Brand Archetype Case Study
The Unique Venues leaders came to Allegory Studios with a desire to refine their brand. They discovered that crafting an authentic brand story is an exciting process that results in meaningful, direct and compelling messages.
Unique Venues got its start as a marketing arm for college and university venues. Their job was to carve out a new niche in the meetings industry with innovations like the first print guide of colleges and universities and the first online meeting directory. In time, they evolved into a membership organization that helped the ‘misfits’ of the meetings industry reach out to meeting planners who didn’t know they existed.
Despite their growing strength inside the meetings industry, the company was diluting messages about their own offerings by an impulse to recreate their marketing – and effectively their brand – year-after-year. Our goal was to help build a meaningful and lasting brand story for a truly unique and evolving company.
The principals that made it work
Your brand is more than what you do. It’s also about why and how you do what you do. When you share your motivations, passions and pursuits, your message has greater emotion. And emotions capture attention.
Our process departs from the tradition of looking externally – to your clients and target audiences – to build your brand. This reactive, “tell us who you want us to be” approach often requires companies to shift their priorities, lose their focus, and develop lackluster brands.
Brand stories make the greatest impact when they are generated from the inside-out because they are authentic and meaningful. It doesn’t mean we don’t consider our target audiences; it’s just not where we begin.
Culture is Key
The first step in our inside-out approach is to build an organizational profile that captures the company’s strengths, goals and challenges. With Unique Venues, creating this profile helped us understand how unique the company truly is – from its position within the meetings industry to the non-traditional nature of its target audiences.
Next, we asked each Unique Venues staff member to take an online Culture Audit similar to a Myers-Briggs, but for companies. This ground-breaking, scientifically validated instrument measures an organization’s personality, and frames results in terms of an archetypes. Archetypes are universal stories and characters that we all recognize.
A Compelling Paradox
Unique Venues’ archetypal profile – they scored high and selected the Everyperson and Explorer archetypes – revealed a wonderful and compelling paradox. Consider the characteristics of these two archetypes:
- Where everyone belongs
- Absence of pretense
- Create a level playing field
- All for one and one for all
- Individualist pursuits
- Ahead of their time
- Independent, self-directed
- Identifies with the ‘outsider’
Seeks out a better world
What to do with such a paradox? Once we looked at these archetypal characteristics in light of the cross-section of the company’s membership, clientele and staff, and the meetings industry itself – the brand direction became clear. The paradox became the thread we used to weave the brand story together.
Then it all made sense. This is why Unique Venues was created in the first place!
- There was no common voice (everyperson) for the non-traditional niche of the meetings industry (explorer).
- Unique Venues’ staff are honest and hardworking (everyperson), and they innovate through cutting-edge technology (explorer).
- Member venues are united (everyperson) by their uniqueness (explorer).
- These venues are one-of-akind (explorer), but not alone (everyperson).
- Meeting planners have access (everyperson) to high profile properties (explorer).
These contradictions became a rich source of material for us as we defined beliefs and brand positioning for Unique Venues. As we looked even closer at the unfolding paradox, we discovered a tagline and compelling brand message that powerfully captures the heart of Unique Venues brand story.
“You belong here.”
This simple tagline speaks to Unique Venues membership, to the clients who seek out unique meeting opportunities, and even to Unique Venues staff, who are valued for their hard-working nature and independent spirits.
In three short words we honored both archetypes – Being Unique and Belonging to All.
Isn’t that true? We are all far more powerful marketing our venues together than we’d ever be doing it alone. There is strength in our numbers and together, we really do go further.
– Michele Nichols, Unique Venues
The Art of the Story
Once we defined the Unique Venues brand in words, we created its visual elements, a logo, letterhead, web design and more – that likewise combine the simplicity of everyperson with the cutting-edge quality of the explorer.
In the newly designed logo, the lowercase font reflects the everyperson, while the bold red reflects the explorer. By stacking “unique” on top of “venues” and by treating the “q” as a combined element in both words, we were able to further drive home an important brand message about unity. The archetypes provided a ‘blueprint’ for how the brand emerged.
Today, Unique Venues is reintroducing itself with the kind of confidence companies have when they can speak in ways that are authentic and meaningful.