PRVYR Process • Discovery, Strategy + Mood Boards

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Would you go on a big trip without researching your destination? Without planning your route?

We believe the best brands are made when strategy is applied. Design decisions become easier, and implementation + marketing are in line with a broader goal that everyone works toward. Strategy encompasses discovery, research, surveys, competitive analysis, target market research, brand development planning, brand foundations + determining an aesthetical point of view.

What does our process look like? Well, we’re going to share it all using one of our works in progress — VOKTAIL. Let’s go!


Voktail is a startup concept with burgeoning opportunities. Voktail’s founders reached out to us to help them build a brand foundation that they could use as their ideas, products + services grow. Their concept of creating a lifestyle brand in quality vodka cocktails relies heavily on their name, “Voktail.”

Discovery

  • Every project starts of with a lengthy questionnaire. No one knows the business or vision like those directly involved. We do this step to understand where they’re coming from + what they’ve done so far so we can align on where we go together.

  • Typical questions for our discovery process include:

    • What does your organization do?

    • What is the history of your organization? How did it start? What has happened since?

    • What is the big picture goal of the organization?

    • What are your non-negotiable standards + values as an organization?

    • What do you want to be known for?

    • What do you NOT want to be known for?

    • Describe your ideal/future supporters in detail. What types of people are they? What do they value? Etc.

    • What problem does your organization solve for people/ your supporters?

    • What does success look like?

    • What does failure look like?

    • Are there any icons or special imagery that could resonate with your brand?

    • Are there any words, icons or images you want to avoid?

    • What is the feeling you want potentials customers/supporters to come away with when they start to learn about you?

  • For Voktail, the discovery process showed us that this brand concept, while loosely formed, has a strong sense of values, high standards + a lot of opportunity. We knew we could pair their values + our research to form a solid brand foundation they could grow with.


Research

  • From the discovery session, we understand the baseline of what we have to work with, so it’s now off to the races to build the brand strategy. We start with research to help us understand the landscape of the project’s industry, what’s currently happening + what extra opportunities we may be able to leverage in bringing the brand to life.

  • For Votkail, we found in our research that the vodka market is in a slow decline + it is oversaturated. The cocktail creator market is also heavily saturated, and it’s hard to stand out. Our research also indicated that the most successful brands are ditching the flavors, moving back to their roots + creating pure products. Consumers of gin + vodka projects want a product that also carries a retro vibe with a modern twist.

  • This research helps frame the rest of our process by guiding the recommendations we presented for brand development growth.

Online Focus Group

  • Everyone in a project like this has their own bias, their own perceptions of growth + a specific idea of what it could be. Those are gut reactions, and they are incredibly powerful. We also like to reach out to our networks to get an opinion that is outside the brand to get a true, unbiased perspective. We ask questions about things we’re curious about, and the responses help us define how we move toward recommendations.

  • For Votkail, we sent a survey out to our networks that asked questions like:

    • Age, gender + income

    • Do you ever drink vodka in cocktails + mixed drinks?

    • What are your favorite vodka brands?

    • What is most important to you when selecting vodka to enjoy?

    • What is least important to you when selecting vodka to enjoy?

    • What are your favorite vodka cocktails + mixed drinks?

    • Are you interested in trying new drink recipes, or do you prefer to stick to the classics?

    • Are the quality of ingredients in your cocktail/mixed drink important to you?

  • Responses were in line with our outside market research and showed that Millenials + older Gen Z working professionals are largely interested in craft cocktails. They value mid- to top-shelf spirits, quality cocktails + product branding, and they are willing to pay more for a drink if the spirit + mixer are both top notch in taste + drink presentation.

  • Surveys + focus groups help gauge the potential success of a product or service, and they help to determine the target market + what they are after.

Target Market

  • Just because we’re not talking specifically to all the people we COULD talk to does not mean we are not aware of or do not value those people.

  • Our focus is on who we SHOULD talk to — those who are using us as a guide.

  • Content will cross over naturally. If we’re talking to a specific group, others can still see themselves in what we do.

