Develop is a web-based service from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, offering training and quality improvement tools to support early learning and care professionals. By working to improve professional development, this service improves kindergarten-readiness and thus the overall quality of life for children across the state of Minnesota.
As the only creative on an internal team of government program, policy, and data specialists, I lead the team through the development of this brand. The project began with an intense research phase, followed by an ideation phase. I pitched four unique and well-suited brand concepts, provided a recommendation, and asked the team to weigh each and choose one. Moving forward with the “Total Tool” concept, the team then weighed a number of potential names for the brand, and elected one of my naming idea: “Develop”. We all agreed, “Develop” best-represents the brand-goals of promoting early childhood development, continuous quality improvement, and professional development principles.
I saw the remainder of the project through a unique branding process, including brand strategy, crafting a brand persona (how Develop feels, sounds, and speaks to the audience), and designing the visual brand signals (including icons, pictograms, patterns, colors, typography, custom numerical type, web design, wireframes, and art directed photography styles). My goal was to create a unique, robust brand personality to consistently win over the audience. Stakeholder buy-in continues to be extremely strong, especially compared to our other state-sponsored programs, which proves the success of my goals for this brand.
My long term ambition for this project is to see it serve as an example of government embracing branding as the vital foundation that it is. I believe branding promotes gains in audience awareness, trust, satisfaction, and overall customer service. This is proven in the private sector, and Develop has proven it for the public sector as well. My dream is to see the success of branding applied to all government and non-profit programs, which dutifully work to improve the lives of those they serve.
Branding has proven, time and time again, to create psychological bridges of trust over gaps between entities that seem to sometimes be at odds; the corporation and the consumer, the government and the citizen. Minnesota has the opportunity to cut costs, while simultaneously providing better service to our citizens, by using branding as it has been successfully implemented by the private industry for nearly a century; to connect our state government's products and services to the individuals we are trying to reach.
In 2014, Develop was nominated for the Governor’s Continuous Quality Improvement Awards.