18.9.2014 Interbrand

True colours: The new Sensis brand.

For over a hundred years people in Australia have used paper directories to search for friends, family or local businesses. However with the rise of digital technology and the emergence of Google as a universal synonym for ‘search’, the world has changed.


For Sensis – an organisation whose operations were previously focused on paper directories – the imperative has been to re-imagine its role in a digital landscape. This has involved transformational changes in terms of what it offers to customers and how its business operates. From a complex and dilutive portfolio of brands, products and services to a focused set of strategic assets, Sensis is now positioned to meet every customer’s needs. From paper directories to SEO, website design and apps, Sensis is now at the forefront of digital marketing services for Australian businesses.


Interbrand has been engaged with Sensis throughout this transformational process, with a unique strategic process to redevelop its brand in line with its business ambitions.


We fielded a team of strategists and creatives in Sensis’ offices and worked together to define the organisation’s challenges and opportunities. This led to clear recommendations on a new strategic direction for the brand and portfolio architecture. Typically this kind of work takes months to complete but a collaborative and iterative process allowed for a solution to be formed and directives developed in under a week.


The recommendation was to separate the B2B and B2C functions that existed in all brands across the portfolio. This result was the elevation of the Sensis brand from a passive corporate entity to a purely B2B brand, focused on helping its customers optimise their marketing efforts. Meanwhile the other brands in the portfolio (Yellow Pages, White Pages, True Local, WhereIs) would represent a range of B2C offerings across print and digital. The result is a portfolio that gives focus to all of the Sensis brands and provides scope to introduce new propositions as and when they are developed.


The expression of the new Sensis brand needed to show how it could educate and empower organisations of all sizes to be better marketers. It needed to present itself as a guide for Australian businesses as they navigated from the physical to the digital. It needed to be a brand that could engage and motivate by demystifying technology and simplifying complexity.


The new brand is based around the character of a mouse: a metaphor for the resourceful, determined and industrious businesses Sensis works with. The mouse is the hero and platform for all of our communications.  Dutch illustrator Tim Boelaars was commissioned to create a menagerie of characters who interact with the Sensis mouse to help tell the story of Sensis and its customers.


Oliver Maltby, Creative Director of Interbrand Australia, comments: “Each individual story uses a simple metaphor relevant to a business issue, such as growth (Giraffe), knowledge (Owl) and technology (Robot). Using these recognisable characters along with straightforward encouraging language presents digital marketing in a way that’s human and accessible.”


John Allan, CEO of Sensis adds: “The brand identity leverages the equity of Sensis’ consumer brands and positions Sensis as the leader. The instantly recognisable character illustration brings a warmth to our brand while being flexible, helpful and, most importantly, encouraging,”