Our work for the Irish Stock Exchange

Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) services include listing debt, company shares and funds. At the time of our project ISE was authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland to operate three securities markets—the Main Securities Market (MSM), the Enterprise Securities Market (ESM) and the Global Exchange Market (GEM). In addition the ISE has a regulatory role in implementing European directives and setting listing requirements for issuers of securities. 

Research indicated varied and differing stakeholder perception of ISE’s brands—probably exacerbated by the profusion of brand and sub-brands then in use. The challenge was to establish a single, strong and universally respected brand grounded in a clear brand vision that would draw together all of ISE’s activities.

We began by clarifying and defining ISE’s vision, strategic objectives, values, principles, desired messages and positioning—and what all of these mean for the brand identity and naming structure.

We considered the impact of equity in the existing one hundred year old brand, and the interplay between the ethos and traditions of ISE and the needs of brand building in today’s competitive and cluttered communications environment.

We reviewed the existing identity structure and considered possible future sub brand or product identification architecture. We also reviewed international peer brands and possible ISE positioning relative to these. 

ISE Irish Stock Exchange brand, corporate identity, brand architecture, brand consultant, Martin Crotty, BFK brand

We then created a comprehensive brand identity system for the Exchange, which was designed to support identified key strategic objectives.

We renamed the ISE’s three markets and rationalised the previously disparate sub brands under a unified brand architecture. The markets’ new identities now strongly associate them with each other and with their parent, thus better communicating the breadth of the full ISE offering.

Irish Stock Exchange brand, brand identity, corporate brand, brand architecture, brand consultant, Martin Crotty, BFK brand

The centrepiece of the new brand identity system is our updated brand mark that presents a modern face for an organisation with over one hundred years of history. 

We also created a comprehensive suite of over eighty digital documents and forms. All of the various forms used by ISE clients now share common layout conventions, consistent structures and visual appearance. We enhanced the implementation of this suite of documents with on-site training for the relevant ISE personnel, giving them confident ownership of the digital assets they will be managing.

We wrote and produced detailed brand management guidelines that record all of the branding decisions taken and give guidance on how to implement the ISE brand identity system for the future.

The ISE brand identity was recognised with a Merit Award in the 2011 Rebrand 100 Global Awards.

BFK understood the complex strategic issues at the heart of our branding brief and distilled those into a powerful, consistent and flexible identity system that equips us to deliver greater consistency in all of our interactions with our customers and stakeholders, and facilitates our business development objectives.
— Daryl Byrne, Head of Strategy Planning & Brand, ISE

European Wholesale Securities Market

Subsequent to its own rebranding the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) entered into a joint venture with the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) to establish a new EU regulated, wholesale, fixed income market. 

The vision for the market was that it was to be European in nature and targeted at issuers, lawyers and arrangers involved in international wholesale debt markets. We developed an international brand for this new market, with a truly European character rather than being aligned with the existing ISE or MSE brand identity systems.

We worked with the ISE to name the new market. Given the nature of this niche market and its target audience, the name needed to be descriptive rather than evocative. We explored a detailed matrix of name variations to arrive at the most credible and accurate name: European Wholesale Securities Market (EWSM).

We went on to create the full EWSM brand identity. It was agreed that this could not be aligned with the visual conventions of any one country: neither Irish nor Maltese and, while European in nature, it was not appropriate to use the ubiquitous blue or stars of the European Union. Our recommendation was a simple and elegant corporate-style brand identity incorporating a strong stylised red ‘E’ symbol paired with contemporary typographic treatment.

Brand identity, Malta brand, Securities market brand, European brand, Stock exchange brand, brand consultant, Martin Crotty, BFK brand

Online Solution

The EWSM marketing plan envisaged direct one-to-one engagement with target customers so the key expression of the EWSM brand is its website.  We researched and recommended the most appropriate look and feel. We worked with the web providers on wire-framing the web site and on online visual expressions of the brand identity. Our design concepts and thinking informed the structure and development of the final web site.

Having worked with BFK on the re-branding of the Irish Stock Exchange in 2010, we were very happy to work with BFK again in creating a branding strategy for the new European Wholesale Securities Market. Always professional, their creative input was invaluable and ensured that we delivered a clear, fresh corporate identity and website, consistent with the business objectives of the new market.
— Ailish Byrne, Head of Public Affairs and Communications for Irish Stock Exchange