Working better

XING is a leading online business network with close to 11 million members in German-speaking countries. In 2015, the need for it to differentiate itself from its main competitor was increasing – LinkedIn had invested heavily in growth and was becoming popular throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Saffron were appointed the same year.

Following a broad consultation inside the business, we jointly identified three areas of work. First was the articulation of the brand's personality towards its users. Second the definition of a brand architecture to organise the various activities XING engages in. Finally, the refresh of the XING visual identity.

Based on XING's mission to create 'a better working life', we set out to define how this would be expressed towards its broad audience through a brand personality. Workers from every industry use XING to connect with one another, to look for jobs, hire, create projects, collaborate with partners and share expert advice and business ideas. To add value, XING endeavours to help both young professionals and seasoned executives to make the most of their careers, using 'mentor' brand personality. Someone that shares users' roots, that they can trust, that knows and shapes major professional trends in D-A-CH and inspires them with insightful career ideas.

Next, we worked together with different parts of the organisation to create a brand architecture system that would bring order today and ensure clarity going forward. As XING grows both organically and by acquisition, it was important to create a decision tree that aims to simplify discussions on what to do with newly developed products or acquired brands. An endorsement system was created to help structure the verbal and visual relationship between the XING master brand and its portfolio of brands.

The visual identity of XING had evolved over the years, with sub-brand owners spearheading visual changes that caused an overall lack of coherence and cohesion. Following an extensive audit and consultation process, a more unified and simplified visual language was developed.

As a result of our collaboration, XING has been able to generate strength from the many activities it is engaged in. Different parts of the company work together more coherently and toward a common goal. Currently XING has successfully defended its leading position in the German speaking markets against LinkedIn and others.

All the conceptual images belong to Andy Smith