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Brand Strategy Development to Communicate for Clarity & Conversion

Discovering, Defining and Solving Problems Through Interviews with Internal & External Stakeholders

Project Overview

Client

Affintive, Red Beak & Yuzu before the project

Role

Branding, Workshop Facilitation, Research, Experience Design

Business Type

Finance Planning & Analyses, B2B, service

Duration

July 2021 to Present
Have a look at their website 
here

Background

Affintive is a Financial Planning and Analyses Consultancy spanning across Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, they were formerly known as Red Beak and Yuzu before this project.

To address a lead generation problem to reduce time and energy from company stakeholders, I suggested a rebrand project to ensure internal alignment, clarity on communications, and a relatable brand.

What I did

I worked closely with Affintive to break down their existing processes & strategies and understand more about their industry habits, business limitations, and stakeholder visions. My work included:

Discovering website and lead generation pain points through interviews with customers of Affintive. Defining problems and strategising solutions through projecting possibilities for differentiation and sales funnel opportunities.

Impact

The new brand and website design exhibits a refined and refreshing look that is unconventional yet fitting for a differentiated brand in the finance planning and analyses industry.

Including customers as the symbol of Affintive's logo shows the dedication of hospitality that Affintive prides themselves on in their finance planning and analyses service.

Hence, a visually engaging and relatable branding that is present throughout their website, digital collaterals, and written content.

Phase 1 : Discover & Understand

Inception 🧏

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and list out objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touch points, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

What do we value?

Through a group session with the stakeholders everyone chimed in to share inputs on qualities that Red Beak values. To make this exercise easier we categorise them into 5 key attributes:
  1. Culture — How would people describe your company’s culture?
  2. Customer — How would you describe your ideal customer?
  3. Tone/Voice — How does your brand sound to people?
  4. Look/Feel — What does your brand look or feel like?
  5. Value Proposition — What value do you give customers?

Through this process, we uncovered misalignments in how stakeholders saw and explained Red Beak, revealing a lack of clarity and direction in internal management.

Who do we want to continue working with?

Defining target audiences helps to narrow the focus and offerings to reduce unnecessary pursuits for misaligned customers. Hence, together with Red Beak stakeholders, I created proto-personas based on experiences and assumptions of past customers to empathise with the target audiences.
The proto-personas will then guide the design process of the brand and website in the future.

Where do customers interact with our brand?

Using an X/Y axis of how deep and personal each touch point could be to customers, we listed out where customers might interact with the brand and arranged what is most important by using the size of the circle to indicate.

It is common to  place importance on deep and personal touch points, but this helps stakeholders get a clearer idea of the different touch points relation to customers and the stakeholders themselves.

What do we need to work on first?

The final part of the workshop ensures that we prioritise and align on goals for four parts of their business:
  1. Awareness – How can we attract new customers?
  2. Revenue – What products and services can we offer?
  3. Efficiency – How can we streamline processes in Red Beak?
  4. Delight – How can help customers enjoy working with you?

By looking at how much stakeholders believe this will impact the business, how urgent to get it up and running, and an estimate budget figure as metrics, the stakeholders can make better decisions together on which parts of their business they need to prioritise.

Where do we compete?

Focusing on customers who need to get finances managed we mapped out potential, indirect, and direct competitors* together.
  • Direct – offering same service to address customer needs
  • Indirect – offering different service to address customer needs
  • Potential – Not currently offering service to address customer needs but is developing to do so
This helps Red Beak get an idea of who they are competing against and the possible competitors that might enter the arena. Gettinga. clear picture can lead to possible innovations or repositioning.

*specific competitors names had been as requested by the client.

Red Beak is...

After hearing the team share about what they do, their aspirations for the company, understanding their alignments, and target audiences, we created a few positioning statements before finalising on one we can all agree with.
Note: The positioning statement is not an external-facing document and is to be used for the company's internal reference to guide decision-making.

How do customers reach out to us?

To get a better understanding of how customers look for accounting services we did a customer flow map of their existing sales methods to visualise the process for the team.

Unexpected surprise: It was also at this point that they mentioned they have a another company in Australia, Yuzu, doing the exact same thing with a partner that does most of the sales.

After this exercise, it was revealed that almost all of their customers were recommended via friends and family instead.

