Sanergy recently selected Fresh Life as the local brand name for our toilet, and we designed a logo to accompany the name. In this process, Sanergy designer Nathan Cooke shifted his focus from designing the Sanergy sanitation center to designing its name and logo. Nathan explains the philosophy and process he applied in developing the new brand identity.

The Fresh Life Toilet

To come up with the localized product brand name and logo, Fresh Life, Sanergy took our research to the people, because it is important to design with people rather than for them. We came to Kenya with an idea, but it will only succeed if people here believe in that idea as much as we do. The Sanergy name and logo that worked for us while at MIT will not have the same effect here.

At its heart, the process required us to find out what names and ideas resonated with our potential customers in the slums of Nairobi; particularly in the locations of our expanded pilot: Lunga Lunga, Mukuru Kwa Njenga, and Mukuru Kwa Ruben. In our initial positioning research, people made very clear that they valued cleanliness above all else in a toilet and their overall sanitation experience. Over and over again, people told us our brand name must communicate that cleanliness.

Lots of ideas, lots of reiterating

Sanergy went in looking for more than just a name for a toilet, though, and in the course of surveying I was lucky enough to have conversations with residents about their beliefs and aspirations as well. I talked to a musician, that when he heard the term Fresh Life, thought of a song he wrote “Ingekuwaje ni lose hope” (“How will it be when I lose hope?”).  He was part of a group of youths that had started to think about their fundamental rights as humans, and how a Fresh Life represented more justice in the slums. When looking at some of the imagery, people saw the sun as something positive, shining its rays upon people. One man was reminded of the early morning, and thought of looking upon the world with fresh eyes. Lastly, it resonated with many people that the sun neglected no one, and shines light equally upon all.

The New Logo

The feedback from the community helped very much to shape the new face of Sanergy. I hope we can have an equally positive effect on them in the coming months.