Social Value Portal is a mission-driven organisation. One that set out to make a realistic, tangible difference to community responsibility by giving government and business a clear, practical methodology for measuring and improving their social value.
Having achieved great success with local government, they'd reached a critical inflection point, securing a new round of funding with the ambition of further driving business in the corporate sector. It was time to cut through the corporate cacophony of virtue signalling, and let SVP take their place as the thought leaders they are.
A pin-sharp brand and an SEO-optimised, thought leadership-driven website was in order.
“The Social Value Portal future is bright and it is multi-coloured and very inclusive. I don't often congratulate you, but this is really good progress Guy - well done.”
Normally at this point, for a new client who needs a brand refresh, we’d be telling you all about how we kicked things off with the Don’t be Shy workshop series. Audience, brand, content – the works. But Social Value Portal were workshop-weary from the grappling they’d already done with their brand. So we adapted our process to help them find a position and ownable identity in the market through a more streamlined format.
A key challenge was the lack of clarity, immediacy and persuasiveness in their comms. Their offer is multifaceted and complex. Communicating it in a clear, engaging way needed planning. This included their inaugural National Social Value Conference and frameworks such as the national TOMs which they’d developed to structure how companies across different industries measure and report their social value activity.
The tone of voice and messaging needed to tap into those who already believed in giving back to the community, drive understanding that commonplace priorities like ESG and CSR sit under social value, and provoke a mind-shift among those who see it as a tick-box exercise. And that’s not all! Throughout, we needed to ensure we never slipped into the territory of that cardinal corporate sin: greenwashing.
We set out to develop a toolkit of branded assets to engage the private sector they needed to reach, without alienating the public businesses at the same time.
“Once more into the sea of sameness we sailed... Greens and blues and pictures of smiling people everywhere, not reflective of the real deal and positivity from real-life community. It was time for Social Value Portal to step out of the familiar.”
We began with deep immersion, auditing and rationalisation to consolidate the internal work that had already been done, and translate exactly what it all meant for their brand perception and position.
Insights from a bespoke, blended version of our Brand and Content workshops fed into the overall brand messaging, pinning down the content sweet spot for what we can say that’s different to the competitors. It was a breakthrough moment, crystallising what Social Value Portal had been after for months.
We now needed the words to cut through. The brand had been built around CEO and social-impact champion, Guy Battle. For the social value mission to take flight as a standalone concept, not tethered to its founder, the brand needed to stand on its own two feet.
We developed and defined a brand tone of voice with two components: writing for the brand, and writing for Guy. Our messaging framework recognised that social value is an exciting concept, but also one that feels overwhelming to many. It had to avoid both intimidating the uninitiated and patronising more seasoned personas. So we provided big, bold, clear ideas to get people on board, but also attentive guidance on making those ideas a reality. The optimal balance between rousing speeches and benevolent hand-holding.
With the brand essence – Making Good Go Further – approved, we set out to develop the visuals to also take social value from soulless to soulful and from a bureaucratic chore to a strategic sparker of meaningful business impact.
The logo was evolved to be brighter and bolder. We adopted a four-point colour gradient aligning to our values of collaboration, transparency, community and accountability. This forged an ownable visual identity in a market awash with cash-green.
Our brand book featured simple iconography that incorporated well-known wayfinding symbols and a community of shapes that communicated the ideas of fitting together and joining the movement. These component shapes came from a deconstructed master logo we called the ‘value aperture’, reinforcing the sense of community, collectivity and total value. We also set styles for photography that steered clear of stock imagery, and typography guidelines around free-to-use fonts softened by the use of lowercase. We always like to add that bit of something, so we’re particularly proud of the playful details in the 404 and ‘Contact us’ pages.
“A clean and simple design was resourceful, not wasteful, maximising value from the graphic language and bold typography. Making good go further.”
‘Join the movement’ and ‘make good go further’ have been strong statements and consistent throughlines, featuring in the National Social Value Conference.
At the heart of the new messaging was positioning Social Value Portal as a SaaS-based platform, with deep knowledge behind it, rather than a consultancy-based, public sector business. The new look and feel is professional and tech-forward, but inclusive, developed to raise excitement about the concept of social value, and reassure about the ease of implementation.
The website was already reaping the rewards in one month after launch:
increase pages per session
increase in demo requests
increase in subscribers
keywords increased ranking
But it’s not just about the hard metrics. We strived for value above and beyond with the level of deft, delightful touches that elevate the brand and website. While understanding the need to be constructive about the existing brand, our ‘Be more’ spirit pushed the envelope, always encouraging clients outside their comfort zones, never vanilla. That sounds like proper value to us.
“We’ve changed the way we look and it feels like we’ve grown up – no longer that young dreamer. We’re putting weight behind real values, big ideas and a proper team – now over 85 people strong. One thing that hasn’t changed: we still wear our passion on our sleeves.”
Drop us a message and we'll get in touch at a time that suits you.
Manchester. London. Anywhere. We work where our clients do, we're not picky and we've got passports to boot. But, if you're stopping by our HQ, the address you need is: Don't be Shy, 1 Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN.