Defining and launching ARK’s new brand
Supporting affordable housing providers
ARK is an established market leader in consultancy services for housing associations and local authorities.
For more than 30 years, they have supported organisations to achieve excellent performance and deliver and maintain the high-quality homes residents deserve.
With a new vision in place, ARK appointed us to help them update their brand and website accordingly, providing a platform for continued growth.
Having worked with ARK and several of its clients before, we were already aware of the challenges and opportunities the organisation faces.
Head of Business Development, Ruth Brown, approached us to help them develop a new visual identity in time for the industry housing conference in Manchester in June 2023.
From a standing start, we worked with colleagues across the business to update their:
· Brand and identity
· Website (www.arkconsultancy.co.uk)
· Suite of materials to support the brand roll out from day 1
We spent the first six weeks researching the sector, seeking feedback from clients and contacts and working with the team to understand ARK’s position and where it would like to be. This insight was essential in shaping the branding options that followed.
Market analysis - clients and competitors
We use an insight driven approach, so our first port of call was to check out the competition.
Our content writer, Jasmine, spent time scrutinising similar organisations, focusing on their website, brand presentation and offering. We then made suggestions based on this analysis, presented at the workshop.
We also conducted a survey shared with a select number of contacts to understand their experiences and perceptions of ARK. The responses received were incredibly helpful in shaping future discussions and providing recommendations for areas for ARK to focus on in its brand development.
Brand sprint workshop
We spent half a day with the team at their Birmingham office, presenting our findings and encouraging a discussion about who the ARK team are, and how they want to be known.
Through guided discussion, it became clear that ARK wanted to highlight their expertise at the heart of what they do, whilst exuding friendliness and approachability in their brand personality.
In the afternoon, we took the opportunity to launch the planning stage of our website work with them. We confirmed their site map and discussed required functionality for us to begin the planning process.
As a team, we consolidated our learnings and feedback from the workshop. We developed four options for a new look and feel ARK logo and branding. We presented three different initial options, which then drove the direction of the new brand guidelines.
The new branding included logo, colours, typography and strapline, with fresh guidance on photography style and illustrations.
The direction chosen mirrored ARK’s ethos of warm professionalism and builds positively on the strong platform the company has established over the last 30 years.
With the new branding established, we progressed work on the website over a two-month period.
The ARK team provided content and we worked in close collaboration with Ruth’s colleagues to ensure it was cohesive and in line with the newly established branding and tone of voice. Our creative team designed each page, and once approved we worked with our web design associate, Tom, on the web development.
Accessibility, mobile optimisation and performance testing were of fundamental importance to the build, and with good reason. These are the site elements which make the first impressions to users and search engines for rankings.
His build ensured a smooth user experience, with a smart presentation and features to enable users to sign up for events and book appointments with colleagues and demos of products.
“We are delighted with our refreshed brand and website. It is already helping us to generate new leads”
Ruth Brown, Head of Business Development, ARK
Building the brand suite
As the website design and the build progressed well, our attentions turned to further establishing the new ARK branding and rolling it out across key documents and the guidelines booklet. Key elements of work included:
- Brand guidelines: We created a user-friendly including all technical, creative and written guidelines, to ensure consistency of brand and tone across all members of the team, documents and media.
- Social media assets were created to create a consistent look across ARK’s social media platforms, with templates set up to support future posts.
- Reports and proposal documents were formalised, ready for easy use for all members of staff.
Getting ready for Housing 2023
Our activity culminated in the successful launch of the new brand and website in readiness for the start of the Housing 2023 Conference. We also supported ARK’s presence at the event by designing their stand, banner and adverts in Inside Housing magazine.
The brand received great feedback from the housing conference and the client is thrilled with the end result. Our work has helped to provide clarity and consistency to the business’ communications activity while helping ARK to stand out in a competitive marketplace.
What the client said
“We are delighted with our refreshed brand and website. It is already helping us to generate new leads and we have received lots of positive feedback. The Distinctive team worked in a really collaborative way with us which allowed us to achieve our aims.”
Thinking of repositioning?
We’d love to work with you to get to the heart of who you are and make it part of your story. Get in touch to discuss further with us.
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