Brand Strategy Case Studies
You do branding to get more people, to buy more stuff, for more years, at a higher price.
When Steton approached us to rename and rebrand their corporate compliance and risk management software company we knew we had to create a brand as fresh and innovative as their problem solving. The name RizePoint was chosen to convey the company’s ability to elevate their client’s businesses through their software. We then took RizePoint through the entirety of our d5 process, distilling their passion and intelligence into the spark logo mark. We created a brand book, laying out color palettes, typographic treatments, and use of imagery within the company. In addition we created a set of icons to be used within their software and website skinning for their homepage.
For more RizePoint work, see also Brand Identities.
It’s not easy being green, but that doesn’t stop the builders at Ascent Construction from facing the challenge and becoming a leader in green construction. In taking Ascent through the d5 process we wanted to understand not only how they became such dedicated innovators, but WHY. The process lead to a brand refresh and a logo redesign. We took the colors and concept of Ascent’s previous hand-drawn mountain logo while modernizing the mountain symbol to a more current, edgy design. We then created a brand identity to reflect the fresh logo, creating a business system and messaging to reflect the citizen archetype we discovered in the d2 phase. The project wrapped up with a website revamp, reorganizing their site to optimize navigation and usability while applying the new brand identity.
For more Ascent Construction work, see also Web.
It’s easy to be intimidated by smart guys from Harvard and the like, but the partners at Signal Peak Ventures are personable and professional. We took the venture capital firm through our Perception Branding 5d Process. That’s where we came up with the line on their website that promises “an ego absent interaction”. It’s also how we decided to feature the entrepreneurs who Signal Peak trusts with capital funding. We sent a photographer to the offices of four entrepreneurs to help tell the story of the investment from Signal Peak Ventures. The website we designed and built around these concepts is simple, modern and to the point. Launched earlier this month, the website is responsive on any device. We also helped with a brand refresh and re-designed stationery and business cards.
For more Signal Peak work, see also Web.
Bear River Mutual
No matter how great it is, 100 years is a long time to hang on to your trademark. Bear River Mutual Insurance Company was founded in 1909 and their logo hasn’t really changed since. There is nostalgic charm about the old logo that can’t be denied, but try putting the logo on a pen, embroider it on a shirt, or even recognize it from a distance. We took Bear River through our Perception Branding 5d process, determined the appropriate brand strategy, and created the brand identity that supports it. The logo retains elements from the original design, including the general feel of its century-old predecessor. We’re working on Bear River’s Web site now.
Peterson Wealth Advisors
Statisticians are now telling us we may live in retirement for 30 years. What they don’t tell us is how to make our savings last for three decades. Peterson Wealth Advisors has a plan: The Perennial Income Model. And we helped Peterson bring it to life. We accomplished a complete strategic and creative overhaul for the Orem, Utah based company in record time.
We first took Peterson through the Perception Branding 5D Process, building a foundation of understanding—before creating anything. The business name was modified and the retirement model was given a name and logo.
The identity was incorporated into the design of stationery, business cards, a new website and video. Foil stamping the logo on the business card enhanced the attraction to the newly designed bristlecone image. The website introduces the team, the investment approach and describes services.
If you need help with Microsoft Office, Corel WordPerfect, Novell Groupwise, or other common applications, what do you do? Call our client BrainStorm. The 14 year-old company reaches out internationally from its Utah county home, with software training products and services designed for the end-user.
For more BrainStorm work, see also Brand Identity.
Using our proprietary Perception Branding 5d process, we built a foundation of understanding that shifted the BrainStorm brand experience.
When we examined the company culture, it became clear that there was a disconnect between why they were successful vs. the image that they projected. In interviews we learned about the company’s fun atmosphere, witnessing effective “people-based” training using humor. We also learned about the extraordinary commitment to keeping the customer satisfied. None of that came across in their previous dreary identity and Web site. We proposed a new identity based around a very non-stuffy logo and a strong yellow-gold color, which is psychologically associated with pleasant feelings.
When MHTN Architects, one of the largest architectural firms in the state, approached us about redesigning their identity, we had some hesitation. Their 20 year-old logo was designed by a now retired, but highly respected local designer — and we liked it.
In d1: Discover, the first step in our 5d Perception Branding process, we like to interview the client’s customers. Our interviews made it clear that MHTN was well known for their professionalism and project management prowess. Yet despite talented “design” principals and winning prestigious design awards, MHTN still had a hard time overcoming their old reputation as a non-“design” firm.
