A.T. Kearney drops founder's initials as part of global rebranding

29 January 2020 Consultancy-me.com

One of the world’s oldest strategy and management consultancies has started the new decade with a fresh look and name: A.T. Kearney now known simply as Kearney.

Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney has rebranded to Kearney following a comprehensive review and consequent update to its image – with the 80 year-old firm keen to focus attention on its current personnel and contemporary identity. Founded by Andrew Thomas Kearney (hence the A.T.) in Chicago in 1939 on his break from McKinsey, the consultancy today operates in more than 40 countries worldwide, including through offices in the UAE, KSA and Qatar.

“This brand refresh really puts the spotlight on our people as we work together with key stakeholders to create what’s next in this region,” said Kearney’s Middle East & Africa boss Bob Willen, who has witnesses a quarter century of change at the firm. “Consultants play a key role in shaping the future of the public and private sectors, particularly in this region with national transformations underway aspiring to be progressive, innovative and forward-looking.”

As a further effort to emphasise its employees as being at the centre of the firm’s identity, the firm along with its new name has made the move to eliminate stock photography – intending to entirely ‘crowdsource’ it imagery from within, “showcasing their individual perspectives” from Kearney colleagues around the world. Already, in just the last three months of the year, the firm has collected over 10,000 original photographs form its employees across the globe.

“The most exciting aspect of our new brand is that it so accurately captures our voice,” said Kearney Chairman and Global Managing Partner Alex Liu. “Our firm is refreshingly real, relatable, and original. To that end, we are also eliminating industry jargon. Kearney people are always themselves. We speak plainly, listen closely, and build great working relationships. We take joy in each other, and in every success achieved side by side with our clients.”

Beyond just the new imagery and name, the firm has also introduced a new word-mark and palette, replacing the brownish-red and majority lower-case ‘ATKearney’ with upper-case block letters in a ‘sophisticated and timeless’ slate, while adding a bright purple accent for wider use. “The result is a unique, contemporary, and ownable design system that’s full of personality and appeals to the next generation,” said a designer with Siegel+Gale engaged for the project.

Despite the fresh focus on its contemporary operations, the firm hasn’t forgotten the values instilled in its past. “For decades, our brand was centered primarily around our heritage, in which we take extraordinary pride,” said Kearney CMO Abby Klanecky. “While showcasing our firm’s family name demonstrates that we remain true to our origins, our updated name, brand voice, and visual identity are more concise and personal, embracing who we are today.”

According to an interview with a senior strategy director at Siegel+Gale, the engagement didn’t in fact begin as an intended rebrand – but it does follow closely on the heels of the world’s two biggest management consulting firms; McKinsey & Company, which updated to better reflect the digital era, and Boston Consulting Group, which similar to Kearney dropped the ‘The’ from its name. Another leading consultancy, Oliver Wyman, has also started the year with a new look.


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