Poki | brand strategy & identity (part 1)
Role: Brand Strategist & Design Director
For Poki, an online gaming platform currently serving 30M+ monthly active users, I worked extensively with the two founders and the rest of the young team to rethink and clearly articulate their brand, their business and their beliefs. Together, we arrived at the idea of positioning Poki as 'an online playground for kids of all ages' – The Platform for Play.
During a 3-week work retreat in Thailand (our own version of Stefan Sagmeister's sabbatical), I worked with the complete internal team to formulate a shared vision, mission and other essentials, and turned this into a concise motivational brand brief. From thereon, the rapidly growing team can align around a strong brand essence, and start thinking and talking about Poki in a consistent way – a requirement before pushing forward and grow the brand internationally.
When the essence was becoming more clear, I started defining our brand and design values – and find ways to align around this with visuals, workshop sessions and other tools. Getting everyone ready for this change was perhaps the hardest, but essential – it really took some effort and guts to transition from that familiar, traditional (but frankly also very indistinct and quite boring) corporate entity we were back then, into the playful, sparkling and alive young new kid on the block.
Style guide & assets
Next, I made this new identity come alive through an online brand guide. Together with an awesome visual designer at Finish digital agency Evermade, I created a lot of ready-to-use brand assets, like logos, patterns, documents templates and presentation decks. This turned out to work extremely well: all teams to deliver more distinct, consistent and high-quality work, making a little splash in our 'scene' by really standing out from the crowd.
At first, Poki wasn't ready to change their full company site (as it was just built a year before I got involved), so I started testing and refining our new identity at several strategic places. Because I was realising that job postings are a very important "entry point" in the funnel, I moved the career section away from our main site and quickly redesigned this to be able to better tell our story.
By switching to Homerun, and using all of their nifty tools and tricks, I could show potential new hires who we truly are – right from the front door. For this to work, I really had to lead by example so I rewrote all of the main copy in our new tone of voice and updated all design-related job descriptions into a new snappy format.
This effort didn't go unnoticed: people started to look at jobs and applications more often, our office manager could participate in the flow and even became responsible for keeping the visual content up-to-date. The founders and rest of the team started spending time to update the rest of the vacancies to really reflect who we're looking for. Best of all, people coming in for interviews are now much more aligned with the story, the vision and the profile we're looking for. We even started to receive compliments from applicants!
The overall effect of these efforts? So far we started to become recognised, both by end-users, clients and partners and accelerated our growth in brand recognition even faster than we could ever imagine (i.e. 300% growth in branded searches within half a year). We were able to grow both our company, our team and revenues in a very competitive time and market. We even started signing new business from the premier league (pun intended) that we could only have dreamed of before. And most importantly, we are now able to tell a unified story, and work fast towards a shared vision – together.
More soon in part 2…