aligning with new leadership
Blue Harbor Benefits
formerly Academy Financial Benefits Solutions
The organization, originally called Academy Financial Benefit Services, came to us looking for a fresh start. Several partners had recently been bought out and the brand message was no longer relevant.
Building a Strong Foundation
Adashmore Creative values a holistic approach. We started by examining the operations of the organization. Through a variety of exercises, we gained an understanding of the business model and different target audience segments.
Deciding on a New Name
The name “Academy Financial Benefits Services” related to the previous owner’s experiences in the military. Most of the customers associated the business with specific individuals rather than the brand name. There were also other local organizations in the area that used “Academy” in their business name.
We collected key players and facilitated a creative brainstorming exercise. After a few rounds of elimination and discussion on perceptions, we narrowed it down to Blue Harbor Benefits.
Research on Google and the USPTO helped finalize the decision for this name. We made sure that we’d be able to purchase a relevant domain, optimize for the business name, not be easily confused with other businesses in the area, and that the copyrights to use this name weren’t taken. Since nothing stood out, the team decided to move forward.
Creating a New Look
With a new name and clearly defined brand personality, we started creating the visuals. Given the name, using the color blue was a natural choice. We also identified secondary colors, typography, and visuals. It was important to showcase some nautical elements as it relates to the Chesapeake region, but not go overboard. We didn’t want them to look like a marine services company.
Beyond those elements, we wanted to showcase the team. The major takeaway from our exercises was the personal aspect of the business and how hard the team fights for their clients’ best interest. The team’s synergies and energies needed to shine.
The final logo reflects a changing of tides and the protection of a harbor. Business cards, letterhead, and envelopes are clean and professional.
Getting the Message Right
Like any professional services firm, the offerings aren’t that different from someone else. Particularly in the employee benefits space, there is only so much that can be done on price or scope of offerings. Regulations are fun like that.
With that in mind, we focused on the aspect that’s truly unique to Blue Harbor Benefits – their team and its approach to customer service. The overall messaging needed to feel personal, not corporate. We collected strong testimonials from clients, asked staff for quotes, and made sure team photos were showcased throughout the site.
Building a New Website
This is where it started….
Needless to say, there was ample room for improvement. Before we got started, we researched countless competitors. We looked at more boutique local firms, both in their market and nationwide. National competitors were also reviewed for how they organized content. The range of quality was astonishing.
Starting with a clean slate was the best approach. We knew the goals were for 1) people to easily understand what services were offered 2) to create a memorable, personal experience and 3) make sure it was easy to get in touch with someone.
We developed calls-to-action for speaking directly with benefits directors, not sales people. Visitors are encouraged to reach out with questions, not to request a quote. Navigation is very streamlined and clearly identifies two major customer groups: individuals and businesses. We also put in quick links towards areas customers regularly need.