Mighty Ally dug into the organization’s history, current realities, and stakeholder voices through a series of immersive workshops at the Kenyan operations and Austin HQ. Then we outlined a three-fold engagement across brand architecture, marketing, and partnership activations.
In most architecture projects, the aim is to build out disparate products and services within a cohesive multi-part structure: a branded house or house of brands. In this case, we identified there was truly just one brand – no need for sub brands or muddling the organization beyond a single nonprofit business.
With countless potential target audiences, we pinpointed the top three and developed personas, value props, and a set of features, advantages, and benefits for each. Then established three core uniques no one else could claim: Ubuntu Life was a locally led nonprofit business; with integrated production; and multiple ways to engage – from a stop in the Cafe, to ordering shoes online, to buying coffee at a Whole Foods.
To keep interaction points cohesive, we locked down key attributes: everything Ubuntu Life must be proudly Kenyan with 100% ethical and connected production at an upper mid-market price point. Partner brands needed limits too: companies with a demonstrated commitment to good and the same price sweet spot. Even as a nonprofit, Ubuntu Life had to shoulder the responsibility of looking and acting like a fashion brand.
We wrapped it all in an authentic brand personality – a mix of Creator and Lover archetypes – to highlight their deep spiritual connection to humanity and desire to make things of enduring value. This identity became the framework for the go-to-market strategy, the compass for production and services, and a concept the entire Ubuntu Life team could rally around.
To take this new brand to the world, we proposed adding ‘Life’ to the official name, differentiating from other Ubuntus (a huge SEO upside) and leaning into an emerging tagline of ‘life in every…’ stitch (products), cup (coffee), drop (water). We also recommended unifying the entire brand – products and programmatic impact alike – under a single website.
Since marketing efforts had previously been disconnected at best, we knew a look at analytics would yield a number of insights. A marcom overhaul isn’t needed as often as optimization, so we gave Ubuntu Life a new mantra: “do 10 things 10% better” instead of trying to hit 100% on a single effort or two. We sliced web data, email metrics, social media reports, and ecommerce stats – a critical step before we ever make tactical recommendations.
The data gathered and insights gleaned likely won’t apply to readers of this study. But needless to say, we proved yet again British economist Ronald Coase was right: “if you torture the data long enough, it will confess.”
Interesting nuggets though: a majority of web traffic to the Cafe page came from a search for Ubuntu coffee (a coffee landing page was needed, stat); the RED campaign drove 40% of referrals, but there was no dedicated purchase path to convert; and 59% of site entrants came through product sub pages and missed the mission narrative entirely.
In a fascinating realization: Kenyans comprise 4-5x more of the audience on social than web or email, with Facebook the best channel to reach locals. Ubuntu Life’s marcom mix not only needed to consider its personas, but where each lives as well. And be sure to speak with their authentic Kenyan voice, in a quest to become a prominent Kenyan fashion brand.
Finally, to translate theoretical brand archetype work to real-world recommendations, we scrutinized a year of social posts to classify which images and content met our Creator + Lover pairing vs. those that missed the mark. Instagram photo of a solitary lion in the distance? Too independent and Explorer. But a photo of two elephants wrapping their trunks? Classic Lover. A Facebook ad of a handbag by a fountain? Too high-end and Ruler. But an ad featuring a Maker Mum with the bag in front of a sewing machine? Perfect Creator.