AssetShield: Creating A Brand from Square One

 

My research not only helped shape the content mix, but it actually revealed an entirely new (and lucrative) market opportunity. If you want to know what my process is like, read the creatio ex nihilo story below.

When I started, the company didn’t even have a name yet…

AssetShield was conceived when the founder’s neighbor lost his priceless baseball card collection in a fire – and there were no surviving records of what he owned, or what condition it was in. It was a total loss.

AssetShield was conceived when the founder’s neighbor lost his priceless baseball card collection in a fire – and there were no surviving records of what he owned, or what condition it was in. It was a total loss. 

 

THE CHALLENGE:

When I started, the company didn’t even have a name yet…

AssetShield was conceived when the founder’s neighbor lost his priceless baseball card collection in a fire – and there were no surviving records of what he owned, or what condition it was in. It was a total loss. 
 
Then the various devastating hurricanes and floods hit the New York area, and people who owned valuable antiques, collectible, art, etc., saw them washed away or ruined by salt water. Paper records fused into a solid lump, and even people who had created digital records, found out that they were of little use when they were on memory sticks stored in safety deposit boxes … that were destroyed when water flooded the basements of the banks. 
 
The founder and his tech team spent months building a secure cloud-based record-keeping system; the back-end was bulletproof, but now they needed to build the entire customer-facing presence. There wasn’t even a name yet for this company, and I went through an entire branding process with them, to find a name/URL combination that not only described what the company did — but that wasn’t already taken. (Sample dialogue: “How ’bout ‘CloudRecord’?” “Nope. Taken.” “AssetCloud?” “Taken.” “CloudVault?” “Gone.” “Arrrggh!”)
 
Eventually, we settled on AssetShield, and then set about designing the logo and the tagline “Your fortress in the cloud for all your assets.” (Check out the artboard to the right, with the various color treatments – I tried to work in the blue color, not only to bring in the sky/clouds feel, but also because blue is a soothing color, and the whole motivation for AssetShield is to give users peace of mind.) 
 
The main idea there was to combine some kind of cloud imagery, along with the idea of security. We experimented with a safe, open to reveal a cloudscape, a safe floating in the clouds … but we really wanted to emphasize the whole idea of defending your assets. 
 
Thus, the shield. 
Value Proposition Expressed Via Text and Graphics Choices

It turns out that the initial focus on sports memorabilia, while compelling, was shortchanging the need in the much larger market of high-end art collecting.

We were looking for an interior that looked like is was well-designed – without being overly cluttered or intimidating. It needed to be clean, so as not to distract from the messaging.

After the initial “aspirational” sliders that sell the advantage, we needed to hammer home the alternative; the downside of not having a cloud-based system. After all, everyone hates paperwork, right?

This is just a test

Background: the development of AssetShield

assetshield logo treatments

Once we settled on the name for the service, I had to come upWhen I started, the company didn't even have a name yet...with a logo that expressed security + cloud + digital.

 
Then the various devastating hurricanes and floods hit the New York area, and people who owned valuable antiques, collectible, art, etc., saw them washed away or ruined by salt water. Paper records fused into a solid lump, and even people who had created digital records, found out that they were of little use when they were on memory sticks stored in safety deposit boxes ... that were destroyed when water flooded the basements of the banks. 
 
The founder and his tech team spent months building a secure cloud-based record-keeping system; the back-end was bulletproof, but now they needed to build the entire customer-facing presence. There wasn't even a name yet for this company, and I went through an entire branding process with them, to find a name/URL combination that not only described what the company did -- but that wasn't already taken. (Sample dialogue: "How 'bout 'CloudRecord'?" "Nope. Taken." "AssetCloud?" "Taken." "CloudVault?" "Gone." "Arrrggh!")
 
Eventually, we settled on AssetShield, and then set about designing the logo and the tagline "Your fortress in the cloud for all your assets."  As you can see in the artboard, with the various color treatments - I tried to work in the blue color, not only to bring in the sky/clouds feel, but also because blue is a soothing color, and the whole motivation for AssetShield is to give users peace of mind.
 
The next challenge was researching the core users, and taking what I learned from that process and applying it to the content, look and feel of the site. It had to be compelling enough to motivate visitors to sign up for the service - but friendly enough so that they wouldn't be turned off. 
Research: "Who are our users anyway?"
Now that we had a name, logo, and basic concept for what we wanted the site for AssetShield to accomplish, I had to start figuring out what we needed to do to have maximum impact – without scaring away our users. But to do that, I was going to need to get to know the target market a whole lot better.
 
