In Part 1, Your Brand is NOT Your Logo, we looked at how a brand is shaped by WHO it speaks to and with.
In Part 2, we’ll look at the more tangible aspects of WHAT is the brand and HOW a brand is given life.
Once a brand Strategy & Positioning Brief is in place as a foundation, the most important asset is the brand name, visual identity and tagline. These assets communicate the brand platform through words, shapes and a call to action. These are the WHAT of the brand.
For the pride & remembrance run, the brand name itself carries over 24 years of history and a lot of meaning. Founded in 1996 in Toronto, Canada, the 5km run and 3km walk is the largest, long running and most fun pride run in Canada. The remembrance aspect of event reminds the community of where it has come from, the past challenges, struggles and lives lost, in context of the present and future celebration of pride and sport.
All that being said, the run was frequently referred to within the running community as the “pride run”. With this in mind, together with key stakeholders, we made a strategic decision to proceed with a visual identity that developed a consistent @priderunto identity through graphics and social media, supported by the use the full “pride & remembrance run” name for media mentions and full name graphic visual identity for suitable applications.
For additional consistency with the visual identity and to connect with the “friendly, fun, and social” brand values we also implemented a lower case spelling and use of the "&” in the pride & remembrance run name.
The design of the visual identity builds on the branding goals and keywords from the brief. A wide range of designs were explored, with the final design including inspiration from legacy elements (the road ribbon), and a new prominent visual (the heart).
The final brand identity system consists of more than just a logo, but also includes alternate lockups, single and multicolor applications, type, primary and secondary colors, and additional graphic elements.
As important as the brand identity is itself, consideration of the application is also important. The logo does not exist without context. This is the difference between a brand, and branding. Throughout the process, these applications were also considered. From social media overlays to way-finding and race kit elements, the brand identity is consistent and considered.
The tagline, “fun. fast. fab!” pulls directly from the input gathered in the early Strategy & Positioning process (interviews, worksheets, etc.) and reflects what the brand and event is truly about and all the different people WHO are invested in it (the inclusive family, runners, the LGBTQ+ community). As a call to action it tells you what to expect, and what promises the brand delivers on.
The next step of branding is the application of the brand to ancillary elements. This brings the brand to life. When done well, these elements strengthen the brand and echo the brand principles and values. When done poorly, it is a logo slapped on swag.
Here again, knowing your WHO, is key. For the race T, for example, we selected a non-technical fabric shirt so it is easily wearable post race for the large amount of casual runners who participate and may not wear a technical Polyester shirt often. The volunteer shirt is designed to be bright and visible, but also a fun branded keepsake item to reward volunteers. HOW considers HOW people will use the branded items as well as what the items themselves are.
In our collaboration with Eastbound Brewing Co. we created the Official pride & remembrance run beer - a light, low calorie easy to drink ale, perfect for post-run refreshment. To align the branding and graphics, fab! lite pulled from the race branding colors and custom type design. The beer was for sale pre and post race at the Eastbound bottle shop, for sale at select bars, featured at a Inside Out Film Festival Event (a pride & remembrance run 2019 Beneficiary) and every participant was entitled to a free can using their bib as drink ticket post race. The beer was also on offer at the post-race after party.
HOW is also all about considering the details. The 2019 pride & remembrance run was the first time in 24 years the event ever offered a medal. Through careful design, the medal became not only a physical, 3D embodiment of the logo, but of the spirit of the race itself.
The race medal, like the run is unique. It was designed to work with the race shirt and the bibs.
It is fun- heart shaped, extra bold and heavy.
It is fast- It is a minimal design with no words, color or extra details on the front. Reminiscent of a modern Olympic Medal Design.
It is fab- rose gold colored and a bright rainbow neck ribbon contrast with the modern branding and visual.
In sum, the branding of the pride & remembrance run was, like most projects we undertake, an integrated, strategic endeavor. Thanks to the support of the Board of Directors, partners, sponsors and beneficiaries, the run was able to exceed all registration, fundraising and revenue targets and demand for the race has been set at an all time high, leading into the 25th Anniversary for the 2020 event.
Through the course of promotion, social media followers increased more than 400% and engagement more than 1000%.