Growing a brand, Feeding Futures
To align Sovena’s brand with its DNA, it’s reason to exist and its growing relevance for the ecosystem.
A brand that takes Sovena past a reflection of what it produces to one of what it really is. A clear purpose for everyone inside the organisation to embrace as their own.
Back in 2019, Sovena had outgrown its brand. Lacking in emotional value and detached from not only the organisation’s DNA, but from its scale, plurality and potential, it was time for an upgrade. Sovena has a unique capacity for adding value across its entire ecosystem, but needed to refocus on a north star or risk missing out on opportunities.
New questions arose: is it possible to find a strategy to complement Sovena’s maturity? Is it possible to potentialise historical expertise to fuel new growth? Is it possible to align their DNA with an increasingly complex global scenario while building relevance for clients, partners and employees? Yes, yes and yes.
Align Sovena’s vision with its DNA and new futures.
Redefine the brand’s core values, essence, beliefs, voice and, as a result, it’s new brand identity
To dive into the brand’s idiosyncrasies and historical milestones in order to create a clear strategy that both values the company’s history and its ambitions for the future, unveiling a moving, inspiring and engaging reason to be.
Grabbing a unique opportunity to transform the brand’s shyness into an inspiring backbone that collaborators, opinion leaders and consumers always suspected was there, but didn’t fully recognise behind the well-known consumer goods (Oliveira da Serra & Fula).
From Yesterday’s Breakfast to Tomorrow’s Dinner we structured different research moments (and meals) to fully immerse ourselves in Sovena’s world and to understand its growing aspirations. Surveys, creative workshops, field research, benchmarking and in-depth interviews were key to read stakeholders minds.
During an informal breakfast, several members of the Mello family taught us lessons about the history of the business. We went back to the birth of Companhia União Fabril (CUF), established in Barreiro by the industrialist Alfredo Silva in the late 19th century and managed by his descendants — including José Manuel de Mello — and learned about the company’s most memorable milestones. Despite the chemicals and cement that started it all, little by little edible fats became the group’s core specialisation.
We, of course, analysed competitors’ strategies and key messages, getting to know other agro-industrial giants. A key part of this project, however, was done in the field. We visited seductive olive groves and witnessed well-oiled factory facilities (in Spain and Portugal), and we made a “shopping list” of supermarkets to understand processes and Sovena’s place in the entire value chain.
Talking to people in Portugal, Spain, Brasil and the U.S.A., we heard lots of different perspectives from lots of different professionals. From heads of department to factory workers, from veterans to newcomers, everyone had important constructive comments about the business, the brand, and what makes Sovena unique.
An anonymous qualitative and quantitative survey delivered more than 200 answers, allowing us to measure opinions and perceptions from different geographies of the Sovena universe.
In the Positioning Sprint workshop, we were able to understand Sovena’s distinct place in relation to the competition. In our Fast Forward, collaborators became designers and shared their wildest visions and aspirations for the brand, prioritising what’s relevant for the world of tomorrow.
through an online survey
with key stakeholders
In Algés, Almada, Barreiro, Ferreira do Alentejo and Sevilla
After assessing the tangible aspects of the brand (through our Fast Forward) we began tiptoeing around known brand territories and then shifted to explore a broader idea. We were inspired by digging into the brand’s archives; uncovering forgotten imagery which allowed us to connect the past with a future that’s about more than sales.
When the brand culture, the emotional pragmatism, the dimension, the colours, the whole strategy and the new tagline – feeding futures – came together, we knew we had reached gold.
Brand values defined
Brand design proposals
New visual identity
The company’s mission is to add value to the food chain, with decisions that are both sustained and sustainable. Sovena pioneers new paths for all, planet Earth included, culminating in a commitment: After growing for over a century, it’s time to feed the next one.
From the old symbol – the O – to the new – the S – the brand opens possibilities, feeding not one, but several futures.
A bold move had to be made: abandoning the representation of the olive, which relates to a mono-product, and moving on to an image tied not to what Sovena produces but to what Sovena really is.
We helped the brand to pinpoint and evolve its beliefs, core values, essence, vision, culture and voice, resulting in a visual identity that’s aligned with Sovena’s natural curiosity for what’s next. As the new brand was embraced by its stakeholders, it not only inspired the design of a new cantina but also triggered several projects including the development of their innovation capabilities with the newly formed New Ventures and Sustainability structure and Oliveira da Serra and Fula rebrandings.
This whole process was the starting point of a brand that inspires people to move people forward, aiming to feed futures for another 200 years.