Nonetheless, the map brought up questions about whether the process can be improved for both employees and customers:
  1. Could the customers go through less calls with different people?
  2. Could the website act as a platform to gather some information first?
  3. How would customers not related to the stakeholders find out about Red Beak / Yuzu?
  4. Could customers learn more about what Red Beak and Yuzu offers in other ways?

Learning Points

😥  What could be improved
  • The participants did not understand most exercises beforehand and had difficulty adjusting. It could be better to send a briefing to everyone instead of just the CEO next time.
  • The workshop was based on a lot of assumptions and experience. Some participants mentioned they had done research before, but did not bring in because they were unsure what to prepare for the workshop.
  • During the attributes defining exercise all the participants had difficulty coming up with adjectives, resulting in an overrun of the workshop. It could be better to do a trial for this exercist
  • The touch point matrix is a bit tough to visualise, albeit an exercise from Marty Neumeier the size of the circle can be tough to see amidst many other circles of the same colour. Maybe using different colours to show priority while maintaining the size could help visualise this exercise better.
👍  What was great
  • The team loved the extent of items covered as they thought it was a simple group brainstorming activity that might not be relevant a few months down the road.
  • The CEO has given feedback about how he had never thought about these parts of his business before and is glad to have a clearer picture now.
😮  What was unexpected
  • The stakeholders of both companies were very split on how they described the brands and the offerings.
  • At the end of the workshop we found out about their Australian company Yuzu, maybe this can be clarified at an earlier stage to avoid missing out on different parts of the workshop.
  • Almost all of their past and existing clients are recommended from friends and family, this is amazing considering they are doing very well YOY.

Phase 2 : Empathise and Defining Problems

What's Wrong? 🧐

After a week of discovery we began empathising with potential customers to better understand what could help them decide to work with Red Beak and Yuzu. This will then address the assumptions made and help us to define problems that need to be managed first.

Competitors** & Differentiation Analyses

An analysis on the competitors' brand and website was conducted to better understand the weaknesses and strengths of their business.

Information was gathered by auditing competitor's content on social media and their website, along with reviews and what others say about competitors on forums.

An X/Y matrix was used to discover and understand how to reposition or innovate which can act as a guide to make decisions.

We went through possible extremes that Red Beak is more inclined to address, strengths that Red Beak has and is their competitor's weakness, and lastly, what Red Beak has that their competitor doesn't.

*competitors information have been redacted and differentiation information has been simplified and tweaked as requested by the client.

Know thy customers

To better understand customers' perspectives of Red Beak and Yuzu we conducted in-depth interviews for a brand and website audit and to validate assumptions we also asked interview participants to do an exercise to search for accounting firms.

Red Beak stakeholders also mentioned wanting to work with businesses that are at least 3 years active, which narrowed our participant selection and we managed to interview a total of 10 business owners across the three countries.
Brand Audit

For the brand audit we asked participants to look at the brand's logotype, symbol, and name separately, and showed them parts of the website content without giving away too much about what these brands do.

Then we asked them to share their thoughts on what the brands meant to them and slowly revealed information as we asked more questions. Some of the questions were:
  • What industry do you think this brand is in?
  • What kind of feeling do you get when you see this brand?
  • How much do you trust this brand to provide accounting services for your business?
Brand Name
  • The names were interesting but did not seem related nor relevant to finance
  • "Red Beak sounds like they are in the construction or manufacturing industry", a total of 41% of participants felt similarly
  • Yuzu Consulting sounded like an advertising / media company to 50% of participants
  • Without the word "consulting" it sounds more like a restaurant to participants
Brand Feel
  • Red Beak felt mostly abstract and sounded fun to participants. Though the colour seems dull to 16% of participants
  • "Red Beak looks like a company I will bring my children to"
  • Yuzu made participants felt hungry or Thirsty
  • "Yuzu is creative, like Apple!"
  • Red Beak seems more trustworthy than Yuzu Consulting
Key Insights
  • 0% of participants thought they were finance companies.
  • Red Beak was perceived as more trustworthy as it "seems less pretentious" to 70% of participants. The other 30% claimed they were equally trustworthy.
  • 80% of participants were unsure about working with both brands. The other 20% were more straightforward and said no.
  • Participants were incongruent with their statements about the brand, showing confusion over how they perceive the brand and what the brand represents
  • Trustworthiness did not guarantee a possibility of working with new customers.
Customer Journey for engaging Red Beak / Yuzu for accounting services

To validate previous assumptions—of the website being a platform for verification only—and to understand more about what customers might say, do, or feel while using their website we asked participants to go through the Red Beak and Yuzu website.

