Posts tagged branding
Brand's Role in the Purchase Process: Living Stage (1/4)

The idea that needs trigger purchase behavior has been around since the advent of marketing studies. But today brands play a larger role in our lives – whether they become part of our daily entertainment, our educator, or as a vehicle for social change that appeals to our greatest aspirations. These are just a few examples that encapsulate the relationship we currently have with brands. We can further break down the role of  brand into what Wharton Professor, Barbara Khan, outlines as the four stages of the customer journey - Living, Planning, Shopping, and Experience. In this article we will examine the first stage, the living stage. 

The Living Stage (Part 1 of 4)

People go about their daily lives and when a need is triggered, they either look to available solutions, or begin researching into possible options. I’m at home and feel hungry, I can either go to the fridge or look to other options: delivery, dining out etc. What if I’m a new city? I may look up options on a rating app, or ask a friend who lives nearby. Sometimes, however, the trigger comes not from need, but by the marketplace: a new 360 camera is released and it’s features far surpass what’s currently available. The trigger may also come from a brand as they announce the launch of a completely new product in the market, or expand the options within their product category. What’s certain, is that your brand must fall into the consideration set when these needs are triggered. To fall into that set, you have to have visibility and a message that cuts through the clutter. Our team can help. 

Types of triggers:

  • Change of life status (marriage, baby, moving to new city)
  • Market (product announcement, sale)
  • Influencers (fashion, industry, celebrities, friends)
  • Need (your car breaks down, hungry, etc)
  • A brand introduces new possibilities within a product category (ipads, new flavor ice cream, virtual reality)

Things to consider:

  • Being at the right place at the right time
  • Leveraging positive emotional queues
  • Differentiated marketing stimuli
  • Being bold without being wreckless
  • How to test marketing messages  
  • Micro-moments when potential customers turn to their mobile device for solutions.

Questions to ask your team:

  • What are the triggers associated with our product? 
  • What are the intention-filled micro-moments throughout the day that could facilitate behavior toward purchase?
  • Is our creative triggering demand? How can we test it in real market conditions?
  • Is there data missing from our analysis? 

Are you leaving money on the table? Missing opportunities to connect with potential customers or donors? Let's talk. 

Marlonbranding, marketing
Immigrant Heritage Month: Your Story is Part of the American Story

As designers, we enjoy leaving our comfort zones on a regular basis, working with subject matter that requires a fair amount of research and familiarizing. The more we depart from the familiar, the more we realize that true innovation comes from leaving one's comfort zone. That's why, when we work on something that feels personal to us, our first challenge is to push ourselves into a space that is less familiar, in order to gain perspective and heighten our creativity.

Recently, we had the incredible opportunity to work with to design the branding for Immigrant Heritage Month (IHM).  As Americans, the subject matter felt comfortable to us. All of us have an American immigration story or are immigrants ourselves. We're familiar with the concept of celebrating our diversity and highlighting what is unique about our own cultures and traditions. Although we wanted these experiences to inform our creation of the visual identity and brand voice for IHM, the concept of celebrating our differences was only a starting point. had initially stressed the concept of a uniquely American identity that derives its character from the interaction between all of the different cultures we bring to this country. Our goal was to work in this space, creating a brand identity that doesn't just celebrate our differences, but also highlights what we have in common— the unique culture that comes from sharing our experience and traditions with one another. 

To put this concept into action, audience participation and storytelling needed to become central components in the IHM campaign. Hearing each other's stories and learning from one another is what creates our shared American heritage. In order to reflect this in the design of for IHM, we made storytelling and the concept of a shared American experience the focus of the homepage. When readers enter, they will find a statement that explains this central idea,  a prompt to share their own story, and the stories and photos  of others who have shared. In order to really create the feeling of a shared identity, participation is essential. That's why we made the prompt for readers to share their own stories a fixture on the navigation bar, using bold typeface and color to draw attention to it

To capture the celebratory nature of and draw attention to the strength and character created by America's immigrants, we created both a vibrant color palate and an animated logo in which the typography animates into confetti.  Our goal here was to create a logo that would reflect the energy and vibrancy of the American immigrant community as well as appeal to all age groups participating in IHM.  We also emphasize celebration and inclusiveness through the website's copy, which is meant to be uplifting and encourage readers to share their experiences through social media.  

To kick off our own celebration and participation in IHM, we also went through the process of putting together our own American stories. Look out for them on our Facebook page this week and next, and be sure to participate in IHM on social media by sharing your story with #IHM2015.

Click here to share you story, and here to see the stories on! 