The culmination of the strategic phase of our 5d process is d3: Depict. In an image and adjective exercise, we present 50-60 images and up to 100 adjectives and ask which ones “feel” like the brand. The resulting Brand Concept Board, approved by MHTN, showed that the architectural firm had changed. The 50 year-old company was now led by partners with different values.
For more MHTN Architects work, see also Brand Identity.
The trick: to signal a change through a new identity, while maintaining the values long associated with MHTN. We recommended the identity be progressive without feeling “edgy” or trendy. While it should reflect change in the firm, it shouldn’t be a drastic leap from the previous mark. We developed several options; each designed to maintain visual equity. In addition, we wrote a new tagline, “Vision Made Real”, adopted new color and typography standards, and applied it all to the corporate papers and signage.
“Each meeting was like sitting down to an exciting, elegant meal. First, a sampling, where experienced advice guided us through several tastings. After narrowing our palette, each course was artistically revealed. We felt the process was also our own—the mark of true design professionalism.”
— Peggy McDonough, Design Principal, MHTN Architects
Companies change—sometimes in big ways. And if you’re not innovating and changing you’re falling behind. UCN started out as Buyers United, a reseller of long-distance services, which became United Carrier Networks, which became UCN. That’s when we met them. We were engaged to help with yet another change. The company had become something quite different. Long-distance telephone services today are just another commodity. UCN, recognizing the need to innovate, has developed a new product approach that delivers software for call centers over the Internet. The application delivery model, known as “Software as a Service”, provides significant scalability and deployment options compared to typical on-site call center software/hardware.
For more inContact work, see also Brand Identity.
We used our Perception Branding 5d Process to determine the brand strategy and then used the strategy to inform the execution of a new identity and name change.
We interviewed everybody from the President to the Chief Technology Officer, as well as independent industry analysts and clients. We audited existing marketing materials and their competition’s materials as well. Their company name had no significance to the target audience and suffered from low memorability, as do all companies who use initials. The look and feel appeared sports related.
Together with ideas from the marketing department, new taglines were proposed. An image and adjective brainstorm sought visual and verbal ways to describe the brand. With the research completed, we sifted, sorted and segmented the information to determine the Brand Promise, the target’s “take away” after engaging with the brand.
The Brand Concept Board is a visual depiction of the brand. Together with the Brand Brief, a summation of findings and recommendations, they serve as a litmus test against which design deliverables are measured.
We presented five different conceptual directions for the new company logo and name. The preferred logo direction is based on the idea that real humans man call centers; speaking and communicating, the essence of what customer service is about. The new company name, inContact, reflects the name of the company’s product platform, already familiar to their customers. We’re now working on D5-Deploy, making the new identity and strategy a reality in all the customer touchpoints.
The logo we created was based on the idea that real humans man call centers; speaking and communicating, the essence of what customer service is about. The new company name, inContact, reflects the name of the company’s product platform, already familiar to their customers. We designed stationery material as well as a pocket folder, and developed both printed and online Identity Standards.
In Weber County, the 50-year old Ogden Clinic is a proud association with 60 different medical providers in six facilities located throughout the area. The clinic is owned by the very physicians that provide the care, who also live and work where they serve. That notion distinguishes Ogden Clinic, and deservedly needs to be reflected in their brand.
For more Ogden Clinic work, see also Web.
We used our Perception Branding 5d process to determine the brand strategy which informed the execution of a new identity, ads and new Web site.
Although a respected and recognized institution in the Weber area, Ogden Clinic felt that they were often confused with a larger, and more widely known competitor, Intermountain Healthcare. It was felt that something needed to be done to strongly differentiate themselves from Intermountain. Much of the problem was that no strong, central message had ever emerged to set them apart. In addition, the identity was dated and desperately needed a refresh.
Along with competitive research and interviews with staff, we commissioned Dan Jones & Associates to conduct a survey of Weber County residents, to help us get a feel of the pulse of the community with respect to Ogden Clinic. Regarding the perceived confusion with Intermountain Healthcare—we discovered it was not an issue. We also learned Ogden Clinic is a household name in Weber County, with 100% of those polled having heard of Ogden Clinic, and 32% being very familiar.
Although Ogden Clinic is embedded in the community, the Clinic did very little to make the public aware of its involvement and support, and to cultivate its image of a locally owned institution, invested in its community.
The Brand Concept Board is a visual depiction of the brand. Together with the Brand Brief, which is a summary of findings and recommendations, they serve as a litmus test against which design deliverables are measured.
Ogden Clinic’s brand personality is Approachable, Caring, Compassionate, Passionate, and Personal. They are invested in the community, and are conscientious neighbors.