  • For Votkail, we defined their target market as the working professionals of the Millennial + Gen Z generation. They are paying off debts but still have some income to enjoy going out for a drink after work with colleagues or meeting up with friends over weekend. They are over the hyper-flavored drinks full of faux sugar + colors and want their drinks to be rooted in more traditional practices while playing with forward-thinking, innovative practices. This group is redefining the rules + what quality means in the alcohol — and particularly spirits — arena. They are overall drinking less, like the rest of Americans, but they are are spending more on drinks when they do drink, and they expect their drinks to be the full package. They want quality they can taste + see, a compelling story behind the product and damn fine branding + packaging. This group also wants drinks that are more “pure”. Knowing this is Voktail’s target market, we will be sure their brand offers something of quality that is unique in taste + presentation.

Brand Development Planning

  • Voktail is a special case because they are working with an idea — one that has a lot of opportunity. Still, the lack of a physical product or service means we get to brainstorm + find opportunities we can write into the brand strategy that can help facilitate decisions to get them to where they want to be long term.

Brand Foundations

  • Now that we know what we’re dealing with, who we’re talking to, what they want + where we want this brand to go, it’s time to build the brand through foundational pieces that set the stage for everything moving forward.

  • Here, we ask questions like, “What is our point of view? How do we share about ourselves? What is our tone + style of speaking?”

    • Voktail’s point of view is + tone is:

      • To be transparent + share ingredients, preferred vendors/sources + why we chose them to highlight our quality + values.

      • A lifestyle drink(s) of fun + freedom while remaining grounded. Something that makes people feel like they are cutting loose + indulging in without the guilt.

      • To create an experience for people when they drink one our extraordinary creations.

      • Voktail’s tone + style of speaking is fun + slightly rebellious tone while keeping our class. We keep our tone, references + humor in line with our vibe.

  • Then, we move into brand words. We are a big fan of using words in branding because they are emotionally packed + guid the brand tone of voice and overall perception of how we communicate collectively. They are dynamic words that help articulate powerful concepts that our brand is founded on.

    • Voktail’s brand words are:

      • Craft:

        • Craft vodka spirits & craft cocktail mixes - we develop & create damn fine craft vodka cocktails

      • Quality:

        • We believe vodka +  Voktails shouldn’t fall short on quality or taste.

        • We only source high-quality ingredients, whether it’s the vodka we’re pouring or the custom craft mix we are combining it with. We think you should drink quality & your experience shouldn’t fall short in any area.

      • Class:

        • The Voktail experience is one of class, style & sophistication. From presentation to taste, Voktails make the right first impression.

        • Our classiness is not predictable or stuffy. While we appreciate the classics & are put together, our class is fresh & forward thinking. We don’t exclude, we invite all into the experience.

      • Indulge:

        • Shaken or stirred, Voktails let you indulge without the guilt.

        • Indulgence is the rebel streak in our classy nature - we work hard &, we know what we want and we want to cut loose & have fun.

          • Our indulgent side doesn’t break the rules, but it does bend them a little.

Aesthetics

  • Now that the brand strategy is completely in line with all of our expectations + we are all thrilled to make this happen, now comes the aesthetics. Just like our brand strategy + discovery, we start with an alignment step that helps us understand everyone’s visual preferences when it comes to the brand. How do we do that? MOOD BOARDS.

  • Mood boards help us articulate design ideas in graphic ways. It’s a lot easier to get the vibe right with the right inspiration. We also throw in color blocks to start the conversation around the colors their new brand will embody. Our mood boards also carry emotions with them through the images + colors we choose. We pick a variety of applications to illustrate how we could extend the brand, from physical product, to collateral, to logo style + set up.

  • For Voktail, we understood from our discovery that they wanted to have a nostalgic, retro vibe. Luckily for us, that was seen in the research as desirable to our target audience. We crafted three versions + some mockups to support them to help us decide which angle this brand should go from a visual perspective. Incredible bonus points to this project were that 1. Donald Draper is inspiration and 2. retro/mid-century design is one of our favorites to be inspired by.

