Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and now… Matter

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the ways we live, work, and play. However, the proliferation of competing technology ecosystems has caused confusion for consumers, and complications for developers. When you buy a device, how will you know it works with your other products?

Over 180 companies of all sizes and across the IoT value chain, including major IoT ecosystem and technology leaders have come together under the Connectivity Standards Alliance to develop and promote the adoption a new, industry-unifying connectivity standard. This new connectivity standard promises to deliver new levels of simplicity, reliability, and interoperability for the IoT, previously brought to audio and internet connectivity through standards like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Our challenge was to define the underlying technology and create a brand that could withstand the test of time. The goal was to create a name, symbol and visual expression that signals the new foundation of IoT connectivity has arrived.

Project approach:

We researched the needs of consumer and commercial groups, which included developers, installers, and vendors to understand what attributes users were looking for in a new connectivity standard.

Following rounds of exploration, a series of name options were tested to assess the associations and qualities, ensuring the final selection would be appealing, memorable, and true to the values users sought.

To usher in this new era of seamless connectivity: Matter was created. Matter speaks to the underlying, foundational nature of the technology itself, while touching on the attributes that users are looking for. Matter is the common building block behind all things. Always present, always reliable. Matter has always been what connects us. Now, it’s connecting the smart world.

The final logo is the new symbol of connectivity. Its triangular form with lower weighting makes the mark feel stable and secure, two design tenets of the technology itself. The three curved forms coming together tell the story of convergence, a hallmark of this industry-unifying standard. It’s a mark that will represent a seal of approval, one that users will look for in their purchase journey to be confident the device will just work, straight out of the box.

A color palette of cool tones evokes a sense of calm confidence in the technology. The gradient pattern represents the connections made possible by Matter. For product imagery,

Interbrand partnered with industrial designer Lemanoosh to create a range of abstract smart objects to contextualize Matter. To demonstrate Matters future use to both developers and consumers, without tying it to any specific product brand. The products illustrate where the Matter symbol will be seen and used in the future.

Interbrand partnered with industrial designer Lemanoosh to create a range of abstract smart objects to position Matter.

Working process:

With 8 companies involved in our working group that included members from The Alliance, Apple, Amazon, Google, SmartThings, Schneider Electric, and NXP Semiconductors, we consciously over indexed on getting to know each team member (family, hobbies etc.) at the outset of the process to build stronger relationships. We had a weekly cadence with all of the team to review or input on the process at every stage. Each decision was a true team effort from start to finish.

To hit tight deadlines, Interbrand and the representatives of each company worked across the creation of the Standard (Matter) and the Alliance brand (CSA) simultaneously.

The whole process was designed through a series of workshops, where decisions would be made as well as new weekly tasks would be set.

Matter detail:

Our philosophy: Interbrand has a rich history of creating technology brands (e.g., Wii, Bing, Mesh, Wi-Fi). In order to be successful, we believe a new technology that cannot rely on large marketing support needs to leverage a metaphor and/or semiotics to jump start understanding in the brand from the start.

Strategy Process: We started by gaining a deep understanding of the value proposition of the nascent technology and tested key benefits with consumers and IoT professionals — simplicity and trust are paramount, with flexibility and security in a supporting role. To craft a strong narrative, we explored how these benefits build meaningful associations with the brand, which became a promise of the brand acting as a “foundation for connected things”. The overarching theme of foundation set the stage for the naming and visual identity development to follow.

Naming Process: With the strategy determined, we needed a name that could be trademarked globally and understood easily, favoring simple metaphors. The steering team shortlisted together and gathered feedback from their own member organizations. Naming finalists were tested with consumer and commercial audiences to assess their associations and attributes, and a final name was selected in connection with exploration of how it would come to life in visual expression.

Matter Name: The final name was selected for its foundational nature. In everything, Matter is a building-block for life. We also favored the intimation that the technology layer was somehow physical, with Matter being found inside products. 

Design Process: Once we had a shortlist of names, we began creating a series of short design vignettes, that would help align the steering team on how the brand should appear, and what personality it should have. This helped align and edit down towards the desired tone and reach for the new standard.

Matter Symbol: We set out to create a mark that could last 20+ years. The symbol itself is geometric (suggesting simplicity) and symmetrical (suggesting balance). The three nodes reflect interoperability and equality of use as Matter can be used with multiple product ecosystems.

Matter Color: We chose to create a transient multi-colored brand that would reflect the different product brands using it. Agnostic of all, but constantly changing to suggest movement of data between the brands in use. The result is a brand that feels alive.

Matter Products: Matter is backed by major technology leaders, but we couldn’t use any of their products to promote the new standard, so we needed our own assets to inform and inspire the next generation of IoT.Working with industrial designer Alex Nys (Lemanoosh) we created four hyper realistic products that would be used to contextualize where the new standard would show up in the future.

Credits:

Client: Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA)
Agency: Interbrand New York
Executive Creative Director: Oliver Maltby
Executive Strategy Director: Andrew Miller
Verbal Director: Blaine McEvoy
Account Director: Engy Neville
Namers: Jack Stiuso, Rachel Loucks
Designers: Daniel Ioannou, Andrew Bellamy, Liora Cher, Spencer Seligman, Eddy Lee
Strategists: Charlotte Li, Yulim Heo
Industrial Designer: Alex Nys (Lemanoosh)

Media Contact:

Interbrand
Joe Stubbs, joe.stubbs@interbrand.com

About Interbrand

Interbrand has been a world leading brand consultancy, for over 45 years – having pioneered iconic work and forged many of the brand building tools that are commonplace across the industry today.

We know that in an age of unprecedented abundance of choice and speed of innovation, customers’ expectations are moving faster than business. While incremental change is still essential, it is no longer sufficient. It takes bold moves to leap ahead of customers and competitors. We call these moves Iconic Moves.

In collaboration with the world’s leading brands, our global team of thinkers and makers are pioneering the future of brand building. By turning customers into active participants, we help our clients strengthen their brands on an ongoing basis – our approach gives them confidence to make Iconic Moves that spark desire and create utility, driving extraordinary results.

Interbrand is a part of Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC).

About Omnicom Group Inc.

Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC)  is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 70 countries.

Related links: http://www.omnicomgroup.com

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