Retail Branding

Retail Brand Development

Online retail sales have exploded over the past decade, causing brands with primarily brick and mortar establishments to adapt in order to remain competitive. Our goal for The Bobcat Store was to conduct robust audience research to inform the development of a new logo, style guide and marketing strategy that balanced customer needs with store goals.

My small team analyzed website traffic, sales numbers, email response rates and social media engagement, and combed through peer and competitor online retail websites to complete a thematic analysis of existing brand overlap and niche insights. Using the existing data as a benchmark, we then collected audience feedback through a combination of in-depth interviews and customer surveys. Questions focused mainly on consumer behaviors, website functionality, website personality, and purchasing preferences.

Armed with the meaningful audience research conducted during discovery, my art director and I set to work developing The Bobcat Store Audience Research and Analysis Report, which contained all data collected, as well as a comprehensive thematic analysis and specific, actionable strategies for the new brand.

In addition to the final report, deliverables included a new logo, style guide, website with new product photography and content on every page, brand positioning statement and adjectives, and design templates for email, social media, print advertising, and packaging.

Role call: Audience research, analysis, strategy and brand development by Hailee Tavoian and Kailee Slusser. Visual brand, logo, photography and web design by Kailee Slusser. Website build by Neil Mohr. Brand deployment by Kate Robey, Michele Frick and Kyle Lindner.

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Social Media Consolidation

Social Media Consolidation

Communication fatigue is a real challenge for anyone aiming to connect with college students. My team undertook an 18-month project to measure online engagement across all student affairs social channels in order to effectively streamline and strategize future messaging.

pie chart detailing social media engagement by topic, such as career, involvement, services, parents, recreation, etc.
Graphic above demonstrates social media engagement over a one year period segmented by channel subject matter.

Discovery included a situational analysis of social media channels, metrics, audiences and generational uses of each platform. My team reviewed university, division and individual departmental priorities, as well as peer institution channels. Through longitudinal social listening and thematic analysis of the available data, we developed a consolidation strategy and implementation plan to reduce 72 channels down to a strong thirteen.

Each remaining channel was provided a brand positioning statement and adjectives, and design templates for stories, posts and advertising.

Students looking at phones

This project reminded me of the importance of patience during a hard slog. This type of work is often skimmed over, fast-tracked by skipping important steps, or improperly documented for the sake of time, ego or lack of by-in from leadership given the resources it requires to do it right.

I was very fortunate to have a solid team running day-to-day social logistics in addition to my strategy and analytics crew. Both are essential to properly assessing the space you want to occupy and measuring a channel’s potential for growth. Assessment takes time and resources, but it is well worth it if you hope to establish a following with any kind of longevity.

Role call: Audience research, analysis, and consolidation strategy by Steph Fiorelli, Amanda Moline and Hailee Tavoian. Student social media interns: Haley Bender, Hannah Browsky, Allan Dalton, Sami Morsink, Anna Wise.

