Bringing to Life a Brand that Inspires Conversation, Steers Engagement

Typical inquiry about bringing a brand to life: “We’re looking for a vendor of branded products to help us with our new logo.” But the experience I’m sharing with you is about a different approach—one that will make your future efforts to engage target audiences with your brand as effective as possible.

Insight #1: Collaborate with and trust seasoned professionals.

My involvement with Wonderly, a new software development company, and its visionary leader Amber Christian has been special from day one. Amber brought Hillary’s into her branding team as an outsourced partner (vs. a vendor) to help bring the company’s brand to life. She created a “village” by introducing us to her other outsourced partners, which enabled us to support her as a cohesive group.

iconShe shared all information that had been developed, including a complete style guide for the brilliant brand and logo that Capsule’s Aaron Keller designed as well as buyer personas. Her honest answers deepened our engagement. In fact, her detailed approach reminded me of a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Educating her team was a well-spent effort, imparting to us a crisp understanding of the company’s:

  • Mission, values, and its brand promise and traits
  • Passion about the human-centered design that drives development of its easy- to-use software.

In return for her deliberate, open approach, Amber expected and received our ideas and the reasoning behind them. It engendered a true collaboration that drove a mutual decision-making process. What’s more, the depth of knowledge Amber provided would soon allow us to respond effectively to a later challenge I’ll share later.

Insight #2: Branded products have the power to engage a universal audience.

Rarely does a logo resonate beyond the intended audience; Wonderly transcends this boundary due to the nature of our engagement with the company as well as how we brought the brand to life. Hillary’s was charged with developing an introductory assortment of products with the following attributes:

  • Look, feel, and function support the Wonderly brand.
  • Engage the user.
  • Engagement with the product brings to life Wonderly brand descriptors.
  • Interacting with lifestyle products helps the user feel inspired, supported, dazzled.

In response, we developed quality, functional personal items (socks, post it notes, paper clips, luggage tags, etc.) that elicit a smile—totally in sync with the brand’s messaging, promise, and traits. We also shared our professional input in the design of those products.

When my suppliers referred to it as the “happy face” and “smiley face”, we knew that we were on the right track. They all mentioned how intriguing the artwork was. We intentionally used the logo without the name of the company. I think I’m like most people in not wanting to carry around items with other companies’ names on them. But perhaps most important, we believe it has the power to inspire conversation about its origin and meaning, invite a conversation, and maybe go viral with a little help. Insight #3: Brand creation is the dream; bringing it to life is reality.

Insight #3: Brand creation is the dream; bringing it to life is reality.

Companies spend thousands—even tens of thousands—of dollars to create logos they hope will build favorable awareness and recognition among their markets. In an ideal world, bringing a new brand to life should be well orchestrated and synchronized internally and externally. Therefore, the website should be live to accommodate visitors who want to learn more about a product they’ve heard or read about in advertising, social media, publications, etc.

But real-world obstacles can foil execution of the best-laid plans. Faced with a delay in getting the website up and running in time to launch, we focused on “Plan B” and created a “skinny” version of the full website instead of a single splash page. This approach continues to build sales-funnel momentum by offering a way for the targeted audience to engage with Wonderly, and its products and learn a bit about the company.

This microsite capitalizes on cartoon graphics that already were completed and the feedback confirms that it does a spectacular job of showcasing the brand. What’s more, it provides visitors an interactive opportunity to make a “happy sandwich” or describe what makes them happy and unhappy about their to-do lists and meetings. It’s a clever, practical vehicle for gathering information for future software development.


For You

Supporting this new entrepreneur’s journey is an exciting endeavor. Learn more about Amber Christian and Wonderly Software. If you’re a new Twin Cities entrepreneur interested in how to build a community around you, consider attending Twin Cities Start Up Week. If you want to learn more about how Amber built her company, join Amber, Aaron Keller (brand and logo designer), and me at How WE build this – A Team Approach for Wonderly Software Solutions.

Does your brand need a boost or inspiration to engage your stakeholders? Let’s start a conversation. Connect with us today. We’re experienced brand builders.

Toll free: 800-742-6800 In Minneapolis/St. Paul: 952-933-8365 email: