Brand Identity Development for the Sails Training Charity trading as Seas Your Future

The Context
Seas Your Future is, as a result of this brand work, the trading name of the charity of Adventure Under Sail (AUS). AUS was formed in 2008, initially as a small charity managing funds to provide bursaries for young people undertaking sail related activities, and in 2012, becoming owner of Tall Ship Pelican of London. Its principle strategic aims are:
“….to educate young people, through the provision of sailing or sailing related activities and other training and so as to develop their physical, mental, and social capabilities so that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society and their conditions of life may be improved”.
The charity operates Pelican of London primarily as a sail training vessel for young people, and its programmes promote personal growth through Sail Training, Marine Career options and Ocean Science and environmental conservation activities.

The Client Aims

As a result of its organic growth, the Charity had a confused brand identity. It had three brand logos and lots of repetition, language styles and mixed messaging about its purpose on its website. The aims were to:

  • Provide brand clarity through the creation of a ‘Hero’ brand and two sub-brands
  • Re-design the website for accessibility by its users
  • Establish clarity on brand personality and language for marketing purposes
  • Raise the profile of the Charity and its programmes
  • Attract more clients, donors and sponsors to generate more income to channel back into youth sail training, maritime careers and ocean science initiatives

The Brand Marketing Service Engaged

To achieve the aim, the Charity commissioned the work of Lamerton Creative,  Mirabilis’ Brand Design Associate, as Lead, combined with the work of Mirabilis’ marketing and communications manager, copywriters and UX experts. Lamerton Creative also introduced into the team a website service to create a new website

Brand Marketing and Design

The Lamerton Creative-Mirabilis Team all hold the same position on Brand Marketing and Design which is: Businesses do not own their brands, their Customers do!

That’s why we employ a customer-centric approach to brand development which involves getting under the skin of a brand and what it means to their customers so that brand images, and marketing copy and collateral resonate with the audience and clients attracted to the purpose. In this case, promoting transformational personal growth and employability through sailing and marine activity.

Step 1: Brand workshop

This was the critical first part of the process, and the most important to get right, as everything else flows from it.

It involved a Lamerton Creative facilitated ‘virtual’ workshop lasting 3 - 4 hours. The Charity’s core team and its Trustees took part. The group was taken through a series of interactive questions and exercises designed to identify the ideas, words and phrases that capture the organisations’ distinctive brand personality. Mirabilis copywriting and UX lead, attended the workshop to capture and match brand language for use in copy development and brand guidelines matching the personality and design.

The result was that the Brand team got under the skin of the client beliefs, purpose, vision, values and personality to:

  • Create the corporate visual identity in all forms for website, collateral and mechandising
  • Enunciate the brand clearly and consistently for the website and other marketing collateral and channels
  • Create the framework and overall style for the future marketing

A big advantage of this workshop-led approach is that it engaged individuals in the brand building process from the very start. Key stakeholders had an important and active role in helping to shape the brand, and a real sense of ‘ownership’ over the final outcome.

Step 2: Brand creation

After the brand workshop, the Brand Designer used the ideas and concepts to interpret them visually. This happened over a 12-day period.

On the design side, this involved creating distinctive and coherent visual identity: Colourways, layouts, design style, a Hero log and two sub-brand logos. This new identity and brand style took its inspiration from real thoughts, beliefs and attitudes gathered at the workshop.

Simultaneously on the language side, the copywriter and UX expert worked to develop the elements of a distinctive brand ‘story’ – the words, phrases and ideas that now underpin all external and internal communications.

The whole process is inclusive, with ideas discussed and decisions made on final direction with the Charity’s leadership team and signed off by the Trustees.

Market Research and Analysis 

For this project the research into the market and customer base included:

  • Market Trends research focused on purchasing patterns, donor support and customer take up of skills-based training supporting the personal and employability growth of young people
  • Assessment of testimonials and feedback
  • Competitive assessment and analysis of the Charity’s competitive position in the market looking at other providers, their brand positioning and images, their offer, their websites and marketing collateral, their pricing, their position during COVID lockdown (which was topical).

All this information fed the thinking about how to differentiate the brand.

Persona Development and Customer Journey Mapping

From the market research and workshop, our UX Expert was able to develop personas for marketing to, and in particular to map journeys for each on against the needs of the newly branded and re-created website. The Personas included: Youth, Parents, Delivery and Strategic Partners, Donors, Sponsors, Volunteers and the Charity Commission. The information about all these personas was used to test the website as it was developed for ease of access to information.

Website Design and Development

From the agreed website page layout concept design the site was re-built.

The new website was built on Wordpress with additional functionalities based on our selection of premium plugins for forms, carousel, slider, navigation feature, and SEO optimization. This work involved 3 steps:

  1. Installation of a test website only viewable if connected
  2. Parameters for the form, sliders, technical elements, fine-tuning of the layout
  3. Integration of new and re-purposed content including images new/resize, style sheet creation

Following this, SEO optimisation ensured adequate security and speed optimisation

Marketing Collateral

Taking a strategic marketing approach so that marketing and web copy speaks to the customer and resonates with the brand design identity, we developed the basic elements of the distinctive brand ‘story’ – the words, phrases and ideas that underpin all external and internal communications.

We delivered:  

  • Fully developed ‘message platforms’ ready for use in all external and internal communications, website, PR and marketing
  • Distinctive language, vocabulary and tone-of-voice guidelines
  • Boiler plates (written text that can be reused in new contexts or applications without significant changes to the original)
  • Stationery items: business cards, letterheads and PowerPoint slides
  • Brand Guidelines - Including items such as usage of secondary colours for presentations, font and layout consistency, safe use of logo and usage options

 We also included in this contract an ongoing offer of coaching and training and contracted delivery for:

  • Press releases
  • Web copy
  • Social media content
  • Blogs
  • Video and/or photo storytelling
  • Maintenance of website
Outcome Please see Seas Your Future for the brand story included on the website of Seas Your Future. The brand work was within 48 hours liked by over 5000 visitors to the Pelican of London Facebook page, and we received 5 applicants in 3 days for ambassador roles that were advertised when the brand was launched. We are tracking uptake of training courses over the coming 12 months taking into account both the brand change and COVID impacts.