A soft spot for social good projects leads to rebranding and relaunching MAS.
MAS was seeking a way to amplify and modernize their reach. The board empowered management to proceed with a rebranding exercise and to create a website that helped with these goals in mind.
A Focus on Discovery
Rebranding is a shared journey. And you wouldn’t just travel with anyone, would you?
After working through business and design objectives with MAS’s Board of Directors, we set off to conduct our research. This included:
- Analysis of five competing organizations and their positioning
- A focus group with MAS Volunteer Consultants (VC’s)
- A focus group comprised of past and present clients
- Multiple questionnaires
This led to the emergence of a clear understanding of perceptions and organizational pain points. It also triggered lively discussions on our project management portal. The communications tool afforded the management team and the Board to participate given the platform is oversight and engagement-friendly. All of which helped to bring about a change in perception of how the organization viewed itself.
What we learned is that the full name caused intent confusion in some circles – including from within.
And so MAS was born.
Strategy & Planning
With a number of participants inactive on the project management portal, we worked with the engaged team to verify the direction both the rebrand and website were heading. The result was the 57-page Deliverable System Assets report. It included a brand style guide, final sitemap, the creative brief, user personas, interview and focus group findings, competitive analysis and recommendations, and wireframes of the site layout. As well as the reenvisioning of domain and email strategies for the organization, we also authored social media strategies.
Your veritable kitchen sink, the DSA represented their marketing playbook for the next decade – and beyond.
Personas were new to everyone, and as you can imagine involving a bunch of process-obsessed managers in a room together and it was a big hit. They also helped flush out additional requirements that had not been considered up to that point. The missing persona? Recruiting more volunteer consultants.
The brand positioning took the form of “A community of experienced professionals making a difference by providing pro bono management consulting for nonprofits.”
A strong sans serif typeface created a legible and memorable impression. We went through a number of icon concepts before ultimately landed on the inward arrows. The rationale was that it signified collaboration and teamwork.
Dropping the acronym description meant there was room for a tagline. We blurted out the first thing that came to mind and it stuck. Pro Bono Consulting for Non-Profits.
Colours were chosen based on discussions around colour theory and the desire to move away from a stodgy past. On the CMYK scale – the four colours used in print with K being black – none of the four colours contains black. We wanted to convey brightness and warmth.
Once the rebranding committee presented our progress to the board, they received the results enthusiastically.
As often happens, clients envision a site with less than 10 pages. But after objectives and discoveries become apparent, scope typically increases.
MAS had indicated they already had someone to complete assembly, and only required design (found in the DSA) and support. When that development arrangement fell through, we rolled up our sleeves and stepped up.
Back when this project happened, it marked our first foray into responsive web development, which at the time was in its infancy. And it was a pretty big deal back then. The tools available were not as refined as they are now. That meant a lot of tweaking to work as desired.
With respect to backend control, we created several user permission levels that limited roles for staff logging in. Apart from being simpler for the user, the hierarchy protects the site’s integrity and performance from errant user activities.
In order to counter the perception that MAS was a for-profit, we managed to convince the Management Team to adopt masadvise.org.
With agreed upon naming conventions and the final logo awaiting confirmation, our attention turned to website planning. With a board comprised of retired senior executives, you can well imagine process is something they take to heart. So we introduced personas as a way to help shape the pitch as well as a measuring stick for keeping web pages on target. Together, we developed five unique fictitious personas that represented our target audience. One of those personas led to the conclusion that a recruiting section was needed. Pretty cool!
In the spirit of volunteering, Communicreations contributed event planning and marketing for the launch event. It was a well attended event featuring an afternoon of speeches from community non-profit leaders mixed with performance art. The new MAS was centre stage and garnered plenty of attention and accolades.
The rebranding forged a clear, consistent message for MAS and their audience. Furthermore, of the 33 recommendations found in the DSA report, 20 were completed, 9 were redundant during a mid-project framework update, and the remainder were dropped on request. The result of lasting, meaningful change was praised by the organization and project participants alike.
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