We gave participants one task, to engage Red Beak/Yuzu for accounting services, and asked each of them to narrate their process as they go about completing it.
Information Accessibility
  • Participants were annoyed with the animation in Red Beak.
  • Information on the offerings for both websites used a bit of jargon.
  • There were a few links that led to empty pages.
  • There was not enough information in Yuzu's website making it difficult for participants to understand their offerings.
  • Half of the participants felt they were being baited to call them to find out more where they will use sales tactics
  • Red Beak's website has a lot of information but was not relevant for customers
Contacting Struggles
  • The navigation bar for Red Beak is only available at the top of each page. Making it difficult for participants to go to the contact page.
  • Red Beak's Contact page and section is one whole image that directs you to compose an email. Making it hard to copy the contact details and share it.
  • Yuzu's website does not have the same problem as Red Beak, however, participants were hoping for a contact form with guidance on enquiries.
Key Insights
  • Most participants left the websites early and did not complete the tasks.
  • The websites were not used only for verification of legitimacy, though 25% of participants said they might, only if their friends said very good things about the company.
  • Information about the offerings must be further simplified for participants to understand their offerings.
  • There were no easily accessible CTAs
Searching for an accounting firm

Lastly, we asked participants to show us how they would search for an accounting firm and engage them for their service to better understand the whole process so as to find out how to address Red Beak/Yuzu's lead generation problems as well.

The following customer journey map shows the participants' journey from when they open a browser to contacting the accounting firm of their choice.
How do customers search
  • Participants did not search for company names as they are unfamiliar with the industry.
  • Participants are completely clueless about how to assess an accounting firm but wants to know how.
  • They look at websites that recommend and do reviews, also known as listicles
  • Participants are conscious of brand names as 80% of them avoided visiting websites of brands whose names seem too "traditional".
  • Participants avoided "traditional"-looking companies as they were afraid of their non-adapting slow processes and demanding methodologies
Preferred qualities
  • Customers want to know if the accounting firm has relevant industry knowledge and experience regarding their business.
  • Wants to know more about offerings and to be able to read more about them
  • Wants case studies to understand their process in their offerings and services
  • Likes reading testimonials as a gauge of quality, plus point if it is linked to the person's business website/LinkedIn
  • Too much human photos seems kind of mockup-ish and they would prefer to have a good mix of illustrations and photos
Key Insights
  • The website was more than a verification tool for customers
  • It acted as a platform for researching more about the company and how it is like to work with them
  • Participants with an older company are more likely to choose a more established accounting firm
  • They will contact at least 2 of the list of companies they created
  • Accounting to participants was specifically book keeping and tax management
  • MNCs were immediately more trustworthy and had more value. In one case, the customer said "I can consider opening up a company there and they would be familiar with the finance policies"

Qualitative Persona

From the interviews conducted we analysed the habits and patterns of participants when searching and engaging and accounting firm and were able to identify 2 key personas that align with Red Beak and Yuzu's target audience.

Simon, a comprehensive researcher and will read and understand extensively before contacting for further information, and Jessica, a traditional conversationalist who briefly reads to ensure there is sufficient information before deciding she wants to speak with someone from the company to enquire more.

Sense-making


Defining Problems
Interviews with the stakeholders and potential customers have aided us in discovering and defining problems for Red Beak and Yuzu to address. The following contains the defined problems:
  1. Participants were confused with both Red Beak and Yuzu's offerings.
  2. Participants were unhappy and distrusting because of the lack of relevant information on their offerings, mentioning that it seemed dodgy and unserious.
  3. Participants think of book keeping and tax management when they think of accounting. This contrasts their offerings, therefore, positioning as an accounting firm is a problem as it leads customers to think differently about what they offer.
  4. Most participants left Red Beak's website within 10 seconds because of how difficult the interfaces were, and within a minute for Yuzu because it was frustratingly lacking information.
  5. Participants felt the brand names were confusing and unrelated to finance/accounting. It did not seem like it might be a choice amongst a sea of other accounting brands.
  6. Competitors who positioned themselves as MNCs commanded credibility amongst participants. Red Beak and Yuzu are not taking advantage of this positioning opportunity.
  7. High dependency on recommendations and word of mouth for leads at the moment, as a result they are missing out opportunities from multiple different streams of lead generation.
  8. Participants had struggled with contacting Red Beak/Yuzu as they were unsure about what exactly to enquire unsure about what exactly to enquire.
  9. Majority of participants wanted to read and know enough about offerings from the website before contacting and enquiring further.