Consolidation Outline

PlatformConsolidated ChannelsNew HandleMessaging
Instagram@ou_imsports, @ou_aquatics, @ou_campusrec, @ou_outdoor, @ou_WalterFH, @ou_birdarena, @ou_pingcenter, @ou_gtc, @ou_pingfitness, @ou_clubsports@BobcatWellBeingMental, physical, emotional and social well-being resources, stories and programs
Instagram@bobcat_depot, @thehungrycatou, @OUDining, @bobcats_helping_bobcats@OHIOFood_Campus dining features, employee stories, quick and easy recipes, and nutrition tips
Instagram@margaretboydscholars, @oueventservices, @cldc_careercloset, @ohiostuaffairs@OHIOStudentLifeCampus culture, involvement, respect, health, safety and university programs
Instagram@ohiou_housing@OHIOHousingOn-campus living, updates and resident events
Instagram@ougreeklife@OHIOGreekLifeSorority and Fraternity Life recruitment and community programs
Twitter@OHIOStuAffairs, @OHIOFoodPantry, @OhioParents, @boydscholars, @oueventservices, @BobcatDepot, @OHIOCLDC, @OU_CommServ, @OUSAP, @OHIOCSSR, @OUDining@OHIOStudentLifeCampus culture, involvement, respect, health, safety, student and university events
Twitter@OU_involvement, @OhioGreekLife, @ouperformingart@OHIOInvolvementStudent organization involvement and programming
Twitter@OU_IMsports, @OU_PingFitness, @OU_WalterFH, @OU_CampusRec, @OU_outdoor, @OU_BirdArena, @OU_Aquatics, @OU_ClubSports, @OU_PingCenter, @OU_gtc@OHIOCampusRecFitness, club sports, outdoor recreation and facility updates and events
Twitter@ohiou_housing@OHIO_HousingOn-campus living, updates and resident events
Twitter@CPS_OHIO@OHIO_CounselingMental health resources and programs
FacebookParent & Family Programs, Career Center, Bobcat Depot, Culinary Services, Dean of Students, Event Services, Margaret Boyd Scholars Program, Student AffairsOHIO Bobcat FamiliesUniversity updates for parents and families across all categories
FacebookGolf & Tennis Center, Intramural Sports, Aquatic Center, Outdoor Pursuits, Ping Center, Campus Recreation, Bird Arena, Fieldhouse, Fitness, Club SportsOHIO Campus RecreationFitness, club sports, outdoor recreation and facility updates and events
The table above outlines the consolidation breakdown by platform, original handle, new handle and messaging strategy for target audiences.

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Personas Research

Personas Research

Elusive behaviors of transient customers frequently leave marketers and the businesses they serve scratching their heads. This is why business owners often stick to targeting marketing efforts toward the most engaged customer. After all, that is the personality type you know the best. In many industries 80% of sales come from 20% of your audience. For some, this is enough. But not for me.

graphic of a plant

I want to know how that momentary customer found us, what they thought of the product and their experience, and why they haven’t been back since. Through effective research and the establishment of audience personas, businesses can understand the complexities of their customer base, and expand their reach into secondary audiences, all while continuing to keep that 20% “in the tent” base happy.

The visuals below showcase one of six personas developed for the OHIO Alumni Association. In partnership with Ologie, our team conducted pioneering, robust, qualitative and quantitative research to section and articulate audience groups, as well as identify attitudinal and behavioral elaboration likelihood for each type.

graphic contains two figures with clothing, accessories and objects that suggest they are very busy, distracted, family-oriented, hard-working and highly engaged with technology.
Illustrations created in-house by Kyle Lindner

What resulted was a greater understanding about primary and secondary audiences, as well as actionable marketing and programatic formulas for more effective segmentation and measurable engagement.

Final deliverables for the project include six audience personas with robust trait analysis, key characteristics, statistics, lifestyle and online behavioral preferences, propensity for engagement and giving, and corresponding opportunities, roadblocks, sample engagement scenarios, journey mapping and conversion pipelines.

Three roadblocks include: limited time and attention, lack of focus, and busy lives.
Three opportunities include: short, scan-able content, in need of escape, and focus on family events.
Blank worksheet to fill in engagement scenarios include space to address persona's question, habit or goal, and another space to address answer, solution or support.

The project has been used to inform future strategy and brand evolution, and enables more deliberate content development with greater audience awareness.

From the experience I learned to collaborate effectively with agency partners, as neither of us had undertaken this type of project or something to this scale before. It is unique to be on the cusp of applying what you know to be marketing best practice to an industry like higher education.

It was a project that took a great deal of time and energy, and much of the work is unseen (as strategy work often is). I was fortunate to have such a professional, energetic team of creative professionals to work with, and in the end the visualization and final report made all the difference to administrative buy-in and support of our efforts.

Role call: Audience Research conducted by Ologie, Jennifer Bowie, Hailee Tavoian. Synthesis, Content Development and Segmentation Strategy by Hailee Tavoian, Kailee Slusser, Jennifer Bowie. Original Illustrations developed in-house by Kyle Lindner.

Illustration by Kyle Lindner