Shift Brand Development
Updated: May 6, 2020
How we helped a team of passionate improvement experts clarify their organization’s purpose and elevate its brand presence.
Focus: B2B, Internal
Several years after its founding by improvement expert Karen Zeribi, Shift (previously Shift-Results) had strong momentum and an impressive roster of clients. As their team expanded, they wanted to strengthen the sense of shared purpose through a clear, more compelling brand story. They were also eager to relaunch their visual identity and website with a higher level of polish, but they needed to focus on clarifying what they do and what makes their approach unique first.
They were eager to relaunch their visual identity and website with a higher level of polish, but they needed to focus on clarifying what they do and what makes their approach unique first.
VITAMIN C SERVICES
Brand audit; stakeholder 1:1s with all team members
Qualitative research with clients and partners and competitive analysis
Brand archetype analysis
Articulation of brand purpose, positioning, and pillars; high-level messaging maps
Voice, tone, and vocabulary development
Visual identity refresh including logo, colors, and typography; creative direction
Customized content catalog and website content development, including brand-driven service description and mini case studies
Shift Method and Improvement Methods toolset naming and content development
Tailored messaging and email outreach for IM4E program
Ongoing brand and content activation
MOMENT OF CLARITY
When we sat down with the team and spoke to clients and partners, a few clear points of differentiation emerged. Shift’s team members were all extremely passionate about accelerating social change in health care, education, and beyond. They wanted their improvement methods to be used to address social inequity, as opposed to simply helping businesses run more efficiently. They were also deeply committed to incorporating voices that aren’t typically included in the process, resulting in new insights and ingenious solutions as well as stronger buy-in and sustained impact.
We took the team through a collaborative archetype exercise, which resulted in strong alignment around Magician and its emphasis on deep transformation, flow, and win-win outcomes. We found that the team had often described themselves as a catalyst for social change, so we embraced that alternate label and built the new brand strategy around it. The brand purpose—to use improvement methods to accelerate and amplify positive change in the world—and pillars of Shared Commitment, Deeply Inclusive Approach, and Adaptability quickly fell into place.
We found that the team had often described themselves as a catalyst for social change, so we embraced that and built the new brand strategy around it.
The name, Shift-Results, had a great story behind it—the “shift” is the point at which a statistically significant positive result is observed—but the hyphenated construction was a bit awkward, and we found that both the team and their collaborators consistently shortened it to Shift. We advised simplifying to Shift in common usage, keeping the original URL intact to minimize cost complexity.
The next step was a visual identity refresh, in partnership with frequent Vitamin C collaborator Design Hovie Studios. Hovie evolved the logo and color palette for a fresher, more modern look that expressed the brand’s fluidity and adaptability.
We evolved the logo and color palette for a fresher, more modern look that expressed the brand’s fluidity and adaptability.
Improvement science as a field tends to be jargony, but we wanted to keep the language as clear and straightforward as possible to fully express the deeply inclusive aspect of the brand. We also wanted to avoid pulling too strongly into healthcare or education, each of which tends to use its own specific terminology.
We wanted to keep the language as clear and straightforward as possible to fully express the deeply inclusive aspect of the brand.
We went through a number of iterations to land on just the right wording to express the brand characteristics clearly and succinctly. We also developed a more conversational elevator pitch version to make it easier for the team to explain their world-changing work to those outside of the field.
Design Hovie Studios (logo and visual identity development)
“Thank you SO MUCH to this team for your hard work in this big project, with so many meticulous steps. I really appreciate the amazing gifts that you bring with creativity, vision, and attention to detail. The brand book has already been so incredibly helpful!” Karen Zeribi, Shift Founder & CEO
“Now I feel proud to share our website. I feel like we are in the big leagues now!” Nicole Van Borkulo, Lead Improvement Advisor