Reinventing an identity to create a stronger brand

France's Groupe SOS adopts a new visual identity





Groupe SOS

Defining itself as a social enterprise, France's Groupe SOS puts economic efficiency in service of the public interest. Managed by its three founding charity organizations (which came together in 1995 to integrate complementary services), Groupe SOS proves, day after day, that it is possible to create and sustain economic activity while having a strong social impact.

An organization comprised of 40 entities (and associated with the same number of visual identities), the Groupe SOS had a complex and very fragmented identity. Unable to effectively convey its purpose, mission, and key areas of expertise, lack of clarity was becoming a handicap for the enterprise. A new identity was needed that would unify the brand’s disparate parts and encapsulate its values.

While the Groupe SOS’ former logo was linked to the historical activities of the three founding charity organizations, the new one pulls together elements that represent the diversity of activities undertaken by the Groupe SOS. Symbolizing an enterprise that consists of many parts but operates with “one mind,” the new logo evokes a school of fish. As such, the new visual identity effectively preserves the separate identities of the charities that make up the organization, but unifies them through a consistent look and feel. Each area of expertise is represented by a particular color and symbol, which gives each arm of the organization its own distinct identity. Every identity lives by itself, but the consistent elements that now unite them bring cohesiveness and clarity to the new brand identity.

Capturing the diversity, agility, and cohesion of an organization with a unique model, the new identity was very well received by all stakeholders. It has updated the enterprise’s image, brought clarity to its purpose and structure, and unified disparate elements across the enterprise. Endorsing its effectiveness, the organization’s President, Jean-Marc Borello, says, “[The new identity] highlights and promotes the Groupe SOS’ vision, its ideas, and its models.”