Bringing narrative to know-how

Sometimes expertise has its drawbacks. Once you’ve invested years in rigorous study and become totally immersed in your field, it can be incredibly hard to see things through the eyes of a layman. That ‘curse of knowledge’ was at the root of the challenge Heartstyles were facing when they took us on in 2017…

Their tools and programmes are designed to help individuals and teams understand and adjust their behaviours, driving great outcomes for their organisations. It’s an immensely powerful formula and, unsurprisingly, not one that they arrived at overnight. In fact, their development process had lasted decades – involving huge amounts of research.

As a result, founders Mara and Stephen Klemich can (and indeed have) written books about their thinking. But when you’re selling to a busy corporate audience, a tome-length pitch isn’t going to cut it…

Heartstyles had created something that could benefit any business. It fell to us to ensure that that was something anyone c-suite leader could understand.

Having put so much work into it, Heartstyles tended to make the product the focus of their story. That’s understandable, but not necessarily effective – especially when your audience aren’t going to be qualified to judge the all subtleties at play. So we decided it was time to start talking in terms of outcomes – not processes.

The implications for the existing brand were far reaching. The existing tone – which had a tendency to rely on homespun idioms and occasional moments of jargon – was stripped back. In its place, we crafted a voice that was clear, calm, and confident enough to explain things in the simplest possible terms.

Alongside this, we introduced a photography style that made the message more human – grounding it in real-world situations. This updated visual identity also included a highly flexible, but totally consistent set of colour palettes and thematically relevant graphic devices.

We used this new manifestation of the brand to rework the website – as well as customer-facing communications and internal materials. But it wasn’t simply a case of a cosmetic make over. We also restructured the site to ensure visitors would come away knowing not only what made Heartstyles different, but what that difference would actually look and feel like within their organisation.

Ultimately, by shifting some of the focus from the ‘how’ of their offering to the ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘why’, we created a compelling narrative – encapsulated by a key copy line: “Personal development for business growth”.

Breaking new ground

Sometimes, rebranding is a process with a clear end goal. An identity is conceptualised, produced and handed over. From there, the client rides off into the sun – equipped with everything they need to continue along the path we’ve set out together. In this case, there was no such parting of ways.

Since coming on board we’ve continued to collaborate with Heartstyles to build out their marketing capacity. And it’s been a journey with some interesting turns. Once an exclusively B2B proposition, the business recently entered the consumer market. This move was spearheaded by the launch of the founders’ book ‘Above the Line: Living and Leading with Heart’.

This landmark project represents just one aspect of the content-led strategy that has seen the brand raise its profile and radically diversify its client portfolio. Together with the Heartstyles team, we have broken into new sectors and expanded into new countries, with the brand now active in 131 countries around the world.