Recommendations
After defining the problems I recommended the following steps for consideration :
  1. Redesign presentation of offerings by clearly cataloguing offerings with extensive & relevant information for people to research and understand more.
  2. I recommended a repositioning of an accounting firm to  Financial Planning & Analyses (FP&A) Consultancy as it aligns with the offerings that Red Beak and Yuzu wants to work with.
  3. The website will require an overhaul with better information architecture.
  4. We would need to collect testimonials from existing clients and create a process for collecting testimonials from future clients as well. This will help build credibility for the brand.
  5. A new brand name and merger to form an MNC, as it may improve customers perception of their brand and earn an opportunity to speak with them.
  6. A redesign of their sales service process will need to be visited to introduce new lead generation streams with a focus on reducing unnecessary overhead while improving efficiency.
  7. Case studies and an FAQ page to help customers understand more about their offerings, processes, and how things are done.
  8. A redesign of their contact page to help customers make enquiries easier.


Conflicts and Concerns
Stakeholders were extremely concerned about losing the Red Beak name as it has already established a certain brand presence and sentimentality.

Upon reviewing the established brand presence it was mostly amongst the mentorship community and their existing clients. They were also established as an accounting professional which is in conflict with the new positioning that they are going for.

It took a few weeks to convince the stakeholders that a change in name would help with their branding and I even showed justification from the interviews that the brand name was not doing the business any favour.

I had to resort to bringing up case studies on effectiveness of good brand names to further justify my case and even so the sentimental attachment was too strong for one of the main stakeholders to let go.

Eventually, I told them that I would go ahead and do a naming project as so much time had passed and I would do some light testing with some of the past participants to show some more justification of how it could change perceptions of the brand.

I told them that if at the end of the exercise they are not keen to continue they can even stick back with their old name and we can forget all about this and they agreed to come up with a new name.

Roadmap

While waiting for the stakeholders to discuss internally about the recommendations that I have shared with them along with the insights from the interviews I planned out the journey for what it would be like should they choose to accept all of my recommendations.

The following roadmap is the first draft and was planned to be ready to be altered should any of the recommendations not be agreed upon.

Learning Points

😥  What could be improved
  • After having some difficulty finding interview participants, I asked around for advice and a friend shared with me that screener surveys are a good idea for the next round.
  • I think that more interview participants are required, this still seems too low to get a justified response. However, due to a lack of time we had to proceed with whatever we had.
  • Brand auditing questions took up quite a bit of time as it was rather confusing for the participants, a briefing on what to expect could help them be more prepared in the future
  • The differentiation exercise should be more in-depth and participative from the client side in the future. More research on differentiation analyses and exercises needs to be done.
  • In the future it would be better if stakeholders could participate and observe in some of the interviews to see first-hand what customers are saying, doing, and feeling for a better impact.
  • Time-management and documentations of the interviews could be improved by a lot more so as to get more interviews done.
👍  What was great
  • Stakeholders were very satisfied as many assumptions were addressed by the interview participants. This helped them to see for the first time what people outside of their personal circles think about their business.
  • The stakeholders felt that all my recommendations and defined problems were justified and in alignment with their personal and business goals.
  • They accepted all my recommendations except designing an FAQ page and the contact page as they felt that their competitors did not have it and only the big 4 had it. As a result, the compromise was that I would work on everything first and they would consider prototyping afterwards but not in the beginning.
😮  What was unexpected
  • It was interesting that the Red Beak and Yuzu website had quite a number of different content. Even though it should serve the respective cultures in the country, it was interesting to see that the management of the websites were not similar enough that they were done by the same people.
  • Sentimentality of a brand asset can mean a lot to stakeholders and could cost 2-3 weeks to convince them to let go. Preparation of reasons and case studies for future cases should be prepared.
  • I had no idea what Financial Planning and Analyses was until the stakeholders shared more about their offering and I was searching for an industry category for it.
  • The older a company is, the less likely they are to engage a small accounting firm—or—to manage their finances. More interviews with older companies will be required to validate this.

