Building a Brand

A 60 year legacy with a 120 forward looking plan

The entity that eventually became the UK's national nuclear laboratory for nuclear fission had been around in one form or another since the 1950s - emerging from a budding civil nuclear industry in the UK.

By the time the industry (and country) had evolved to the point of needing a national lab, the 16,000 strong workforce of the mighty BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels plc) had largely been dispersed with the relatively small 800 people in it's R&D department, set off to one side, encouraged to find its own path or disband. The nuclear industry was stale and R&D spend had fallen year on year for decades.

The full story is too long to be told here but my role was developing and delivering (we were a Comms team of two) an internal and external engagement program to support the transformation of the business from an internal R&D department to a standalone commercial enterprise.

From a brand perspective, we went through what I would describe as a 'by the book' exercise, meaning we followed academic best practice. The executive team had defined the mission of the new business (essentially around supporting the rest of the UK nuclear industry both in terms of current operations and discovering new efficiencies) and our USP was very clearly the people we had (which has always included world-leading experts in several highly specialized subjects areas) and the facilities we operated: huge, highly-shielded radioactive laboratories. We understood our audiences - both internally and externally.

To develop the brand, we brought in a specialized creative agency and ran a series of workshops. These were primarily around helping people understand what a brand is, why it matters and how it could make a difference to the success or otherwise of our business. But these workshops were also used to develop the visual identity. It was clear that history and legacy was important and so you can see in the visual identities below, how we paid tribute to our past but developed something more modern and forward looking - quite literally with the arrowhead.

The BNFL logo was first used in the mid-1980s
The BNFL logo was first used in the mid-1980s
The new look Nexia Solutions logo
The new look Nexia Solutions logo

British Nuclear Fuels logo from the mid-1980s

Nexia Solutions emerged from the legacy of BNFL