There is no question that mining has been a maligned industry. Given little public understanding of the need for mining and increasing demands for environmental and social responsibility, it is difficult to create a mining brand that employees, regulators and the general public can feel good about. That was the task presented to Lippincott.
When we began working with Vale, they had recently become the second largest mining company in the world through a wave of international acquisitions, including INCO in Canada. Vale was an organization that cared deeply about doing the right thing and differentiated itself from others by investing heavily in delivering positive social impact to the markets in which it operated. As a company, it had strong leadership, took great care of its employees and had a bright future. However, the negative halo that surrounded the industry meant we were facing an uphill battle to set the company apart.
Overcoming mining’s negative halo
We set out to create a brand that was relevant and approachable, and that engaged the public about issues relevant to them. We created a brand positioning that helped to humanize the industry by highlighting all the ways that minerals are essential to our everyday lives. The key ingredients provided by Vale help people build, move and create, and through the new brand positioning, we were able to bring all of that to life.
“The mining industry and the oil and gas industry face many of the same challenges when it comes to public perception. However, because we all appreciate driving our cars and sitting in a warm house in the wintertime, we give the oil and gas industry a little more social license to operate. With mining, we simply don’t think about the role it plays in our daily lives. And that was the real opportunity,” said Hilary Folger, Partner in Brand Strategy, “to bring it to life and make it tangible, real and personal.”
A master brand strategy to take Vale to the global stage
The next question was the company’s name. For years it had gone to market under different names in different regions, including CVRD, Rio Doce, Vale and Companhia Vale do Rio Doce. We simplified the name to Vale, the term affectionately used by locals in Brazil for one of their strongest and most admired organizations. We then united all acquisitions under this single master brand and developed a plan to transition the equities of INCO over time.
The visual identity and environmental design work that followed needed to be sensitive to many regional, public and key stakeholder perceptions, including its 70,000-employee base. Vale’s new visual identity solidifies its image as a Brazilian company with a global presence, something the country can be proud of and the world can recognize as a global leader. The symbol, a “V” form with a valley, conveys the act of discovery, the Brazilian flag and a heart. It is simple, strong and elegant and captures many ideas in a single gesture.
This new identity signals a great change and a step onto the global stage for the mining giant.
Adam Stringer, Partner, Design