Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center, a social advocacy agency for survivors of domestic abuse in Beloit, Wisconsin.
Through active listening and in-depth conversations with BDVSC, we learned about their mission and culture, about their long-term goals, and about the complex problems standing in front of those goals.
BDVSC wanted to expand their outreach to new client bases and demographics.
The Complex Problem:
BDVSC's brand and marketing materials only spoke to the experience of a portion of domestic abuse survivors instead of to all survivors.
The Root of the Complex Problem:
BDVSC lacked a brand and marketing strategy. This caused their messaging and materials to be out of synch with the needs of the new clients they wanted to reach.
The Creative Solution:
Through asking questions and active listening, we worked in collaboration with BDVSC to craft creative solutions that would help BDVSC reach their goals.
Together, we crafted a rebranding and marketing project for BDVSC.
Read about the full project below.
To begin BDVSC's branding project, we first learned everything we could about their clients.
We conducted in-depth demographic research of their community of Beloit, Wisconsin.
Along with statistical information, we examined national trends and sociological research to help understand the demographics of the Beloit, Wisconsin community.
We also conducted interviews with the BDVSC staff to learn more about their clients. Through empathy, asking questions, and active listening; the conversations with BDVSC staff helped us grasp the driving needs of their clients and of the Beloit, Wisconsin community.
Then from all of our conversations and research, we created comprehensive client character studies.
We also conducted an in-depth review of organizations similar to and adjacent to Beloit Domestic Violence Survivors Center.
This guided us in creating a brand that fit in with the other non-profits in BDVSC's field and yet stood out from everyone else in their field.
We then collaborated with the leaders of BDVSC to refine Beloit Domestic Violence Survivors Center's mission statement.
We also worked together to map-out their team's culture, personality, and ethos onto a list of brand attributes.
This refinement allowed BDVSC to better align their team and internal focus with the deeper needs of their clients and their community.
We finished this stage of the project by placing all of our conversations and research into a branding kit for BDVSC.
By the end of the branding kit, we saw that, for BDVSC to fully align their team and internal focus with the deeper needs of their clients, BDVSC needed to make a big change.
We felt BDVSC needed to change their own name.
Through many thoughtful conversations, we worked together with BDVSC to come to this name change decision.
And as we transitioned into the next phase of the project, Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center became
Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit.
To create the visuals for Defy's new brand, we took the brand attributes from their branding kit and condensed the list of attribute words into three phrases:
We then created three stylescapes, one to match each phrase.
*A stylescape is a panorama of visual elements that includes everything from typography to textures and patterns.
These visual elements work in unison to form a full sample of a brand's visual identity.
Through an in-depth feedback process, Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit selected one stylescape from these three.
They selected the Empowering Honor stylescape:
From our conversations with Defy, we felt it best to take the final stylescape through a second phase of design refinement and feedback.
This led to a new version of the stylescape.
Through constant collaboration and conversation with the leaders of Defy, we took the stylescape through another refinement phase which lead to this.
From the final stylescape, we moved to refining the brand logo by creating a logo-scape. A brand stylescape captures the overall picture of a brand identity, but it doesn't zoom-in on the details.
A brand logo-scape is where we go from the wide shot of the brand to a close-up on the brand's logo. A logo-scape is where we refine the logo to ensure it grabs your attention and scales big and small to fit any application.
For this project, the logo went through its own design refinement and feedback process between the final version of the Empowering Honor stylescape and the logo-scape.
After the logo-scape, we took Defy's logo through another phase of design refinement and feedback, ending in:
From the stylescape and finalized logo, we created the brand styleguide for Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit.
*A brand styleguide works like a brand field kit and instruction booklet.
The guide explains and exemplifies all of the components of the brand's visual and messaging identity, such as the brand's:
- logo, and
- messaging tone.
A well crafted styleguide provides every piece of information that a new designer or writer needs to create materials that seamlessly fit with the brand.
Thus, the styleguide can be handed to a designer fifty years from now, elements can be created, and the brand will never lose its identity.
By enabling brand consistency with seamless collaboration, the brand styleguide allows the brand to grow and endure for years and years to come.
With the brand identity finalized, we moved on to bringing the brand to life by creating all of the brand and marketing materials for Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit.
*Brand materials are physical and/or digital materials that allow the brand to function on a day to day basis.
These materials also serve as the bedrock and beginning of the firm's marketing efforts.
Examples of brand materials are things like:
-internal and external documents
-writing such as welcome guides, intake forms,
*Marketing materials are any physical and/or digital materials that aim to spark conversations that build brand awareness and brand value.
Examples of these materials are things like:
-social media posts
At this point in the project, we needed to create entirely new materials for an agency that serves a city of over 30,000 people and a community area of over 100,000 people.
To accomplish this, we split the process into two stages.
1. In stage one, we crafted a short term marketing strategy to launch Defy's new brand and new name.
2. In the second stage, we crafted a long-term marketing strategy which included a long-term content marketing strategy and social media marketing strategy.
Alongside crafting these strategies, we created the marketing materials to fulfill the strategies of both stages.
From websites to welcome guides, from intake forms to business cards and email signatures, we created an entirely new brand materials and marketing materials suite for Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit, even including materials made in multiple languages.
For these materials, we created all of the visual and verbal elements.
(*For some material, we also edited and updated existing written content.)
In October 2020, we - along with the incredible and dedicated advocacy staff - successfully launched the new brand, and BDVSC publicly became
Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit.
With the launch, we quickly hit the project goals of reaching new client bases.
In the weeks after the launch, the agency saw 5% growth in client intakes, and Defy has continued to increase their growth in the months after the launch.
This expanded reach has had a far deeper impact for good than any one of us here at Owl Street Studio and at Defy could have imagined.
None of us imagined the COVID pandemic when this project started, and none of us could have imagined how much COVID would increase domestic abuse in our communities.
Yet, with the rebranding, with the detailed brand strategy and marketing plan, and - most important - with a deeply dedicated advocacy force, Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit has been able to meet the surging need in Beloit, Wisconsin.
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