Phase 3a : Implementation part 1

Getting to work 💻


Now that we have clarity from problems defined through validations from interviews and a list of recommendations approved to work on, we started to dive deeper into the branding process.

Starting off with a getting consensus on where they want the new brand to be, before diving deeper into their differentiation, and rebranding.

Purpose Mission Vision

As we learn more about their business goals, it was time to move on to a stakeholder-wide alignment on their purpose, mission, and vision. Typically brushed or rushed, the purpose, mission, and vision is also sometimes used interchangeably.

The purpose is the ultimate ambition of Red Beak/Yuzu and should be visionary.

The mission and vision are like twins, similar with slight differences, that support the purpose of the brand.

The mission should be an ambitious goal to achieve the purpose and the vision would be a visualisation of how to achieve that mission.

We begun with discussions on what Red Beak/Yuzu's new brand purpose should be first. After a few rounds of tweaking we were able to come up with one that all stakeholders agree on and is easily understandable for new employees when they join.

Blue Ocean Chart (as-is)


The Blue Ocean Chart exercise is meant to help Red Beak/Yuzu see how they differ from competitors.

To come up with this chart we discussed with Red Beak/Yuzu stakeholders to understand more about their experience at Big 4 companies as well as what their customers said when rejecting their competitors.

Therefore, the projections are mostly anecdotal and more primary research needs to be done to get an accurate chart. Nonetheless, we can use this to help Red Beak/Yuzu's new brand stand out from their competitors and develop innovative products.

From the chart you can see that since Red Beak/Yuzu is a relatively young company, the competitors are performing better with offerings. Red Beak/Yuzu, however, have received feedback that they have been hospitable, transparent, and spend a lot of time with clients making it their best offering yet.

As we develop the new brand we will also look at ways to develop products that will help improve competitive factors.

Sales Funnel

Through the discussions I was also able to better understand their existing customer traffic, and therefore I projected their sales funnel to help them see what it looks like if they have a traffic of 10,000 customers learning about their business.

These figures are hypothetical but it helps the Red Beak/Yuzu to see and get a sense of what the drop out rate is like at the moment.

Thereafter with my proposed recommendations of a new brand and website, and better content for their website as well I have projected a to-be sales funnel with hopes to :
  • increase website visits from 50% to 70%
  • increase number of people reaching out to Red Beak/Yuzu from 20% to 30%
  • increase referral rates from 1.5% to 2%
This will in turn:
  • increase website visits by 0.4 times
  • increase number of people reaching out to Red Beak/Yuzu by slightly more than 2 times
  • Increase referral rates by more than 5 times.

New Name


What does the name represent?
During the interview participants completely avoided accounting firms with names that were perceived as "traditional".

When asked what traditional meant to the participants they described names of companies that were:
  1. Names of founders
  2. Real words that were too literal, for example, "Audit Express", "Nice Management & Business Consultants", and "SME Accounting and Tax Sevices Pte Ltd"

The reason participants avoided such companies—despite being one of the top companies in some listicles—is that they were perceived as dubious to participants.Participants were afraid of suddenly incurring hidden fees or going through multiple unnecessary sales calls from these companies.

To avoid such scenarios, I decided to recommend names that were lexical, metaphorical, abstract, or invented.

Then I drew inspiration from the brand attributes, the purpose, mission, vision, as well as their offerings to find ways to make it part of the name.

After a discussion with the stakeholders we came up with words that resembled "finance", "caring", "thoughtful", "attentive", "collaborative", "dynamic", "relaxing", and "progressive".

I then started combining these words and the synonyms to come up with names that capture the essence of the brand and stray away from being traditional.


Options
After going through some domain names online I realised that it was a challenge to secure names with real words by it's own. This made me reconsider coming up with real, single, metaphorical names.

I ended up leaning more towards inventive and abstract names as it will be distinct from Red Beak/Yuzu's competitors as well as the big 4 and 10. I asked for the stakeholders thoughts and they agreed  it made sense but are still hesitant on changing the name.