Capturing Vibrancy through Design: PMCA

We recently had the privilege of working with the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) on their brand identity and website. Most of our staff had already been fans of this museum that features only California artists and designers in order to explore culture, influences, and issues that are unique to California. Having explored PMCA a little on our own, we knew they had already had a fresh, vibrant personality that should easily translate into a strong brand.

However, PMCA's personality  was not reflected in their website, which was nonresponsive, difficult to navigate, and hardly displayed any of the art and design featured in their exhibits. Because of this, PMCA’s website was causing potential new members to leave the site and lose interest. In order to resolve this, we first had to look closely at the needs of their current and desired membership and work to create a brand identity that both served this audience and mirrored the energy of PMCA’s exhibits.

Part of PMCA’s appeal is that it doesn’t have a permanent collection; rotating exhibits keeps the museum dynamic and fresh. In order to reflect this, we created a logo that acts as a frame— its thicker font allows the artwork they’re currently exhibiting to show through. In the website itself, we created custom headers for each page, which incorporates the logo and a large paneled photograph that both relates to the page content and features the artwork currently on display. This way, we let their exhibits speak for themselves without letting the navigation or additional design elements interfere.

In order to address PMCA’s audience, we had to merge two very distinct needs— those of their older members (above age 60) and their younger, twenty or thirty-something audience. The older members are used to a more traditional website design and system of navigation while younger members find minimal design and navigation to be both intuitive and more pleasing. In order to create a very modern, pleasing site without alienating a portion of PMCA’s membership, we created a minimal design while incorporating features that would make it more intuitive and accessible, such as larger font size and prominent arrows that indicate where to click and scroll.

To recap the process from PMCA’s side, we asked their Marketing and Outreach Associate, Alex Kaneshiro, to tell us a little about PMCA, their California-focused mission, and what working with verynice has meant for them so far. Check out what Alex has to say below!

Hi, Alex! Can you tell us a bit about the PMCA's mission?
Our mission is to present the breadth of California art and design through exhibitions that explore the cultural dynamics and influences that are unique to California. This means that our programming encompasses both historical and contemporary art, celebrating in equal measure plein-air painters inspired by the region's mountains and deserts, and experimental artists who choose to use the building as canvas.

Before you approached verynice, what were some of the barriers PMCA was facing in terms of reaching your potential audience and achieving your mission?  
While our website had served us well in the past, it was clear that our website had become outdated, and that there was a disconnect between our current PMCA voice/sensibility and our brand identity/website. Our old website no longer registered as accessible and vibrant—in fact, our analytics reported a high bounce rate and increasingly low engagement. We found that our site map and non-responsive design discouraged users from spending more than a few seconds on the website.

How has the new website opened up room for PMCA to grow?  
The new website has really opened up a whole new world for us. Now that the site is user friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and perfectly encapsulates the PMCA, visitors are immediately drawn in and are more likely to convert to first-time museum visitors / become more involved as members, volunteers, repeat donors.

Donating is now made easy AND visible literally on every page—an important detail as individual giving composes over half of our revenue.

The new website also enables us to create dedicated spaces for exhibition-related materials, from brochures to shop items to educational materials, which simultaneously archive all of our temporary exhibitions.

How has our work around brand strategy helped clarify PMCA's next steps or opened up room for growth?  
As we move forward with marketing collateral and gradually roll out updated on-site/wayfinding signage, I’m realizing just how helpful it was to have identified qualities by which to measure brand success: Is it accessible and engaging? Is it dynamic and fresh? Etc. etc. Prior to our rebrand, we didn’t have identity guidelines in place to serve as checkpoints—so for consistency’s sake, working with verynice on brand strategy was eye-opening and a huge leap!

What does the future look like for PMCA? Any key goals in the works you can share?  
The future looks bright! In mid-June, we’re opening two new exhibitions, Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent and Alexandra Grant and Steve Roden: “These Carnations Defy Language”in addition to transforming our Project Room into an educational space inspired by Corita’s Immaculate Heart classroom. Our schedule is packed with dynamic programming (Poetry! Performance! Zines! Children’s workshops! Play reading!), and I’m aiming to make as much of it available online as possible. Lesson plans and educational materials, video/audio recordings of panel discussions and the like—basically playing around with engaging interactive content, since Wordpress allows for such beautiful, seamless integration. Stay tuned!

We can't wait! If you live in Los Angeles or have plans to visit, check out what's going on at PMCA right now. 

A Brand to Build a Network

When it comes to getting funded, nonprofits must overcome a few more hurdles than for-profits, especially when it comes to reaching potential donors.  For-profit companies trying to bring in new customers work hard to leave an impression on their desired audience. Put simply, when they present a strong and consistent view of their brand to the right people, they see success.

