it would add value and credibility by being closely associated with IMR.

Evaluating the correct branding relationships

Both options had merits, but when evaluating the outcomes, it became clear that this program needed its own name and brand assets while also maintaining a close connection to IMR. The rationale for this decision was that the delivery, content, and investment were made by IMR, so they should take credit for it. Additionally, IMR brought value and credibility, demonstrating that the program was run in association with a recognised and reputable body that could connect schools with leading manufacturers.

Brand naming and identity solution

Although the solution has a clear association with IMR in terms of colour, typefaces, and visibility of the IMR brand, the program required a shift in tone and language that could resonate with schools and students. It also needed a name that could quickly generate interest, be active, and serve as a signpost for the program. The name ‘Ideas Made Real’ was developed to work on multiple levels: it provides an understanding of the activities, emphasises creative opportunities in manufacturing, and is fun and straightforward. This naming structure allows ‘Ideas Made Real’ to lead communication with a close relationship to Irish Manufacturing Research and be used as an ingredient brand when courses are led by a third-party educational brand.

Upon launch, it became evident that the close association with IMR had two significant benefits. First, it lent the program credibility and expertise. Second, it added value to the IMR brand through the awareness, leadership and innovation-focused outreach program. While the final brand solution may appear simple in execution, the journey and process to reach this solution took time and involved input from various stakeholders. Success was evident in the adoption of the program by many schools.