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How to effectively refresh your brand

Client’s Challenge

Mastery Schools has never shied away from new challenges. The nonprofit network operates 21 schools serving 12,000 K-12 students in Philadelphia and Camden. With its 15th anniversary on the horizon, Mastery brought on a new director of communications to tackle the dual challenges of strengthening the brand while strengthening relationships inside and outside the network.

Monica Lewis knew that sharing information and positive stories through consistently branded communications would effectively serve both goals. She focused immediately on developing the right vehicle to reach several important audiences.

Each Mastery school serves a neighborhood, so communicating with parents and other adults in those communities would be key. In addition, communicating with educators and staff in its schools, and the central Network Support Team, would ensure everyone knew the great things that were happening across the organization. To pave the way for future growth, Mastery also would need to communicate with leaders and influencers in the cities on both sides of the river.

Lewis settled on a newsletter and reached out to Hollister Creative to design it. She asked us to approach the design as an opportunity to refresh all visual aspects of the Mastery brand except the logo. More lively, more inviting, more modern, more engaging and more polished. Those were her design goals. Once the newsletter design was approved, she planned to apply the new look to all of Mastery’s communication materials.

Our Solution

Our strategy for refreshing Mastery’s visual identity began with understanding the organization’s mission, history and trajectory, as well as its personality. Knowing what Mastery set out to do, what it has done and the direction in which it is moving gave us a foundation in the facts and a shared sense of purpose.

Personality is a little trickier to determine and somewhat subjective. We gathered indicators of personality by looking at Mastery’s website and other existing communication vehicles. We paid attention to the photos and testimonials selected for sharing, the information prioritized, the accomplishments touted, the writing style and the emotions expressed.

All of that input informed the direction we took for the new design. The nuts and bolts of the design – colors, shapes, fonts – were just a way of expressing for the client “who we are and what we stand for.” In Mastery’s case, that was a blend of bold thinking, assertive ambition and forward momentum with smiles, hugs and high-fives.

Client Comment

“I have worked with Hollister Creative for six years now, starting at another organization. I have always been impressed with the way the team responds to my inquiries, questions and needs. They are very patient and supportive. And they always produce quality work. It is a delight to work with Hollister.”
– Monica Lewis, Director of Communications, Mastery Schools

Three Quick Tips

If you are facing the challenge of refreshing an organization’s visual identity, here is some advice that may help:

  1.  Blend old and new. Retain enough of the old look so that the new look is instantly recognizable. If the logo isn’t changing, all you may need to carry over is that and the primary signature color.
  2. Update colors and fonts. Color and font fashions change over time. The quickest way to go from dated to modern is a new set of fonts and a new set of secondary colors that complement the signature color.
  3. Add a new graphic element. Make it distinctive, yet simple and versatile enough to be used in various ways on all materials without creating a boring sameness.

If you are facing a marketing challenge, call 484.829.0021 or email Kim Landry.