Inside the branding of Arconic

The new company tasked Landor with coming up with several elements of its brand, including its innovative logo.

(Image via Arconic's Facebook page).
(Image via Arconic's Facebook page).

PITTSBURGH: Arconic launched with a branding push supported by agency partner Landor after splitting from aluminum company Alcoa last Monday.

The rebranding includes a new name, logo, and tagline for the company.

The project began more than a year ago, according to Jasmine Tanasy, executive director at Landor. At the time, Alcoa was undervalued in the market, said Wally Krantz, executive creative director at the firm. Not only was Alcoa’s stock price anchored to the price of aluminum, which can be volatile, so was the value of its brand.

"We did brand-valuation studies to help leadership and the board consider the implications of the separation of the businesses," Krantz said. "We recommended the Alcoa brand remain with that business and that a new brand be developed to elevate the value-added business."

Alcoa’s value-added business, which became Arconic, creates products using raw aluminum material, primarily for the aerospace and automotive industries, while Alcoa’s business includes segments such as mining operations.

 "It was about breaking off the value-added component and creating a new brand as opposed to changing what Alcoa meant, because it was going to create more value for both of those brands in the long run," Tanasy said.

The company assigned Landor with creating a brand that enhanced the value-added business and had its own identity, yet was respectful of its heritage. Its two main audiences were employees and partners.

Landor created Arconic’s tagline, "Innovation, Engineered," before it came up with the company’s name, a portmanteau of "arc" and "iconic."

"So many companies talk about innovation, but when Alcoa talks about it, they’re talking about engineering and making real changes," Tanasy said, about the tagline. "It’s not an idea. It’s about execution and a promise to their partners and market, and a reminder to their employees of what they do."

Tanasy characterized the name as a nod to the "iconic products" the brand creates.

"It’s not about celebrating what Alcoa has done, but setting a course of where it can go," she said.

"The Arconic brand was inspired by the precision engineering focus of the company, the dynamic spirit of the culture, and the rich heritage we were built upon," said Libby Archell, VP and chief communications officer at Arconic. "It was important for employees that it echoed our proud past while evoking a fresh, tech feel."

Krantz was brought into the process to work on the logo, while design director Beca Lee began drafting logos that could communicate the concept of making "the impossible real," Krantz said.

"This was the logo everyone responded to all the way from the beginning," Lee said. "Something that was always important was paying homage to Alcoa, the more than 170 years of innovation, and bridging the two companies."

"It’s an impossible shape," Krantz added. "When you look at the left side of it, it’s got one dimension, and on the right side it’s becomes quite tangible. Its geometry is evolved from the triangular nature of the Alcoa logo."

This story was updated on November 8 to change the headline to correct Acronic's status in relation to Alcoa.

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