Launching a community-led brand with designer Steph Marshall

< back to blogs

Just over a year ago, we launched the Impact Digital brand at a wee celebration with some of our friends and closest supporters, but I never really shared much about the meaning or story behind the designs. So to mark the one-year brand-iversary of Impact Digital and a colour palette spruce up, I caught up with our original designer, Steph Marshall from Studio Monday. Knowing the importance of community for Impact Digital and seeing it rise in the narratives around us, I posed this topic for conversation. Here's what Steph had to say.

What would be your top tips for anyone launching a brand that values community?

I think it’s kind of important to start the conversation by considering a) what community means to you, b) how it feels to be part of a community, and c) what the characteristics of a good community are. For me, a community is a support network and system whereby you’re in a group of like-minded individuals experiencing similarities in life - whether based on location, emotion, interests or nationality. 

Getting to know other women in business.

Knowing your audience

My first tip would be to know your audience. I know this might seem like an idea people love to throw around but I mean really know them on a deeper level - who is your community for and who do you want to be a part of that community? 

What are their pain points and how can you support them? What are your shared values and non-negotiables? I would have this close by at all times, maybe printed on the wall to look back at when you’re making moves with your business. Knowing your community will guide your decisions moving forward about the brand and eventually graphics. 

A safe, cosy spot to celebrate.

Purposeful design

Any brand-related graphic decision needs to serve your audience. By this I mean, when you’re choosing colours for example, choose colours that will evoke the right response from your audience. The purpose of graphics is to visually represent the brand you are building and support the intended feeling for your audience. This also filters through your font choices and logo design and the whole look and feel. It really needs to be connected to what you are trying to create.

The koru in our logo and design motif represent how we connect creatively in communities - inspired by the wild west coast of Tāmaki Makaurau, our tūrangawaewae, the place we call home.

Consistency and showing up

When you’re building something like a community-based brand, you’re in some way serving and supporting your audience and to do this there needs to be trust and to build trust you have to show up - consistently and incredibly reliably. It’s probably the simplest sounding but hardest to do. 

If you show up in a flurry of motivation one week and then drop communication for a month, it can be hard for people to trust you because they might lose contact for a period of time - breaking the connection you have been building. Because it is like building a connection. And that is how you build trust, trust that you are there, present and ready to support.

Thanking Steph for her mahi!

When it all feels too much

Showing up consistently is the hardest thing to do because there will be days when you don’t feel like it, or you’ve shared something and no one has liked or commented. It can feel like a knock but you have to keep going for what you’re building. What can help is remembering the vision of what you are creating above yourself, above hard days, above days when it feels like no one cares. And when it comes to social media there are ways you can prepare for busy or low weeks.

As always it was lovely to speak with you Steph. Thank you so much for sharing your advice with us, and for anyone that's interested to check out your work we'll leave the link to Studio Monday.

also good.