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Top Business Identity Strategy = Tangible Benefits


News story- Zuru founders buy Dotcom mansion.


Overnight success?

The “overnight success” that Zuru Toys now enjoys is the spinoff from an excellent business identity strategy. It’s unusual for a small business from NZ to achieve this level of distinctiveness internationally. Many New Zealand businesses operate under generic brands in our protected marketplace, blissfully unaware of the problems they would strike on entry into larger markets. The founders of Zuru Toys were under no such illusion, and put together a formidable combination of some of the key elements of business identity as follows.


  1. Company name

What does the word ‘Zuru” remind you of ? Zuru appears to be a variation on the word “Ruru” – the name of the native New Zealand owl. This creates a subtle link to the safe, clean, green images associated with New Zealand.
This word is relatively easy for non-English speakers to pronounce and spell, especially true for Zuru’s Chinese markets with the use of pinyin (phonetic Chinese).


  1. Trade mark, trade name and domain name

These all reflect the company name, keeping things simple and uncomplicated. Securing registration of the trade mark in the company’s target territories is an essential part of protecting trading and domain names from predators.


  1. Look and feel

Zuru-zone_72-dpiThe look and feel of Zuru Toys’ products and imagery is more complex, but distinctive and consistent. The core elements are:

  • Artwork: a blue-based planetary theme is combined with references to the product range in bubbles, making it harder to confuse Zuru products with those of their competitors.
  • Product names: Bunch O Balloons, Robo Fish, Tsum Tsums, X-shot aren’t ground-breaking product names, but there is strength in their simple theme. Again, thought appears to have been given to ease of pronunciation by non-English speakers. Furthermore, the Zuru brand provides ever-present support on product packaging, as house mark and pedigree.
  • Typeface and font: The typeface and font is clear and easy to understand and read by the target audience.


  1. Strapline

Re-imagine Play, Everyday.

Straplines can sometimes be a distraction from the core business identity message. This one doesn’t seem to tie in with the “dumb but smart” feel of the rest of the branding. Also it may be challenging for the target market to understand. However, this apparent anomaly only goes to show how effective the rest of the company’s business identity strategy really is.


The bottom line

The tangible benefits of developing and executing a great business identity strategy are very clear in this case. Getting business identity right is not an option if you want to have a successful and profitable business, whether your plan is small and local, or big and international like Zuru Toys. Zuru’s annual revenues are now over USD500M or ten times 2013 turnover.

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