TeamChild Brand Inspiration
How we helped a Seattle nonprofit with a powerful mission find its voice.
Focus: B2C, B2B, Internal
A former colleague from the Microsoft Encarta days invited us to participate in a pro bono brand workshop for TeamChild, a non-profit law firm serving youth enmeshed in the justice system. TeamChild was planning a much-needed website relaunch, and the team needed a creative jumpstart to help them make the most of very limited time and budget. As CEO Annie Lee put it, "We need more intentional branding and a strategy for communicating in more powerful ways what we do, how we do it, and the problems we are out to solve."
VITAMIN C SERVICES
High-level brand audit, collaborative workshop and brand archetype analysis
Guidance for expressing and activating the Rebel archetype, including voice, tone, and vocabulary
Brand feedback on updated site structure, content, and design
MOMENT OF CLARITY
To prep for the workshop, I reviewed the existing TeamChild site and created a new archetype map focusing specifically on nonprofits.
From the existing messaging and overall look and feel, I fully expected the team to align around the Caregiver. The colors were very soft and read "nurturing," and much of the language emphasized help, support, and wellbeing. Much of their existing messaging naturally fell there.
After we walked through all 12 archetypes, however, TeamChild's CEO Annie Lee spoke up passionately about how deeply "Rebel" resonated with her. She described how the team's mission was to boldly question the status quo and dismantle systems that perpetuate inequity, by helping individual teens when they need it most as well as through tenacious policy advocacy. It was an electrifying moment.
This clarity around the true mission and spirit of the organization established a powerful inspiration point for the new website and messaging. They had not been communicating like a Rebel at all, but there was no reason that they couldn't going forward.
The Rebel archetype can occupy a wide range of emotional territory, from unruly and destructive to revolutionary and inspirational. I encouraged the team to take a page from a Rebel brand I deeply admire, Tilt Parenting, described by founder Debbie Reber as a "revolution for parents raising differently-wired kids." Tilt Parenting was perfect inspiration for the team as they considered how to break free from generic language and labels and champion their mission more boldly.
We put together a document outlining how to activate the Rebel archetype, including this section detailing how to connect more powerfully with TeamChild's teen clients—who are literal Outlaws, meaning they have gotten into some kind of trouble with the law. (Gray text in gray is from The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson; bold text is Vitamin C's specific guidance for how TeamChild could interpret and fully express the Rebel archetype.)
Eric Rait, Honeycomb Development
Tectonic (now part of Blink UX)
"Thanks for your expert advice and for shaping our Rebel language!" Caroline Tillier, TeamChild Program Advocate
"It was so great meeting you all and seeing your creativity and expertise in action!" Travis Thompson, TeamChild Senior Investments and Partnership Officer