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A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

Fifteen years ago we flew our first travellers to the White Continent. It was 2003 and since then we have been guiding adventurers and dreamers on their journey to Antarctica.
Since we pioneered the world’s first Antarctic Air-Cruise, our own journey has been an exciting process of constant evolution. And that evolution continues, as ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21, with a brand new logo, iconography and visual language.
The rebranding project was commissioned to Riolab, an international design company with of offices in Santiago, Mexico City and Berlin. We sat down with Maria José Monti, Riolab’s Project Director, for a conversation about the project.

Rebranding: An interview with Riolab

How does Riolab approach rebranding projects?

Rebranding is the process of renewing and reasserting the corporate image of an organization. In this context, “image” must be understood in a broad sense, beyond just the visual presentations. A successful rebranding project must emerge from the inside out. What’s visible on the outside, such as a new logo, new colours or new visual style, is the result of an internal transformation. In the case of ANTARCTICA XXI the evolution has been under way for the last 15 years. Our job has been to translate that evolution into concepts and visual assets that represent the values of the company and the experience it offers today.

What methodology did you use?

Before anything else, we needed to understand what ANTARCTICA XXI was. That meant research. A lot of research. We did a systematic review of the company’s material, like trip evaluation forms, employee surveys, press archive, social media channels, etc. We performed a review of how competitors communicate to the world. We talked to several ANTARCTICA XXI agent partners from different markets around the world. We also interviewed past travellers, and many team members. To understand and to feel the services provided by the company and to immerse ourselves in the ANTARCTICA XXI experience, a team from Riolab travelled on an Antarctic air-cruise. They collected a lot of information: pictures, videos, sound…but above all they brought back the inner feelings of the journey. All this information helped us understand the essence of the brand and only then could we start working on suggestions and proposals.

What did you find out with your research?

We discovered that ANTARCTICA XXI is a very consistent company. Although it has grown significantly in recent years, the company has managed to maintain focus on its core mission. You invented the Antarctic air-cruise model and you are recognized the world over as the expert and specialist in this field. That is huge. Your market, both trade partners and travellers, understand clearly what the product’s main attributes and advantages are. So does everyone in the organization. You express those attributes and advantages with consistency throughout your communication channels and during the travel experience itself.

We also discovered that ANTARCTICA XXI does not offer “cruises” in the sense of the traditional leisure experience at sea, with the midnight buffet, casino, shows, etc. While the quality and the comfort of the travel experience often exceed the expectations of travellers, there is virtually no connection to the world of pleasure cruising. ANTARCTICA XXI is about adventure and discovery. It provides a fresh bowl of emotions that sometimes guests cannot explain with words. The emotional intensity felt by travellers is surprising to them. Sometimes it overwhelms them.

What key concepts define ANTARCTICA XXI?

ANTARCTICA XXI has strong corporate values that communicate confidence and reliability at every step of the traveller’s experience. We outlined seven key values to build the foundation of the new brand:

– Guest centric service: The client is always put at the center of all decisions.
– Expertise: No one knows Antarctic air-cruises better than you. You invented it. You don’t do anything else.
– Transparency and honesty: You are straightforward and accountable. In all your interactions, you act with openness and responsibility.
– Flexibility: Another major asset as you are constantly adapting to the changing Antarctic conditions and the requirements of your customers.
– Reliability and safety: You manage uncertainty and nothing is improvised. Safety is always the primary consideration.
– Customer-led innovation: The Antarctic air-cruise model was an innovation born out of empathy for the discomfort felt by travellers that crossed the stormy Drake Passage.
– Team and family spirit: The company thinks and acts as a family. Everyone contributes with dedication. Every voice is listened to with respect.

What are the main changes of the new visual identity?

We decided to say goodbye to “XXI”. When the company was launched in the early 2000s, the idea referred to the 21st Century, then the “new” century. However, most speakers of non-Latin languages can’t really understand what those letters are or stand for. Moreover, the Roman numerals recalled antiquity, which is not a concept related to the brand. That’s why we suggested “21”, an approach that is more readable to everyone. In this new visual identity, the mountain in the logo disappears. In its place we have developed a series of iceberg shapes. They provide a new iconography that can be integrated in many creative and flexible ways to give the brand a singular visual language.

See some highlights of the new brand here.