A ground-breaking brand for Hello Tractor
Hello Tractor is a technology company that makes fleet management for farming equipment easier and more profitable and helps farmers in rural Africa break ground with on-demand tractors.
I loved how Skyrocket made it clear for us: these are the segments, and that’s where you are in the world. The three positioning statements have had strategic implications that are foundational to our company.
Capturing the purpose of brands isn't easy – especially for an equity-creating tractor startup. But underneath that challenge lies some of our best branding work.
Jehiel Oliver’s story is not a conventional one. Rising through the ranks to become an accomplished financial analyst, he was nevertheless captivated by the desire to do more meaningful work, eventually switching to microfinancing and consulting to help marginalized communities around the world. Only after spending some time in Afghanistan and South-East Asia, he realized that even microlending institutions avoid people who need their support the most — farmers. Thus an idea for providing an easy access to tractors was born.
Together with a co-founder, Van Jones, Jehiel developed Smart Tractor, an affordable machine with a cloud connectivity. They called themselves Hello Tractor; they focused on Nigeria, a country with a large agricultural sector and critically low mechanization levels. Traditionally, Nigerian farmers have been hiring people from local communities to help cultivate the fields, but rapid urbanization led to fewer available workers and diminishing farmers’ incomes.
Enamoured with Jehiel’s stories, we wanted to infuse the sense of a strong community into Hello Tractor’s identity. Our designer, Arman, explored several directions with the notions of simplicity and playfulness, using vibrant orange hues that are deeply rooted in Nigerian culture. He managed to create a recognizable logo, abstract just enough to reflect the subtle tones of joy, and additionally emphasized it by the handwritten wordmark. All of the icons were drawn as one line to ensure a consistent pattern and wrapped in a speech bubble to show the communal and participatory nature of the brand.
As for the typography, Rooney seemed like an excellent conveyor of Hello Tractor’s ideals: very humanist, very approachable; while Avenir served as a great complement, legible enough for long-form use. Our words focused on positioning the company as an innovator with serious intentions — “Drive Change. Harvest Growth.” is the new tagline. To effectively spread the message, we separated value propositions for three key audiences: internal, diaspora and investors. As a result, Hello Tractor has a character. It’s friendly, vibrant, alive.
As for us, we are humbled by the opportunity to contribute to Hello Tractor’s mission. Since meeting Jehiel and Van earlier this year, we’ve realized that sometimes it takes just a handful of passionate and determined people to change the lives of many. A truly moving realization.
Header photo: A Maasai pastoralist checks his mobile phone in southern Kenya, by Sven Torfinn.