Option 1 -  This options was used to showcase a more hand-drawn, craft vibe that would lend itself to a more rustic quality while still nodding retro. We threw in warm tones to bring a sense of connection while skewing on the more masculine side.

Option 1 - This options was used to showcase a more hand-drawn, craft vibe that would lend itself to a more rustic quality while still nodding retro. We threw in warm tones to bring a sense of connection while skewing on the more masculine side.

Using the above moodboard, a place to start when developing the wordmark logo for Voktail would look begin with a monoline script vibe.

Using the above moodboard, a place to start when developing the wordmark logo for Voktail would look begin with a monoline script vibe.

Collateral example using this style.

Collateral example using this style.


Option 2 -  Using inspiration heavily from House Industries, this mood board was based off a more quirky take of mid-century design. Decade specific script, color block graphics, illustrations of drinks + of course DD helped this mood board evoke a calming but interesting point of view. The teal + orange are wonderful colors to play with, since we can envision a lot of vodka recipes including those colors.

Option 2 - Using inspiration heavily from House Industries, this mood board was based off a more quirky take of mid-century design. Decade specific script, color block graphics, illustrations of drinks + of course DD helped this mood board evoke a calming but interesting point of view. The teal + orange are wonderful colors to play with, since we can envision a lot of vodka recipes including those colors.

Using the second moodboard, a place to start when developing the wordmark logo for Voktail would include fonts with a more bold take.

Using the second moodboard, a place to start when developing the wordmark logo for Voktail would include fonts with a more bold take.

Collateral example using this style.

Collateral example using this style.


Option 3 -  No good retro vibe is done without exploring some red tones. This mood board was shown to evoke an old Hollywood vibe while bringing in scripts + graphics that brought it more modern. Using images with fresh fruits + drinks we also see how this could come to life when photo shoots are being planned.

Option 3 - No good retro vibe is done without exploring some red tones. This mood board was shown to evoke an old Hollywood vibe while bringing in scripts + graphics that brought it more modern. Using images with fresh fruits + drinks we also see how this could come to life when photo shoots are being planned.

Using the third moodboard, a place to start when developing the wordmark logo for Voktail would include work around a script font with a customized retro feel.

Using the third moodboard, a place to start when developing the wordmark logo for Voktail would include work around a script font with a customized retro feel.

Collateral example using this style.

Collateral example using this style.

The beauty of doing this mood board step allows us to brainstorm in visual terms. Explaining color is hard to do with words, but having images that speak those words for us helps us save time, rounds + creates an end result that is exciting, not surprising. We also allow tweaks to mood boards at this point before we go on to actual brand identity work. We might want to pull a few things from one option + bring it to another. This work is truly collaborative + our goal is that at each milestone there is excitement for the next phase.


Where do we go from here? We pick a mood board + begin designing the brand identity based off of that direction. Which mood board would you choose? Which one do you think they are moving forward with?

Many steps are still to be taken to bring this brand to life. Stay tuned for the follow up of our in-depth process overview featuring Voktail. Grab a drink while you’re at it, too.

People To Watch in 2019

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Well, I guess you better watch out - I’m on the list of people to watch in 2019 as listed in the Bakersfield Californian.

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I got a call from a random number, answered + was pleasantly surprised to hear someone interested in hearing my heart behind Be In Bakersfield + Purveyor House. It’s rare I get to talk about the behind the scenes work and passion I have for the projects we get to work on as this business grows.

As I read through the published piece, an overwhelming sense of gratitude came over me. From the people who first believed in me, to the new project teams we are just now starting to work with - thank you.

What does this little bit of press mean to someone like me? Well, a bit of validity that I’m on to something good. I’d also say there’s more of a desire to get seen even more. The projects we work on deserve a lot of recognition. Be In Bakersfield has been the most notable, but what about all of the others?

It’s a really great time to #beinbakersfield + I’m honored that my business is seen as one who’s helping make this city a better place. Through the work we do, we’re afforded the opportunity to build true connections between our community + business owners. We’re able to cultivate a new narrative that we can own about our city. We’re able to bring new services, spaces + products to consumers.

