Rebranding a business with a purpose

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The city of the future is in the making

Academic business

Ylva is a conglomerate with their business-focus on real estate and financial investments along with the hotel and restaurant sector. The company is owned by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, meaning that their profits go to the common good of nearly 30,000 students.

The business has had a long and honourable history, but it was the time to bring it to the next level. They were about to launch several new and exciting initiatives and needed their brand to match this new level of ambition. In 2018, the company contacted Kuudes to help them with this mission. 

Mission-led brand strategy

Prior to the revamp, the company’s brand relied heavily on their owner, the student union HYY. Thewere even called HYY Group, and new name was decided when the rebranding process was already underway. We needed to build a solid brand strategy that would create the foundation for Ylva’s own raison d’être, a new narrative that all units from real estates to restaurants could embrace.

That foundation is Ylva’s visionary approach to urban development and their long-term attitude to business with an exceptional timespan of 150 years. The future is built in cities, and they want to be forerunners in shaping the smart and sustainable urban life. While others calculate the immediate profits, Ylva is already developing the Helsinki of the day after tomorrow. Uncompromising sustainability is in the core of the new brand, with the word sivistys (Finnish for education, culture and sophistication) being the guiding light. What could be more spot-on for a student-owned business?

It’s all a matter of perspective

The identity is in perfect sync with the strategy. The colours and the textures represent the urban good life where nature and buildings, the green and the grey, live harmoniously side by side. The photography by Kristo Vedenoja plays with different perspectives: close details and shots taken from above show Ylva’s properties and other familiar locations in a new light. The identity works in all channels – building the brand for a smart, ambitious, and confident company.  

UniCafe – lunch with a purpose

Alongside the project, we updated the identity of UniCafe, a restaurant chain owned by Ylva. They are famous for serving sustainable meals with prices suited for a student’s budget. The new look is based on the identity of the mother company – but with a twist. Darker colours, a robust illustration style, and an appetising imagery give UniCafe their own look-and-feel, perfect for a value-driven restaurateur making a change with every bite.

For more information:

Matti Lehto
Head of Strategy