So I also did some research on characteristics of brand names and shared it with them so  they can understand more and be a part of the branding journey

Most of the names I have chosen were portmanteaus which is a combination of two words. For example, finapeutic is a combination of finance and therapeutic and affintive is affluence and attentive.

I then did a scatter plot to show how descriptive or abstract each the names were or whether it was a real word, compounded words or a coined word.

This would then help stakeholders get an understanding of how the names are categorised and perceived as they had always been a fan of abstraction and being unconventional.


Final Choice
Deciding the final name was a bit tough as stakeholders were still unsure about the idea, nonetheless, they took a liking to the name "finapeutic" whereas I was leaning more toward "afflur".

The naming exercise took more time than I had planned for as the stakeholders were unsure about the names as well, however, this felt like a win to me as they seemed pretty invested in it.

The only issue was time, but they eventually got me to share more about why I chose the names and what it represented. Then they like the idea of "affintive", which was to show that "clients will be affluent with knowledge and wealth because we are attentive".

They wanted more time to brood on it and ask families, friends, clients, and relatives for opinions. I liked the fact that they were so invested in it that I gave them more time, so I moved on to develop the stylescapes for the brand identity first.

Brand Identity Design

stylescapes
Having spent so much time speaking with and understanding the stakeholders I know that they are unconventional and not very "corporate".

So when I did some stylescapes—also known as moodboard—to share with them, I knew I'd have to balance between what is recognisable and familiar for customers and still keep that unique flavour that is Red Beak/Yuzu stakeholder preferred styles.
I ended up creating two styles, the first one is had more of a professional flair with a hint of funkier colours to demonstrate that Red Beak/Yuzu is not your typical finance planning and analysis consultancy.

The second one would then be extremely unconventional for a finance-related company making the whole idea of working with Red Beak/Yuzu comforting and fun instead of being too serious and inflexible.

It wasn't surprising when the stakeholders chose the second one, however, they did raise concerns about looking more like a marketing or management consultancy.

I agreed with their feedback and mentioned that it will be altered in the design to ensure we avoid that from happening.


Designing the logo
Putting Red Beak and Yuzu's logo amongst the big 10 accounting firms show that there are distinctions but were not commanding presence. Their logotype definitely needs a lot more work to command more presence for their name. Whereas, the logo symbols are mostly round shaped which is the same as two other accounting firms.
At this point, the stakeholders have agreed to the name "affintive" and they grew fond of the name as well.

I wanted the logo design to not only look distinct and command presence, I wanted it to tell a story. So I went back to the name and it's origins which was "affluent" and "attentive".

I started with the logotype and focused on the word "affluence" which shows a few definitions. I narrowed my focus on the definitions of "flow", "tributary streams", and "abundance" in thoughts when designing the logotype.

Thinking of tributary streams, I decided to create a ligature for the "ffi" part of Affintive and came up with:

The idea was to have have each river represented by a business and Affintive being a business that supports other business through finance management the ligature is a metaphorical collaboration between two rivers.



One interesting thing I've observed is that none of the competitors' logo symbols represent the one thing they are working with: people.

As one of Affintive's brand attributes is "caring" and they pride themselves on how they treat and care for their customers, I've decided to create the logo symbol with the form of a person.

Since the stakeholders loved the logotype so much I have also decided to create the logo symbol's origins from there, hence I present what I call the Affintive buddy. Made up of the same components of people a mind and body:

I felt there everything was alright with the logo except for one tiny bit. The stakeholders could not immediately tell that the shape of the logo symbol was a human being.

Therefore the logo symbol went through a few more rounds of amendment to get that human look, whilst maintaining parts of its origins.

Lastly was to add colours to the designs, again, the brand identity design exercise is to ensure that Affintive and command presence within the finance planning and analysis industry.

So I chose colours that were unconventional, the primary colours being a deep orange with a complementary blue.

Overall, I would say that we have accomplished distinctiveness while commanding presence against competitors.

To visually test this I've surrounded the new Affintive logo with the big 4 logos along with the remaining big 10 logos around whilst enlarging everyone's logos to be 25% times larger than Affintive.

Positioning the services

As seen from Red Beak/Yuzu's website, there are many offerings and services that it can get overwhelming for customers due to choice fatigue. Hence, a redesign of how they present their offering by clearly cataloguing them was recommended.