While I love living here + anchoring my business in Bakersfield, I know that 2019 holds expansion beyond Bakersfield. It’s an exciting time and I hope that when we say “we’re based in Bakersfield,” potential clients say, “oh, I’ve heard a lot of great things about that place.” Wouldn’t that be nice.

Read the article here.

9 Ways to Market an Event in a Small Town

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Branding is so much more than logos. Every time a customer interacts with your business, they interact with your brand. This is true online and in print, but it’s also true in person—all the way down to the details of your events and how you get the word out.

When planning an event, you need to brand it just like you would your business. Give your customer a glimpse of what will happen, why they should go and what they’ll miss if they don’t.

The good news? Marketing an event doesn’t have to be scary. This nine-step process will help you think through all the details of getting the word out.

Every month, the Purveyor House team uses this process to coordinate Bakersfield Second Saturday, encouraging residents to spend the day on the town getting to know our amazing local businesses. We use social media to spread the word and create FOMO (Fear of Missing Out (in case you need that tip)) to make sure people know what they’ll miss out on if they don’t come.

In August, we used these ideas to promote our Be in Bakersfield event and sold out in one week—much to the disappointment of those who wanted to buy a ticket at the last minute.

So what’s the secret? How do you market an event, especially in [what feels like] a small-ish town like Bakersfield?


1. Define the goals of the event + how they impact your brand.

Before you can tell others why they should come to your event, you need to make sure you and your team understand why you want them there. Sit down and answer a few questions: What is this event about? How does it support your brand? Why should people come? Who are you hoping shows up?

2. Set a schedule + plan in advance.

In a small-ish town like Bakersfield, people often don’t come to events because they don’t know about them early enough. Make sure you share early and often. Share in unique ways. Let your community know about the event with plenty of time to get it on their schedule.


3. Design custom graphics.

All the visual elements of your event and event marketing should be consistent with your brand. Hire a designer or use a site like Canva. Make several different options so you aren’t sharing the same graphic over and over again. Have fun with it!

4. Show up in the same places as your target demographic.

Once you’ve defined who you are trying to reach with your event, think about the best ways to get the word to them. Post fliers in local hangouts, create an Instagram or Facebook campaign or, if your demographic is older, take out a newspaper ad. Knowing who you’re talking to will help you focus your marketing efforts.


5. Make it easy to purchase tickets.

If your event is ticketed, use a service like Eventbrite so people can easily sign up and pay online. You can also use this tool to communicate with ticket buyers so they are always aware of what’s going on + become increasingly excited with each update.


6. Share + use social media to build FOMO.

Help your audience understand what they’ll miss out on if they don’t come to your event. Tell them about the food, the drinks, the fun, the networking opportunities or the insightful speaker. Be as specific as possible, but make sure you’re sharing things that are important to your audience and that they will connect with. Invite them into the conversation + talk to them rather than at them.


7. Share often, but don’t overwhelm people.

Make sure your social media calendar not only includes announcements but features about other aspects of your business as well. Let your audience know about your event, but try to avoid sharing too much. A few ideas:

  • Focus promotions on certain days rather than every day.

  • Post stories on Instagram to remind people more often since they disappear after 24 hours

  • Go live to share about your event + the heart behind it.

  • Get out + about by sharing your flyers around the hotspots you visited before + engage in conversation with those interested.


8. Don’t rely on others to get the word out for you.

If you have an event on the horizon, now's the time to build brand awareness. Make sure your community knows who you are and what you do so that, when it comes time to promote, your audience is ready and waiting to support you. The work NOW will help you LATER.


9. Share photos during + after to build interest for your next event.

Share live from the event to remind those who aren’t at your event about everything they’re missing out on, and use the photos you take to let your audience know how your event went and why they should come next time. This is also a great time to get those interested in future events to join your mailing list for updates and announcements so they don’t miss out next time.

