Founded 25 years ago to serve members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Homestead Funds’ roots run deep. Recently, the company’s audience and growth objectives shifted, necessitating a refreshed brand and website.
During initial interviews with employees at the company’s Arlington, Virginia offices, we discovered Homestead’s personality was homespun, honest and approachable. “Any time we can have a touch point with a smile a handshake, that helps us,” one interviewee said. The company’s core affinity market investor was sincere, “salt-of-the-earth” and interested in long-term investments. Homestead’s employees see themselves as part of the very audiences they serve, sharing their values and goals. After compiling our research report, we created the brand based around four pillars: Rooted, Prudence, Family and Trust. These became the cornerstones of the new brand.
We began by creating a new logo for Homestead. After presenting three options, the company selected a logo based on a quilt pattern. An effective logo distills a company’s personality into a single, meaningful image. The Homestead logo’s basic elements—crossing lines—call to mind an electrical tower, being viewed from the bottom looking up. This is a meaningful nod to the company’s affinity market.
We then used the previously established core values to inspire a color palette for the website and marketing collateral, with each shade matching a different attribute: red is rooted, green represents prudence, yellow symbolizes family and blue shows trust. The colors themselves are rich, warm, and inviting, furthering the company’s compassionate personality. Using those colors as a base, we conducted a search for Americana-inspired images to use throughout the materials. “Leibowitz’s outsider perspectives of our brand were incredibly valuable,” said Laura Tillman, Marketing Communications Manager at Homestead. “We were used to communicating a certain way and couldn’t see some of what they saw immediately.” The result is an accurate visual representation of Homestead.
After the elements were in place, we moved on to brand implementation. We wrote and designed ads introducing the new brand, and created a full suite of marketing collateral that included fact sheets, pitch books and business cards. We also designed and built the front and back end of a WordPress-based responsive website featuring well-organized fund content and compelling images. Throughout the process, our account team worked with Homestead to ensure everything was completed efficiently. “Leibowitz’s project managers were responsive, flexible, efficient and detail-oriented,” Tillman said. “We didn’t lose sight of work because they all, each of the players, knew where we were in the pipeline.”
With the website, Homestead will be able to better communicate with financial advisors, its fastest-growing audience segment, while continuing to inform its existing investors. To achieve this we applied strategic direction every step of the way to ensure the information was organized and displayed in ways various site visitors could easily understand.
The result is a compelling brand supported by a beautiful, easy-to-use web presence, and a refreshed and well-organized collateral system. Armed with these tools, we’re sure Homestead is in for a great 2015.
To see more of the work we conducted for Homestead, read our case study.