Another few more rounds of discussions with stakeholders helped us narrow down the scope of their offerings. By asking them to name a specific service they do and explaining it in detail.

Every time two or more offerings do the same thing I would put them together, and eventually we were able to synthesise the offerings.

We then categorised the offerings into 3 main categories that represent the purposes of the offerings: Assemble & Optimise, Clarify & Strategise, and Implement & Execute.

Lastly, we named the 3 categories into service names that is commonly used and familiar with patrons of the industry.

Bonus: for the offering that they want to work less with, we came up with our own naming for it so as to make it slightly less appealing to customers.


Through the past few rounds of discussion we learned more about Affintive's business goals, which is to do more of the clarifying, strategising, implementation, and execution work instead of just assembling and optimising processes only.

This further justified a need to reposition as a financial planning and analysis consultancy as it shows that they handle more of the operations that Affintive want to and can do. Therefore we shifted their positioning and came up with:

Information Architecture


According to Nielsen Norman Group's report, B2B Website Usability for converting Users into Leads and Customers, it is important to have a large volume of information for customers. As most B2B web users will do a lot of research between companies before deciding to work with one.

The average period for converting is between 5 to 7 months from their first visit to the website. This is because users would also need to present their research findings to justify spending before deciding to speak with anyone. On top of that should they have an existing company serving them they would need time to change contracts.

Having more information on the website is justified through the interview as well. Therefore, we need to plan for the website to direct people to information about Affintive's offerings and processes to make information accessible and help customers understand our work processes.

The old Red Beak/Yuzu Websites had a goal of helping customers verify the legitimacy of their website, therefore their websites information architecture is simple.

To change things up we've made Call-to-Actions (CTAs) accessible in every page to either a lead generator, FAQ, or Contact page to help customers get to information faster and reach out to us easily.

We're also planning to design offering-specific FAQ pages on top of a generic one to help customers viewing a specific offering to look for related questions quickly.

Learning Points

😥  What could be improved
  • More ways to show how a change in name can help with one's business, not everyone can see long-term and appreciate the value of it as quickly.
  • I should have a better process for naming exercises, one of the issues was finding a domain name for the brand names that we wanted. My process of conducting the checks was too manual and only found a simpler process near the end
👍  What was great
  • The brand identity designs were satisfactory on the first attempts which was great not only for me but for the client as they mentioned that I completely understood the assignment.
  • The roadmap was helpful for the client to see how each parts of the project would pan out and work. They appreciated the attention to detail for planning
  • The blue ocean chart and sales funnel had always been something they knew in the back of their head but they are glad to have a projection out along with a visual to see the outcomes.
😮  What was unexpected
  • The naming exercise spanned over a total of 2.5 months because they were unsure on whether to move on from the old name. It could be good to bring out case studies at earlier stages of the exercise. There is a very strong attachment to the Red Beak name as it was also probably something that the stakeholders came up with. They wanted it to be theirs.
  • Customers told Affintive that they rejected other accounting firms because of how they were serving them. Emphasising that Affintive really cared about what they wanted.
  • They had a really large amount of offerings more than they had shared on Red Beak/Yuzu website. Categorising them took some time as well, because I had to understand what each service did and learnt more about their business from them.

Phase 3b :  Implementation part 2

When plans change abruptly 😱

Affintive stakeholders suddenly received an opportunity to be featured in a conference and get an award at the same time in January. They reached out to me saying they needed to get a website with the new brand done by then.

This came to a point where I had to balance between building a website that will address the pain points of interview participants and building a website to help new customers see when they attend the conference.

Both would bring in more customers and my decision was to still build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) where people could at least understand a bit more about the offering and have an easier time navigating through their website to contact them.

Replan to work behind the scenes

‍As I had to hire a web developer and illustrator to help with the website I had to check on the schedule of the stakeholders, developer, and illustrator.

Plans were changed to get things started earlier for the developer and since the illustrator cannot commit we had scheduled for the illustrator to come later for the official launch. I will be doing the MVP illustrations. I also had to ensure that the stakeholders would be ready to receive feedback so we can get things going fast and address their concerns early.

The remaining will have to be done while the MVP is live.

