We recently had the pleasure of hosting a Branding Retreat for a California-based non-profit Founding Director who decided to take matters into her own hands and run for Mayor. Meet our latest client, Dionne for Pacific Grove.
It's not often that we receive the opportunity to brand a political campaign (bonus: one we support) so when Dionne Ybarra contacted Ola'pi Creative in need of the complete brand experience for her mayoral candidacy, we were in!
With plans to announce her candidacy for Mayor just 4 weeks away, we wasted no time. Dionne scheduled her Branding Retreat for the next week and flew in from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was a still summer morning when we met Dionne at the airport and drove to the beach - just in time to soak up the sunrise.
We eased into the retreat with guided exercises in meditation, visualization, and journaling all to set the intention for our two days together. After a quick dip in South Florida's clear, warm water (a welcome change for a Californian!), Dionne checked in to her beachside bungalow and we caught up over an energizing breakfast.
We first met Dionne, the Founding Director of the non-profit The Wahine Project while on a trip to California's Monterey Peninsula in 2015. Both of our worlds revolve around the ocean and we immediately became friends. It was because of The Wahine Project community that Ola'pi Creative first traveled to Cuba and has since supported the surf community there. As we each share like-minded Blue Minds, it was natural that we work together on the branding of Dionne for Pacific Grove.
Building the foundation
At the start of each design project, we send our clients a questionnaire to complete before the branding process begins. Within those questions, we find out WHY they started their business/non-profit/movement.
Starting with WHY, a la Simon Sinek, we got to the root of why our client decided to start the brand. The WHY of your brand is also your purpose. It is a belief about the world that you most likely formed while you were still in your early 20s.
The Purpose Statement that results from this belief becomes the North Star of your brand. All design, messaging, investing, and collaboration decisions will be based on whether they align with your Purpose.
Once your Purpose Statement is defined, your message/business will become a lot more streamlined and you will feel confident in your new found clarity! Plus, it helps us strategic communicators and designers understand where you are coming from which is essential for conceptualizing the Positioning Statement, logo, and brand assets.
To reconnect our community so that Pacific Grove remains the best place to live, work, and play.
Meeting the Mission
Next, we worked on HOW. The HOW supports the WHY and gives rise to the Mission Statement. Usually a Mission Statement reads something like: we do x to help this set of people do y. They can get pretty boring and wordy, fast!
During our brand development/review process, we asked specific questions of Dionne that narrowed her Mission Statement down to a succinct 10 word or less declaration.
As Mayor, I will help the citizens of Pacific Grove reconnect so no matter whether they live, work, or play here, their voices are heard.
We then asked Dionne to describe her values and used them to craft guidelines for making sure the HOW gets met.
1) Be ACCESSIBLE by making it easier for citizens and business owners to express their concerns by creating more opportunities for connecting face to face.
2) Be TRANSPARENT by going above and beyond in the city’s reporting obligations and being forthcoming in our weaknesses as a city so that we can more effectively problem solve.
3) Be RESOURCEFUL by collaborating with state, county, non-profit organizations, and foundations to better utilize the expertise of our citizens and create opportunities for small businesses.
4) Be INCLUSIVE by recognizing and bringing together our diverse community in a way that enriches one another’s lives.
5) Show ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP by creating a sustainable commission that engages our community to take an active role in caring for our natural resources and being a leader in sustainability.
An amazing thing happens when you set aside the time to really dive into building your brand. You develop clarity. Like a ripple effect, with clarity comes confidence that energizes momentum and growth.
The tagline for Dionne's mayoral candidacy came to us quickly once we saw the pieces come together:
Driven by YOU
Incorporating her initials, D.Y., the tagline succinctly emphasizes Dionne's mission to ensure every voice is heard.
Day 1 of Dionne's Branding Retreat ended with us dining under a full moon and glowing over the progress we had made.
A brand is not just a name or a logo. It is a collection of graphics, design elements, fonts, vocabulary, and imagery that make up a Visual Voice.
Where Day 1 of our Branding Retreat with Dionne was all about building her brand's foundation, Day 2 was all about building her Visual Voice.
Trying new things does wonders on your creativity and since it had been a while since Dionne donned a snorkel mask, we thought it would be the perfect exercise to get her creative juices flowing.
Prior to traveling from California to Fort Lauderdale, we asked Dionne complete a New Client Questionnaire and start an inspiration board on Pinterest. The Questionnaire gives us a springboard from which to clarify the WHY, HOW, and WHAT of her brand. And the inspiration board helps us get an idea of her aesthetic and vision for the Visual Voice.
Once back in our creative studio, we went over the Pinterest board together so we could expand upon Dionne's original ideas and create an inspiration board that still maintained true to the values of Dionne for Pacific Grove:
- Environmental Stewardship
There are several different ways that we could go about displaying these traits visually through the Dionne for Pacific Grove brand.
Our focus was on fusing transparency and waves to represent synergy and movement ~ the ingredients to the enriched community Dionne believes in.
The final logo design led the The logo and color palette, inspired by Pacific Grove's beautiful natural surroundings, drove the resulting brand direction.
The logo and color palette, inspired by Pacific Grove's beautiful natural surroundings, drove the resulting brand direction.
We brought Dionne's message together in a polished, cohesive website design that incorporated a fundraising option and Mailchimp newsletter opt-in. The full website can be viewed here...
Driven by YOU
Supporters of Dionne for Pacific Grove believe in the power of an enriched community that is energized by the city's transparency and driven by its citizens. Ola'pi Creative built the foundations and visual voice of a brand mindful of this direction and stayed true to the purpose statement we wrote for Dionne's mayoral candidacy at the beginning of the development process: "To reconnect our community so that Pacific Grove remains the best place to live, work, and play."
Experience the full brand here and see more of our work on Instagram or Facebook @olapicreative
When you have a bigger purpose that drives your brand, you begin to build something meaningful that transcends simply what you do and embodies who you want to be in the world.
We'd like to invite you to learn more about the Branding Retreat! Send us a message and we will give you all of the details of this brand-changing workshop in sunny South Florida!