Promoting an event in a small town seems daunting, but, by applying just a few branding principles to your event marketing, you can knock it out of the park every time.

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How A Focus Group Can Change Your Business

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A while back, Purveyor House lead a focus group for a startup. We were looking for clarity about if the service offered was needed, how our target market felt about it and what we should call it.

We were amazed at the incredible feedback our group gave us. It was insightful, thoughtful and, most importantly, helpful. At the end, we were able to clearly see that we were on to a great idea and had a clear list of things to update as we moved to implementation and launch.

Not sure what we're talking about? Read on to find out what focus groups are, why they can help you and how to facilitate your own.

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Focus Group 101

What are focus groups? 

  • Focus groups are a gathering conducted by a founder, marketer or third party to facilitate a guided conversation regarding a particular product, service or new business idea. They happen prior to launch with people from the product’s target demographic who have diverse perspectives.

Why are they important?

  • Many business founders are so close to the product or service that it makes complete sense. Advice from loved ones is helpful, but it can still be too close. 

  • When a group of people who are in your target market speak freely and without reservation, they can help you see the value of what you’re bringing to market, what holes you need to patch up and what questions you may hear from others (and how to answer them) as you launch.

When is it a good time to set one up?

  • Anytime! It’s never too late to get outside perspective. Ideally, focus groups occur after a vision, mission and business plan have been set up. At this stage, you know what your product or service is going to be, have enough detail on logistics on how it would work and can define who should be the end user. Being able to answer detailed questions is helpful to guide the conversation.

  • If you haven’t figured out those pieces, that’s ok. You can either wait until you’ve put in some more work or set up a group with people who haven’t heard your idea to see if it holds weight with them. You may find their insight is just what you need to form the idea more fully.

  • If you’ve already set up shop, it’s not too late for a focus group. Having a different perspective can be huge when you want to shift gears in your business, offer something new or rebrand. 

Who gets invited?

  • We’ve found the optimal size of a group is anywhere between 5-8 people. This gives a diverse pool of experiences and perspectives but is also small enough that everyone has a chance to speak. 

  • It’s important to invite people who would purchase what you have to offer—in other words, your target market. By inviting and engaging with your target market, you’re able to see if your idea is one they’d purchase, what their reservations are, the types of questions you need to answer in your marketing and website, and what resonates with them in how you describe it.

How does it flow?

  • Ideally, focus groups are lead by a facilitator. This person can either be the founder or someone like a marketing lead or hired agency. By using a third party, the founder is able to watch the interaction, answer logistical questions and take notes. The goal is for the facilitator to keep the conversation on track and press on attendees for deeper and richer answers when appropriate.


Set The Stage

  • INTRODUCTIONS

    • Who’s here?

    • Why did you invite them?

    • Introduce the facilitator if they are a third party.

  • STATE YOUR GOALS & RESPONSIBILITIES

    • What do you want to achieve at the end of the conversation?

    • What are everyone’s responsibilities while here?

      • Founder - Their goal is to gather feedback, answer detail questions on how the service works and to take notes. If they are facilitating, they will also to ask the questions.

      • Facilitator - If they are used, they keep the conversation moving, make sure that everyone has a chance to speak, and ensure that the answers are in line with the goals of the gathering.

      • Attendees - They are here to provide honest + thoughtful answers to questions while keeping respect for the idea, founders and other attendees.

  • DEFINE THE TARGET MARKET

    Share who this product or service is build for using your target or ideal demographic.

    • The target market for this offering is...

  • VISION + MISSION

    Lead off with your vision + mission statement to provide a framework.

    • The vision + mission for for this offering is...


Ask Away

These are the questions we asked our recent focus group. You can fine-tune and tweak to get the results you desire from your gathering.

  1. What are your immediate and unfiltered thoughts on hearing the vision + mission statements?

  2. Are you interested in this offering?

  3. How many people can you name that would be good quality candidates for this service?

  4. Would you share this offering with someone you know?

  5. What would motivate you to insist that a loved one check out this service?

  6. What are your reservations about a service like this? 

  7. What assurances or answers to questions do you need ?

  8. What type of marketing would motivate you to get more information regarding the offering?

  9. The name of this service is _________. Does that resonate with the offering?


Tips for A Great Conversation

  • Probe for more detail and deeper explanations & experiences. Ask leading questions to get deeper into why attendees feel how they do about your product or service and how you are describing it.