While nonprofits can effectively acquire new donors in the same way, they often have fewer means to do so. Without the budget or staffing to create a robust brand, they loose valuable opportunities to reach an audience that cares about the work they’re doing. This affects their ability to retain donors, and therefore to set long-term goals for growth.

When our client, <dev>tech academy, approached verynice with this same issue, we knew we wanted to help. <dev>tech is a nonprofit that provides a comprehensive web development program, job training, and personal finance skills to disadvantaged youth. We were immediately impressed by their ability to create social change by matching two major issues— the tech skills gap and the lack of opportunity faced by youth who cannot afford a college education. In order to help <dev>tech build a support network, we just needed to help them communicate the power of their model to the world. How? By giving them a strong brand strategy and visual identity. 

Instead of taking you through this process ourselves, we asked <dev>tech Co-Founder, Stacy McCoy, to talk about <dev>tech, their work with verynyice, and what she sees for the organization’s future. 

Hi, Stacy! Can you tell us about who <dev>tech serves?
500%.  That’s how much the cost of college has risen since 1985.  Student loan debt is over $1 trillion and is second only to mortgage debt.  It’s not an affordable option for everyone anymore.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many alternatives.  Those without higher education will make on-average less than $30,000 a year and struggle to find a job because unemployment rates are much higher for those without a college degree.  

At the same time, there’s a tech talent shortage. estimates that by 2020 there will be 1,000,000 more jobs than students.  And it’s much harder for companies in smaller tech hubs to recruit and retain talent.  <dev>tech academy bridges this gap by helping youth that can’t afford to go to college gain the skills necessary to get a job as a junior developer at a local tech company.  Youth get access to higher paying jobs and a stable career, tech companies get the talent they need to grow and scale, and the surrounding communities experience greater economic development due to the additional money flowing into the local economy.  It’s a win-win-win! 

Are there any differences between the traditional “dev bootcamps” we’re becoming familiar with and <dev>tech’s model?
<dev>tech academy takes the standard for-profit web development bootcamp model, bumps it out to 6 months, and adds a long-term apprenticeship.  This was a novel idea when the model was designed a couple of years ago.  But now these types of models are starting to be tested in a couple of big cities around the country.  But we take it a step further.  On top of providing mentorship and career services, we also provide financial literacy support from opening bank accounts to teaching how to manage money and save.  I would also like to think the curriculum we’ve developed is one of the best.  Finally, we have plans for creating a model that works for rural areas and monetizing the model so that it’s self-sustainable.  But it’s too early to share the details of those. Stay tuned!

Even though the <dev>tech model seems incredibly robust and relevant, were you facing any barriers to getting off the ground?
Though the idea behind <dev>tech academy was formed a couple of years ago when I was living in Los Angeles, I held off on launching it because I knew I would be moving soon.  When my husband and I moved to Durham late last April, I hit the ground running.  Finding advisors and community support was easy.  The pieces of the puzzle quickly fell into place as one after another people offered to help.  Durham is such an amazing city!  But there was one big piece missing: funding.  The cornerstone of the program is a bootcamp, which requires a skilled teacher to be competitive.  Skilled web development instructors are expensive!  It’s a big ask.  My first venture Give To Get Jobs – which is organized as a for-profit LLC – was self-funded.  Fundraising, especially non-profit fundraising, is completely new to me. And pilot programs are the hardest to fund.   It’s been difficult going from moving so fast to needing to slow down in order to find the right donor(s). 

Now that you have a visual identity, how has that removed some of the barriers you’ve been facing?
Revamping <dev>tech academy’s visual identity was huge for us.  It makes us look a lot more professional, which is important when you’re asking for large sums of money.  It also helped guide a website redesign and will inform all graphic design styles moving forward.  And I’m a lot more confident that we’ll be able to effectively reach our target market with this new identity. 

How about the brand strategy piece? Did that open up new opportunities for <dev>tech as well?The new brand strategy is helpful beyond words.  Working towards that strategy pushed us to dig deep and determine what’s behind the <dev>tech academy brand.  Our brand and brand story is a lot clearer now enabling us to tell the story in a much more effective way.  

Sounds like <dev>tech is headed toward a bright future! How are you visualizing your next steps?The biggest goal is to get the money to pay an instructor.  Once that happens, we can have the program up and running in less than a month and a half.  Everything else is ready to go.  Once we launch the pilot program, the next big step will be to run a successful program.  When we have proof of concept, we’ll be scaling the program rapidly.   And then the adventure will really begin!  It’s a big undertaking, but I can’t wait.  And I can’t thank verynice enough for helping <dev>tech academy as we set out to develop communities by developing tech talent. 

Thank you, Stacy! 

If you haven't taken a closer look at <dev>tech academy yet, check them out here. We couldn't be more excited to see what they achieve next!