Helping a local non-profit clarify their story.
Keepsake T-Shirt Quilts & Blankets is a Columbus, Ohio non-profit with one goal: To provide meaningful employment to the deaf community, who experiences exceptionally high rates of unemployment. They help their customers preserve their memories by turning old t-shirts into gorgeous quilts and blankets. And true to their mission, nearly every one of their employees is deaf.
They approached us with a common problem: New competitors had entered their marketplace and sales were starting to slow down. We did a full brand audit to figure out where their problems were originating, and then walked them through the process of clarifying their story and revitalizing their brand.
The first time we walked into the Keepsake office for a meeting, we were blown away by the quality of their products. These blankets and quilts were frickin’ gorgeous! They were obviously killing the competition in terms of quality, so something had to be off somewhere else in the line. Through a series of conversations, we ended up narrowing it down to four things:
The fact that Keepsake employs deaf people almost exclusively is huge, and they weren’t telling that story clearly in any of their materials. Their focus was solely on their product. Absolutely, the product needs to be great. But the thing that gets people excited and passionate about brands isn’t the product. It’s the story behind the product.
The organization had been around for 30 years and had never had any professional design consultation; everything had been created in-house. So existing branding and materials were looking quite outdated and didn’t represent the quality of their products.
An interesting issue we found was that Keepsake was really selling to two different audiences: Quilts were mostly being bought by older customers ordering them as gifts, and Blankets were being bought by younger customers for themselves as mementos.
These two tribes respond to marketing and messaging very differently, which would need to be taken into consideration moving forward.
The website is Keepsake’s main avenue for sales, and their existing site was incredibly complex. The process of how blankets get made wasn’t clear, order forms were multiple pages long, and they had far more options than they needed which gave their customers analysis paralysis. All of these were points of friction that needed fixing.
At this stage, the main issue we wanted to address was the multiple tribes. In order to target the two different audiences more accurately, the decision was made to split the company into two; Keepsake Quilts and Keepsake Blankets. Each company would both be operated at the same location, same employees, same everything, but two different websites with content targeted specifically to each tribe.
One of the symbols Keepsake had used consistently from the very beginning of the company was the “I Love You Hand”. Their customers had gotten used to seeing it and it really summarized everything the company stood for. We decided to take that symbol and make it the primary logo for each company, then to use separate color palettes to quickly differentiate between the two. Quilts would be primarily green and Blankets would be primarily blue.
With the brands separated into two companies, we were going to have to build two websites. Each of them would behave similarly and have a similar structure, but they’d be targeted toward the two different tribes.
Taking our findings from the brand strategy sessions, we vastly simplified the ordering process, wrote all-new copy that clearly tells their story, and replaced all of the old photography with beautiful new lifestyle photographs showing the products in-use and close-up, highlighting their quality.
With both websites completed, live, and ready for orders, Keepsake also needed a healthy amount of print and digital collateral to support the launch. We started by putting together a social media campaign to introduce everyone to the two new brands. Then we helped them think through the rest of the ordering process, from info cards to hand out to potential customers, all the way down to stickers to throw into each order as a small thank you gift. No detail was left untouched.
Throughout this whole process, we really fell in love with the Keepsake team and their mission, so when they suggested we continue the relationship with an Ongoing Amplification Retainer, we were absolutely pumped!
In the months since the original brand rollout, we’ve worked with them on a weekly basis taking the reigns on their social media presence and marketing campaigns. We’ve also kept their websites maintained and provided ongoing SEO consultation as they chip away, regaining their position in the marketplace.
At this point, we’re actively handling all of Keepsake’s external marketing needs, taking all the stress off of their plates so that they can focus on what they do best: Making amazing blankets and quilts that provide meaningful employment for the deaf community.
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