Thames Water

Naming, branding and launching a £5bn business for Thames Water and its partners

the challenge

In the face of huge commercial and political pressures to find innovative solutions to its business challenges, Thames Water decided to take a radical view of its future infrastructure investments.  Rather than competitive tenders, Thames decided to create an alliance of major businesses and help them work together to innovate rather than compete.

One of the alliance partners, Veolia Water, is a long standing pslondon client, and they came to us to help create a clear value proposition and then take that forward into naming, branding and launch.  Our first challenge was to create a single vision, so we ran a series of workshops with key people to understand how the alliance would be visibly different from previous infrastructure projects and specifically, how that difference needed to be communicate to the outside world. We then took their input, shared it with more staff and started the creative development process.

our solution

It became apparent that there was a need to create a new identity that reflected the innovative, collaborative and ambitious approach of the alliance.  

It also needed to be somehow related to the water industry, but not to be dominated by the Thames Water brand.  The name came bringing together the eight partners with the chemical formula for water, leading to a name that uniquely and perfectly describes the alliance.  For the logo, we studied how liquid flows, the patterns it makes naturally and how droplets form and spread.  Once we came up with the idea for the new identity, we created literally hundreds of hand drawn ink versions, allowing the liquid to take its natural course on the paper, before selecting the final version.

the outcome

The name and brand identity we developed manages to get across the fact that there are eight members, working together for the greater good, in a water-industry context. 

The logo is designed to work as a simple identifier for the external audiences on vehicles, uniforms and site hoardings, as well as a reminder for the thousands of staff from alliance partners working at eight2o that it is building a new future.  Its design lends itself to animation, and has become the centrepiece to a number of videos and animations designed to communicate the purpose and uniqueness of eight2o to staff and customers alike.

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