Imagery should be friendly, and have a feeling of life and vitality. People should be prominent, and we felt it was important to use images of real Weber County residents, rather than models or stock photography. Use of images of involvement in community events are encouraged.
We developed several design solutions for the identity, each focusing on some aspect of our research conclusions. In the end, the Clinic overwhelmingly supported the identity shown here. The symbol represents an “O”, helping viewers associate the mark with Ogden Clinic. The identity system was built around the symbol, using overlapping, flowing green shapes to exude a feeling of life and vitality viewers could associate with the Ogden Clinic brand.
We found in our research with community members, that while 100% of those polled were familiar with Ogden Clinic, the majority could not recall the logo. Existing Clinic signage failed to brand the facilities and only identified the neighborhood in which it resided. We designed the symbol to make it clearly legible, even on signage.
The Ogden Clinic Web site is an important piece of the Ogden Clinic brand experience. Visually, the Web site carries the identity throughout. The home page is not only utilitarian–offering various helpful services to visitors–but also strongly communicates the Ogden Clinic brand message by highlighting their involvement in the community, and displaying health and clinic news items. The site creates a resource for the community by incorporating large, easily searchable libraries of health-related content. The site was built dynamically to allow cross-linking, i.e. if a viewer is researching a topic like tendonitis then Ogden Clinic orthopedic providers would be referenced along side the articles. The site also creates a personalized area for patients to login, make appointments, contact providers, and check medical history.
School Improvement Network
School Improvement Network was founded by two teachers, and offers comprehensive professional development solutions for administrators and teachers in K-12 schools. School Improvement Network wanted us to help them unify their increasingly disparate brand. With the recent launch and initial success of a flagship product which bundled the other products together into one on-demand platform, this seemed like the optimal time to re-tool the brand. While the old brand felt dated and somewhat provincial, the new brand was to reflect the technological advances made in recent years, and bring the brand up-to-date.
Despite School Improvement Network’s powerful story and the superiority of the products, marketing and branding was not as “on-message” as it could have been. In fact, so many messages competed for attention that any single message was lost and diluted in the mix.
The identity was dated, and did not communicate the advanced nature of the flagship product, PD 360.
Because of immense pressure to increase student achievement, certain topics are extremely relevant and important to districts. By being “out in the trenches,” School Improvement Network is clued into these “hot” topics and covers them extensively. Additionally, the expert consultants featured in their programs are so widely respected that often, district representatives would become interested in the product after only hearing mention of their name. These vital messages were not communicated adequately in marketing material.
Additionally, the company was founded by two teachers who sought to teach better. The inspiring story of the company could be a powerful way of gaining the trust of educators, yet it was all but non-existent in any marketing materials.
In cooperation with School Improvement Network’s upper management team, we developed a Brand Concept Board which conveys the overall feeling of the brand through words, imagery, and color. This board acts as a “litmus test” against which all outgoing branded materials can be compared, to assure they are on-target.
School Improvement Network’s brand personality is dedicated, friendly, passionate, progressive, yet smart and sensible. They are experts and are empowering, innovative, and responsive. They are visionary, yet practical. Visuals should recognize these attributes and should feel positive and warm, while featuring the end-beneficiary of all they do: kids.
We showed several identity proposals to School Improvement Network, two of which used a shortened version the name, based on what the company is often referred to internally as well as by some clients. Both of these options also dropped the apple symbol. The third utilizes a revised, updated apple symbol, and was the logo they eventually chose.
When we were first approached about Touchstone Essentials it was just an idea—not even a name. We helped bring the idea to life.
We assembled and managed internal and external teams to create what was for us, a record setting amount of work in the allotted time. Everything we designed was based on the strategy component of our 5d process. We approached it all with a handmade, natural feeling, with many flowing illustrations. Stock photos of couples and their luxury cars would never fit the Touchstone brand. The launch in January 2012 generated a significant reaction and signups demonstrate likelihood for long-term success.
The Touchstone Essentials product labels and packaging continue a theme initiated with the design of the logo. The “tail” of the logo often turns into illustrative elements that amplify the qualities identified in the brand strategy. The amber colored glass bottles and label are transparent, emphasizing the tagline, “The Good Inside.” Hand lettering conveys visually and verbally the same messages on the protective packaging.
The products, which are the driving force in the success of Touchstone Essentials, are truly whole food nutrition, harvested right from the earth. To emphasize that, we shot photos of the raw fruits and vegetables that comprise the supplements. Connecting with interest in sustainable, local farming, we combined photos with hand lettering and illustrations to capture a distinctive difference from others in the MLM industry.