Right off the bat, I realized that the initial target market had to be high-net-worth individuals. Yes, everybody should have a record of the contents of their house, But not everybody is going to be able to afford an entire team with cameras and computers to come in, ransack every square inch of the house, take high-quality photos, and categorize and tag everything of value, so it can be cross-indexed and found in a secure cloud-based database. 
 
So I dug in, and started researching what these people would be like.
Ethnographic Research
I found some major characteristics:
 

The overlap here is small, but potentially quite lucrative.

1. Age: 45-70, but most commonly in late 50s
2. Gender: male, but the purchasing decisions are either made, or heavily influenced by the wife
3. Motivation(s): protecting the household possessions; leaving a clear legacy to children of who gets what; sense of ‘tidiness’ in having all records in one place
4. Objection(s): distrust of technology; fear of hackers or theft of information; preference for ‘tried and true’ solutions
5. Decision-making: relies heavily upon word of mouth from peers; pays attention to authoritative sources in high-end magazines
6. Turn-ons: loves finer things in life, such as art, antiques, wine collection, classic cars
7: Turn-offs: complex solutions that demand their attention; “hard sell” from salesmen; scenarios that rely too much on “doom and gloom.”
8. Environment: if running a business, constantly pressed for time; if retired, then constantly fending off charities & causes; very suspicious of offers that turn out to be “too good to be true.” VERY HIGH SKEPTICISM.
 
Armed with all this, I started constructing User Personae for William Morgan and his wife, Regina. 
Constructing User Personae

At this point, I was painting in broad strokes. By this point, my relationship with the client had evolved into a very open, collaborative one. In fact, Kober often told us that our weekly check-in calls were a real highlight; he loved diving into the details with us. and we drew upon his knowledge and instincts in refining what we were doing. 

Thus, when I chose the pictures for this, I opted for something of a whimsical visual shorthand: see if you can recognize the “William Morgan” and “Regina Morgan” that I used. They are both quite famous, albeit in different ways. 

ACTIONS:

Research: who are are our users, anyway?

 
Now that we had a name, logo, and basic concept for what we wanted the site for AssetShield to accomplish, I had to start figuring out what we needed to do to have maximum impact – without scaring away our users. But to do that, I was going to need to get to know the target market a whole lot better.
 
Right off the bat, I realized that the initial target market had to be high-net-worth individuals. Yes, everybody should have a record of the contents of their house, But not everybody is going to be able to afford an entire team with cameras and computers to come in, ransack every square inch of the house, take high-quality photos, and categorize and tag everything of value, so it can be cross-indexed and found in a secure cloud-based database. 
 
So I dug in, and started researching what these people would be like.
 
I found some major characteristics:
 
  1. Age: 45-70, but most commonly in late 50s
  2. Gender: male, but the purchasing decisions are either made, or heavily influenced by the wife
  3. Motivation(s): protecting the household possessions; leaving a clear legacy to children of who gets what; sense of ‘tidiness’ in having all records in one place
  4. Objection(s): distrust of technology; fear of hackers or theft of information; preference for ‘tried and true’ solutions
  5. Decision-making: relies heavily upon word of mouth from peers; pays attention to authoritative sources in high-end magazines
  6. Turn-ons: loves finer things in life, such as art, antiques, wine collection, classic cars
  7. Turn-offs: complex solutions that demand their attention; “hard sell” from salesmen; scenarios that rely too much on “doom and gloom.”
  8. Environment: if running a business, constantly pressed for time; if retired, then constantly fending off charities & causes; very suspicious of offers that turn out to be “too good to be true.” VERY HIGH SKEPTICISM.
Armed with all this, I started constructing User Personae for William Morgan and his wife, Regina. 

Site Design: make it easy, make it compelling

The design needed to catch the attention of the visitors immediately with striking images. We also needed to have a big “Call to action” button, because a certain percentage of the target audience are impulsive, and will be visiting the site on other’s recommendations, and just want to cut to the chase.
 
Under that, we needed to feature a video from the founder, explaining the benefits of AssetShield, and then a Twitter feed, next to some content explaining “Our Promise To You” right off the bat.
Share This