I was approached late last year by the national debt consultancy, 4 Pillars, and asked to help them take their brand to a higher level.
I understand debt and the incredible stress that it brings to bear on you, so I felt I was the right person to do this job for them.
Additionally, 4 Pillars was the company that helped me re-structure my own debt, and they had done everything they said they would do. So I had a high degree of confidence in them as a business.
The Brand Intervention process kicks in.
First I conducted a Brand Evaluation, involving the owners, members of a franchise action committee, and other key stakeholders, to determine what brand positioning and messaging 4 Pillars could authentically own.
Then I weighed these findings against the competition, the brand’s current articulation and the customer’s experience and expectations.
My observation back to 4 Pillars was that their current brand promise wasn’t connecting strongly enough with their potential customers on an emotional level.
Debt takes over your life. It finds you wherever you are. There is no place to hide and you see debt everywhere you look.
Since 4 Pillars had already demonstrated to me, through my experience as a customer, that they understood where I was on an emotional level, and were able to help with that in addition to providing me with solutions, it was clear that the brand promise could authentically occupy a far more empathetic territory.
The Brand Interventionist Recommended
First, designer Alison Garrad and I looked at the logo. We wanted to make it more approachable, so we made a number of adjustments: switching to a different blue, differentiating the 4 from the Pillars to create a beat, moving from serif to sans serif and from upper case to upper/lower case.
Advertising was just one of the tactics for lead generation recommended to 4 Pillars. But here the change was most dramatic.
We asked the business to move away from their existing advertising, exemplified below, which stressed tactics and outcomes upfront in the language of the business, and lacked polish.
Instead, we wanted to connect better with the potential customer on an emotional level.
What the advertising should do is speak to them in a language they understand. What they understand right now is that their debt has gradually, like a camel in a tent, taken over their lives, their thoughts, even their sleep.
Here are a few ads in the campaign.
The owners have embraced this new positioning and are beginning to extend it across all their customer touchpoints.
They are now speaking in the language of their customers, always the right direction to head in!