Best rebranding strategy 2015 Article icon


Ordnance Survey

Agency: Remarkable Content

With a history dating back to 1791, when it started life as a defence project to survey Britain’s countryside, Ordnance Survey needed to change the way it was viewed by staff and business partners to ensure that it was no longer seen as a company that produced paper maps but instead a modern, fast-moving information business.

Ordnance Survey was rebranded as OS after the organisation realised that it was best known by men aged over 55. In an effort to highlight its digital focus and iconic status, a new logo was created in which O and S feature above the brand name. Both letters are filled with sections of maps: the O shows the head office in Southampton while the S displayed a rural location in Yorkshire.

Agency Remarkable Content was commissioned to produce a film that improved brand understanding while reminding viewers of Ordnance Survey’s founding heritage and experience.

In the video, a presenter walks through time, using snapshots of the past to tell the 224 year story of OS, from its early origins when work began mapping southern Great Britain using a five mile baseline on Hounslow Heath, which covered more than 4,000 acres. The ‘walk’ brings OS up to date to demonstrate its high tech abilities.

Costumes and locations were selected carefully to represent milestones in OS’s history, and many of the extras were OS employees. But the running theme in each scene was the clever placement of OS’s logo, either on a book or a saucer. ‘As we’ve evolved, so our brand has evolved, a brand that represents our past, our heritage, our strengths and our future,’ says the presenter.

The film was ready for OS’s brand launch on 8 February.