What Do We Value The Most
Supporting a startup that begins and ends its day with accountability.
FixPDQ is changing the cluttered landscape of the project management industry with task-delivery software and a subtle shift in the conversation for how we deliver work projects—and solve problems pretty damn quick. It wanted to build an extensive collection of content to set it up for a successful minimum viable product (MVP) beta launch. The ask was for brand alignment, customer awareness and content strategies—with a side helping of copyselling.
The first crucial step was showcasing the value of accountability for its first 10 customers and building momentum to connect with its next 1,000 customers. As storytellers, we knew the best way to share the FixPDQ story was with story branding and design.
Content was the ask—and lots of it. The client, a serial entrepreneur by instinct, understood the power of branding for balancing its basket of values, behaviours, and personifying its voice. We were granted early client approval for full content creation and direction. We wanted early wins and knew that a content strategy would help get us on the victory podium.
In a nutshell, the objective was to sell FixPDQ as a solution to make the everyday workday just a little more reasonable, possible and understood by all parties.
To balance the tires for a long journey on the road, we started the ball rolling with a communication audit and discovered shared language across natural comparators. But to get to the heart of FixPDQ, we had to boil the brand down to what it was really saying. This included digging deeper into its complex messaging to locate hidden details and reveal truths that were unique—and had something genuinely different to say.
Brand truths were uncovered to learn where the brand was willing to stand, or more importantly—wasn’t willing to stand. In this case, the client was very adamant with a logical and driven approach to cut through the cliché of task-focused software providers with a series of well-planned steps to naturally inform good decisions. It favoured thinking the opposite and wanted community first, and sales second, because it wanted to provide core customers with the right solutions to help them solve problems pretty damn quick.
Customers matter. What they prefer, their value propositions, and even what they look like. We took an-depth review of natural comparators, audiences, and how FixPDQ could better solve problems for its own core customers.
To build a brand for the people, we needed to speak to core purpose, and shaped the handshake between the brand and the customer. The brand voice was helpful and purposeful—with a dash of logic and intuition.
The artwork connected and collaborated with common threads as a natural blur between strategy and design. The concept was to applaud a hands up culture, and play the same game—not the blame game.
The approach was decided as branding by language, branding by symbolism and branding by what’s already there. The aesthetic needed to reach out over multiple and varying channels and achieve the same result. We met the challenge of distilling a multi-functional and highly-technical brand into a singular but flexible design. We brainstormed with the client to clear the gap for something more personal and meaningful—and less corporate.
As storytellers by instinct, our natural inclination is to always blur strategy and design. So, true to nature, we created content pillars and themes, reshuffled some core elements with dominant shapes, added some supportive colours, and jumped into the unknown with an approach that best fit the client’s needs. Our outcome solely focused on crafting stellar messaging and supporting an aesthetic that was more than just a logo in the corner. We collaborated closely with the client and team, shared the design journey together to open insight into the process—and shaped our handshake between brands.
To kick-start a laser-focused and strategic creative, we knew the first place to start was story branding. In order to share the FixPDQ story, we needed copyselling that stood on the foundations of pillars and themes with a voice that placed the customer as the champion in their own story. Lucky for us, although the client was in a race to get to market, it also wanted to do it right and help its audience thrive, achieve aspirational identity, and bond with its tribe. Given the green light for simple and predictable messaging architecture, we dove in with a story branding formula to put everything in order and make the story easy to digest.
Since we give a sh*t about quick, fast and shareable creative, we went the glitch and stomp route for an early campaign win. We piggy-backed a core purpose, applauded a hands-up culture and asked the customer to raise their hand if they wanted to up their communication, up their strategy, and up their progress—to raise their hand if they wanted to up their work game with FixPDQ.
The concept for FixPDQ was straightforward and broad enough to encompass a wide-range of related messaging across pillars and themes over applications of web and social. To brand by symbolism, we designed frameworks and containers disguised as connected and remote shapes for easy recognition and translation in a sea of scrolling. For branding by language, we wanted more pride and ownership in work and the brand, including the ability to bypass traditional imagery and add a human touch, as well as warmth and character to the copy and the story. To brand by what’s already there, we leaned on our communication audit for gaps in confusing messaging and dug into the essential outcome for any project management software brand—to solve problems.
The content was developed for videos and stills, and blogs and white papers. Whitepapers are a fan favourite for us, since you can produce content for a month from one single whitepaper—and we prefer a series of papers on the same topic. We positioned the brand voice as an unconventional expert advocate in its field. To build trust with user personas and add social clout to the brand narrative, we focused on storytelling for best and promising practices for accountability in an era of remote work environments—where connection matters more than ever. The artwork piggy-backed the narrative and an aesthetic was created full of robust colours and shape transitions to catch the eyes without taking away from the plot.
To properly finish, we needed genuine applications to explain the overall scheme to make original visuals seem pedestrian in comparison.
It had to be more than just a logo in the corner, since the days of a brand being summed up by a logo and a single colour have long passed.
The FixPDQ toolkit had to have clear direction and be flexible enough to stretch across screens. We wanted the toolkit to allow the brand to be recognized as much for its imagery, art direction, tone of voice, and personality as much as its logo.
Basically, as storytellers, if the logo was to be the flag on top of the building, then the story was the ground floor—and the voice was responsible for carrying the brand from beginning to end.
The common threads of dynamic shapes and vibrant colours were a bold take but engineered to meet the requirements of a digital brand.
The copy was carefully crafted to quickly explain and share useful information that was engaging and entertaining. The voice had to cut through an increasingly over-crowded marketplace.
The result was a flexible scheme, compelling design and quick, fast and shareable creative.
The Bottom Line
Prior to the launch of the digital strategy and story branding, FixPDQ was preparing for its beta launch and has now stepped back into the laboratory for more embedded research and development.
As its chosen story branding studio, we wanted the approach to take a middle ground between safe and radical but with adaptable campaigns. The end result was more qualitative versus quantitative, but still lined-up with the core purpose.
The decision was to lead and end by engaging in doing and not telling, and introducing best and promising practices for the new normal and extending that information into real and “live” situations. It was the perfect time to establish core values in everyday applications—not to mention, engage with core customers and make a difference in their daily frameworks.
Since we pride ourselves on setting others up for success, we left the brand in good hands with pro tips for quick scans, carousel designs for quick decision-making and evergreen copy for detailed tips and best practices. FixPDQ was left with more than enough content for adaptable campaigns to help ease into its research and development while the brand happily percolated in the background.
We know the real leaders roll their sleeves up and get on with the job.