  • Have something tangible. If you have an offering that can be seen or felt, bring it!  For example, if you’re looking to rebrand and have a mood-board or rough logo designs, print them out and go through a series of questions that ask for attendees’ first impressions. 

  • Record the session. Use your voice memos if you have an iPhone. Just be sure that everyone knows they’re being recorded and are OK with it. That way, you can focus on what’s being said without furiously scribbling.

  • Bring a friend who knows your offering. An ally who knows your plans can help by asking extra questions and facilitating a unique conversation. Just be sure they are still open to giving constructive feedback.

  • Be sure to lay out expectations on the privacy of the conversation. If you’re OK with those in the group telling others about the conversation and your offering, let them know. If you want them to keep it a secret until you are ready for them to share, then be sure you say that in the very beginning. Understand that details may still leak out, so be prepared for that.

  • Keep it casual, simple and open. Let the attendees know you value their time and feedback.

  • Resist defense + be open to feedback. You may hear things you don’t like, don’t agree with or find upsetting. Remind yourself that it’s better to hear this now than to find yourself months down the line wishing someone had said it sooner. However, this is still your idea, so, while attendees’ input may be helpful, you are still the captain of the ship.

  • Send a thank you note a few days after the group. 


Remember, this is a conversation! Interact + have fun with it.

How to Use the Holidays to Reinforce Your Brand

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The holidays are here and, with them, the temptation to post that really cute-looking cartoon turkey wielding a “Happy Thanksgiving” sign written in Comic Sans. Unless your brand is a clipart website or a preschool, avoid that turkey. The same is true for those really lame stock photos that don’t in any way represent you.

Keep your brand voice, mission, and visual atheistic in mind as you approach the holidays. It’s a great time to post well wishes, discounts and special events. However, like any post you create, holiday posts should be on-point with your brand strategically and visually—even more so because you likely have more eyes looking your way.

If you typically communicate with gifs and jokes, go ahead slip puns into your holiday posts. If you normally have swirls, twirls and clipart in your graphics, go crazy. But, if you don’t typically do that, it’s best to keep your sentiments and graphics in line with how you normally speak and what you look like. Veering from who you are in any post makes you appear to be unorganized and inauthentic. During the holidays, it will also keep your message from being memorable. Bottom line, be who you actually are.

I want to show you some examples of good and bad holiday posts. Let’s start with the rough ones.

Neither of these are great options for pretty much ANY brand, but they absolutely do not represent Purveyor House. Besides the quality of the images, they do not capture our brand at all. The colors, graphics, lines and fonts are NOT part of our brand story. In addition, the captions are not our standard tone of voice, there doesn’t seem to be any thoughtfulness to what was said and there really isn’t any value to either of these. If we were to post them, it would look like our account was hacked.

Now, some great examples of holiday posts.

Better, right? These posts show you can be authentic and relevant at the same time. The colors, fonts, logo usage, photo and graphic quality and genuine captions thoroughly represent these two brands.

Here’s how to stay on brand and be you this holiday season:

  1. Plan time for you. Schedule your posts. Take some time and look at your calendar. What is coming up and what do you want to say? Taking time to schedule will help you stay on brand, and it will save you a lot of time in the long run. We like using later.com and planoly.com.

  2. Look like you. Keep to your brand’s visual atheistic with colors, fonts and logos. Don’t go off the rails. Use your planning time to take and edit great photos or to source amazing stock photos. For editing, we like VSCO and Snapseed. For stock photos, Unsplash.com is our go to.

  3. Talk like you. Don’t confuse your audience by sounding like a totally different brand. Use your normal writing style, tone of voice and vocabulary.

  4. BE YOU. Only you can be.

Peace, Ashlee

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