The brand workshop

How a company reinvented itself: an interview from the red-pink heart of CWS.

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23 April 2019

It's all new at CWS: The amalgamation of CWS-boco, Initial, Micronclean, Mattab, Teuto and an array of other brands in April 2019 resulted in the new CWS – the new, shared, international brand for B2B services in a wide range of different sectors such as fire safety, cleanrooms, workwear and washroom hygiene. That was the starting point for the vibrant red and pink design, which provides for a clear overview by using separate colours for each solution that we offer our customers. So why CWS? And why pink? Maren Otte, Laura Plischke, Astrid Wozniak and Michael Stielow reported directly from the heart of the new brand: the Brand Team.

One question in advance: Why did we need a new brand at all?

Maren Otte: A lot has happened at CWS over these last 18 months. The joint venture between CWS-boco and Initial laid the foundations for our future. Together, we have forged a new strategy as well as a new vision and developed into a system provider. Our business offers different solutions from fire safety to cleanrooms – but everything shares a common core: CWS. Clean. Well.Safe. We wanted to bring all these solutions together under one roof.


Why choose CWS – and not Initial, boco or something completely new?

Laura Plischke: The first step in the brand project to was to take stock of the situation: all in all, there were almost 20 different brands in the CWS-boco and Initial world! We looked closely at every brand: What did it stand for? What benefit did if offer the customer? We soon realised: we want a strong, shared brand. We want to show the outside world that we are one.

Michael Stielow: The second question was then: which brand should we choose? We conducted a thorough check and looked especially closely at the three largest brands: CWS, boco and Initial.  It was by no means an easy decision. Nevertheless, in the end, we determined that CWS was known internationally and can be used in all countries without any restrictions. That was not the case for boco and Initial, for example.

Das Markenteam bei CWS: Maren Otte, Michael Stielow, Astrid Wozniak, Laura Plischke (v.l.)

The CWS Brand Team: Dr. Maren Otte, Michael Stielow, Astrid Wozniak, Laura Plischke (left to right)

How did the pink look come about?

Astrid Wozniak:  We wanted the new logo to show that the CWS brand enjoys a long tradition, but is also “new” – and more than “just” washrooms. As such, it was clear that the classic CWS red should remain part of the logo, but we wanted to reinterpret it and wanted something that would wow people and that really catches the eye. After all, no one has ever stood out from the crowd with an understated shade of blue.

Maren Otte: We didn’t want to be classic, average or standard. The basic element is red. But we are eager to push the envelope now and in the future. And the pink is the perfect vessel for this.

Astrid Wozniak: When we started thinking about how to design the new look, our focus was on our customers: we wanted to include an indicator which leads quickly to the desired destination. For this reason, each solution area got its own colour.

Michael Stielow: For example, workwear is yellow: the colour of high-visibility protective clothing that stands out on the label. That is easily remembered and recognised. In contrast, hygiene is blue: clean and relaxed just like our washrooms. And so evolved the colourful world of CWS with pink as the interdisciplinary element and the different shades for our different services.


Introducing a new brand is no mean feat. How did you do it?

Laura Plischke: Well, one thing was clear: With 16 countries, 11,000 employees and hundreds of service vehicles, it was not simply a case of clicking your fingers and everything suddenly being pink. The CWS world will unfurl and develop step by step.

Astrid Wozniak: The points of contact where our customers experience our brand were targeted first. For example, many of our service vehicles are already on the road sporting our new design and the website also went live on time.

Maren Otte: Countless people have been and still are engaged in this mammoth task. Every division, every region, every country – everyone pulled together and worked as one. That was proof in itself that our brand strategy was the right choice: one team, one brand.