Bringing together two HR leaders for a unified future
How do you guide two distinct category leaders through a merger into a dominant new brand? In the case of Ultimate Software and Kronos, the HR solutions leaders shared strong cultures and reputations as two of the country’s top places to work. They also shared the challenges of merging in the midst of a pandemic. Enter Lippincott.
Company leadership chose Lippincott to create a brand strategy and identity that would imbue the key aspects of both legacies into a strong foundation and would generate immediate momentum going forward. To tackle the challenges of a launch in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its lack of in-person interaction, Lippincott employed a highly agile approach to ensure that the launch and activation of the brand strategy and visual system would rally employees around a compelling purpose in new and meaningful ways.
Building a fresh, modern and purpose-led brand required close partnership with the Ultimate Software and Kronos teams on every dimension of the new brand: name, tagline, brand platform and architecture, visual system, and brand voice, along with an activation plan that would bring these elements to life. Through the process of discovery and interviews spanning both internal and external audiences, we were able to capture our driving insight: the unique strength of the combined organization came from its position at the intersection of humanity and rigor. This pivotal perspective laid the foundation for the new brand’s positioning.
We then developed the purpose statement, “When you put people first, inspired results follow,” evocative of how the combined business would create success for itself and for its customers. The statement also echoes brand language from each of the legacy companies, strengthening continuity even as they move into a new future together.
In parallel, we explored different name options that would rally employees and signal the unity of Ultimate Software. The chosen name, UKG, or Ultimate Kronos Group, did just that—a short, straightforward solution that recognized the two legacies yet signaled change. Incorporating the word “group,” further amplified a human tone and bolstered the idea of a collective.
Since the chosen name was an acronym, it was also important to underscore the brand with an emotionally resonant tagline that reinforced their new positioning and expression. “Our purpose is people” embodies the ethos of the company, while elevating who they are and what they stand for. It also gives employees a sense of pride around their unique ability to prioritize people, while bringing everyone, both employees and customers, together around a common goal.
The visual system and brand voice embed UKG’s people-first purpose across every touchpoint.
The new brand voice fuses warmth and energy with rigor and reason, allowing the brand to highlight its expertise when necessary, but to flex for a light-hearted tone when appropriate. Incorporating a smile into the logo speaks to the culture the brand aspires to create for its people and the partners it works with. The primary typeface has round forms that reinforce UKG’s personality, and the smile supergraphic acts as a special extension of the core identity. Altogether, the new brand system is unique expression that conveys UKG’s people-first purpose across every touchpoint.
Finally, for launch, we worked hand in hand with the UKG team to craft an activation plan that would create excitement around the new brand in a time when traditional in-person tactics wouldn’t suffice. This included a teaser campaign, logo and name reveal with a compelling launch video and virtual Town Hall to rally a critical group: employees. The external launch of the new logo and name featured an athlete sponsorship at the US Open, a robust digital campaign, and a new microsite that Lippincott created as an educational hub for the new brand.