CJ ENM global brand positioning and visual identity refresh
The Korean entertainment giant CJ ENM – well known for producing the Oscar-winning film Parasite, launching KCON (the world’s largest celebration of Korean culture and music) and creating TV formats and dramas such as Show Me the Money and Crash Landing on You – appointed MMBP & Associates as its international branding partner in 2019. Supporting its expansion into the global market, MMBP & Associates developed and defined CJ ENM’s brand positioning, as well as its narrative and tone of voice, which included creating the company’s first tagline and refreshing its visual identity.
Found in Translation
The rise of streaming platforms has heralded a new golden age of content. Rapidly growing demand for it has led to an expansion and diversification in tastes and a more global outlook, especially in the US. Asian content, once considered niche or “exotic”, is being discovered and sought out by bigger and broader international audiences. Korean entertainment in particular is leading this change, producing new content whose appeal spans borders, generations and backgrounds, and is actively shaping the global mainstream.
Finding the familiar within the unfamiliar – and the thrill that comes with it
Long considered “exotic fare” by audiences in the West, Asian cinema was previously perceived to be limited to the pure fantasy of kung fu movies and historical epics. But then came a watershed moment: in 2020, Parasite, a Korean-language film, won four Oscars, including for best film and best director. This signalled a fundamental shift in tastes – the world is waking up to the treasures that can be found in translation. Audiences today are increasingly open to stories from other markets and platforms like Netflix no longer differentiate between what originates from Seoul, Istanbul or Hollywood. In this evolving cultural context, CJ ENM offers a remarkable opportunity for content partners and Western audiences alike. It has created something special in the Asian market and the time is ripe to export its approach to the world stage, cementing its position among the biggest producers in Hollywood. For audiences, CJ ENM offers the opportunity to discover the deeply human – and therefore something deeply familiar – amid what might at first seem unknown.
Untold speaks of the undiscovered – the stories created by CJ ENM that the world has yet to come upon – and of the incalculable, limitless potential unlocked by CJ ENM’s methods and approach. Originals here has a dual significance – it refers to something unique as well as creative. Taken together, Untold Originals describes the limitless stories and original experiences that exist to be discovered. It is the promise and potential that CJ ENM brings to new partners and audiences around the world.
VISUAL IDENTITY REFRESHED
MMBP & Associates transformed and codified the CJ ENM visual identity to resonate with international audiences and markets. The logo was refined and a system of brand patterns, glyphs and frames was created to bring clear and distinctive visual direction to the company’s print, digital, out-of-home and broadcast communication.
CJ ENM’s patterns act as a vibrant visual metaphor, expressing the ever-moving spirit captured by the brand’s logo, a blossom. Patterns act to complement the rest of the elements in the CJ ENM suite of graphics, for example a peekaboo inside an envelope or on the reverse of a business card. They are used in cases where the intention is to reinforce the visual impact of CJ ENM as a whole rather than highlight specific productions. This is why patterns are used to a greater extent on the company’s merchandising, such as its lanyards and tote bags, and on corporate stationery.
BRAND GLYPH SYSTEMS
These glyphs serve two purposes: they act as information graphics that help to organise (either as typographical symbols or punctuation marks) and they function as a distinctive and instantly recognisable graphic marque. Used in this way, they are an asset that furthers brand awareness.
MMBP & Associates created a series of communication materials to introduce CJ ENM to international markets, including print brochures and out-of-home posters, as well as trade-show visuals and digital advertising.
A luscious, gradient-soaked wave ripples into life, offering glimpses of overlapping light and colour, moving in a continuous forward motion until the logo appears at the crest of the final wave. Dancing around the main action are iridescent textures that slip and spin over the magic wave’s surface with controlled levels of choreographed chaos, enveloped in a lush glow and colour effects.
The sound culminates in a new and easily recognisable mnemonic for the logo reveal. The mnemonic itself is a shimmering clean celebration of the brand, punctuated by an open, clear tone that’s full of warmth. Plenty of space is included in the score to provide soft moments of suspense and drama, as well as very subtle arrangements to complement the rising crests of the wave.
Are you interested in learning more about Korean entertainment’s rapid global rise in popularity? Head to our Medium-based publication, Courant, to read creative polymath Kunyalala Ndlovu’s observations on the allure of K-dramas for Western audiences. Powered by MMBP & Associates, Courant is an editorial space for our partners, associates and talents to voice real-world analysis of societal shifts in culture, brands and creative ventures.