Website

Web Design
We had to prioritise what changes had to be made for the website first. In this case for an MVP what would make sense would be:
  • The new offerings need to be catalogued clearly in their services page, we will develop the information in the future
  • The home page needs to share more about their offerings and processes
  • Contact page needs to have a form and scheduler to book a call for ease of accessibility.
  • It should be fluid across all device platforms
To speed up the process because of the tight timeline most of the lo-fi wireframes were designed by sketching on papers to get the ideas out quickly before transferring them into the prototypes.

Unfortunately my illustrator was unable to do the rush job and do not wish to change the timeline. So I had to do the illustrations myself, which ended up taking quite a bit of time as well.
Web Development
I reached out to another developer to assist with the rush job as the previous idea was to code things out and make it as customisable as possible.

However, the new plan was to use a web builder temporarily. If things work out then we might consider using the web builder platform all the way until new innovations come out that require coding out our own site.

In the meantime after much consultation and reviews we have decided to use Wordpress and Siteground for our web server temporarily.

We managed to buy the domain name a while back during the naming exercise so we could just plug everything in.

Bugs were discovered within the first week and we troubleshooted them, the Calendly plug-in was one that took awhile to be integrated.

Since the web designs took some time we ended up delaying the whole project including the development. Especially for the responsive views in mobile and tablet.


Unfortunately we did not meet the required deadline and delayed by two weeks, thankfully the client was not heavily disappointed. Nonetheless we did a soft launch at the end of the 2nd week of January 2022.

Web Development

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Illustration

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Learning Points

😥  What could be improved
  • Find ways to plan responsive and fluid designs, it took up too much time despite sending the web view designs to develop first.
  • In the future consider developing an MVP first as part of the plan or roadmap to avoid such last minute disasters.
👍  What was great
  • Despite the rush job, I coordinated the web development and got everything up and ready even though we didn't hit the deadline.
😮  What was unexpected
  • Bug management needs to be more predictable and rigorous testing on our side needs to be done.

Phase 4 : Present Situation

Where we are now 🙏

It's been a tough 9 months working with Affintive on their merger, rebrand, and website. Nonetheless, there is a lot more we have to do. In this phase we look at where we are now and what to do next.

What Now

Things to be done
With the website only half done, more work will be done behind the scenes as we monitor the traffic. Firstly content development for the website needs to be worked on, so testimonials and case studies will be prioritised.

Next we will also have to continue developing FAQ pages and the contact form to allow for a dropdown selection of options and choices for customers to select from.

Then we will also have to finish the offering descriptions that we were unable to complete in the past.

Lastly, we will need to then focus on the lead generators to develop content that will attract customers to further invest in the sales funnel process.
Customer Impact
  • Website traffic has been up by at least 300% for unique visitors
  • Existing clients felt that the rebrand was very satisfactory and are excited to be working with them still
  • There have been at least 8 new clients since the launch
  • Stakeholders have mentioned increased clarity in communicating their brand to others

What's Next

Aside from the list of things to do above we definitely have a lot more things in plan for Affintive.

Firstly, we have to decide when we want to conduct more customer/user interviews to test the feasibility and usability of the website and new brand. This will help us gather more insights on the brand and their website.

Next, with "new offerings" we should also conduct interviews with potential customers to understand how best to convey these ideas to them or discover new insights about their perspectives on these services.

This will lead us to dive deeper into each offering and discovering how we can create innovative products/services as well as improve the background process of the service for internal stakeholders as well.

Learning Points

😥  What could be improved
  • Find new key metrics to measure impact and help others to understand better.
👍  What was great
  • Web traffic has increased and more customers are contacting Affintive after visiting the website.
😮  What was unexpected
  • Customers go to the website but end up going to LinkedIn to reach out to the stakeholders to enquire further.
Webflow
Brand Designer
Apr 2014 - Mar 2015
Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean.

Phase 4b : What's next

What the future holds

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

User Interviews

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Web analytics check

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Content Strategy

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Implementing new sales funnels

To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Assumptions

What we got wrong?
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Learning Points

What we got wrong?
To get alignment amongst stakeholders and uncover objectives, a discovery workshop spanning 2 half days was conducted to state brand attributes, target audiences, touchpoints, and business alignment goals. It is intended to be fast-paced to build a foundation and for iteration along the way.

Thank you so much for reading!🙇

If you like what you see and want to work together, get in touch!

Bricetwc@gmail.com



Still interested? See more of my works below:
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