We took an iterative approach to develop the overall brand vision for the VALOR campaign by drawing on early conceptual ideas, informed by secondary data and developed by the RISE team.
Limited by the obstacles brought on by the Covid pandemic, we modified the Human-Centered Design framework to fit a more streamlined approach. Using WhatsApp, we facilitated five separate chat sessions with groups of ten men – five from each of the targeted states. The men were recruited through RISE’s state teams and case managers. Using the prototypes as ‘discussion starters’, we gained additional insight to build our brand vision, positioning and to inform the brand identity.
At the outset, we believed the notion of courage to overcome fear would be an important concept to build upon. As a result, we asked men to define how they understood courage and what it meant to them. We also asked them to explore times in which they themselves had demonstrated courage.
“I think for me, [courage] is a word I could render…that men can still achieve their dreams. They need to be talked to.” Focus Group Discussion 1
VALOR as a Brand name? VALOR is an acronym (Virtually Accelerating Linkage of Men to Reframed Valor Services) and the project’s working title. However, we also knew that to reach the levels of engagement we aimed for, our brand name would need to resonate personally with a range of Nigerian men. To address the need for a strong brand name, we were intentional about asking our male target audience for their unconscious impressions, emotional associations, and potential unintended connotations, or meanings, for the brand name “VALOR.” Men said:
“Valor means strength of mind”
Focus Group Discussion 2
“Valor could mean characteristics of a man.”
Focus Group Discussion 2
We decided that the VALOR name resonated and would serve as an effective and compelling brand name for the program.
What should we call our Virtual Case Study Managers?
Drawing on experiences from the region, we thought the term navigator, coach, or buddy, might work well. However, we discovered that many men preferred the term ‘guide’. Our target audience communicated that while this person should be seen as a relatable peer, they must also be trustworthy and experienced to ‘guide’ them through the stressful nature of seeking and receiving HIV-related services.
Our target audience also expressed that most health services didn’t cater to their needs, didn’t make them feel special and in fact, made many feel uncomfortable. Taking these perceptions into account, we felt an important distinction to our VIP Guides was that they offered a custom VIP service to men.
As a result, we settled on a name for the VALOR case managers: VIP Guides.
Where we landed – VALOR Brand Vision and Identity
Our aim was to develop a brand for VALOR that utilized best practices from real-world branding and marketing frameworks. That meant creating a brand that has a clear vision; one that resonates with our target audience and is brought to life — through carefully designed and crafted communication materials, in a way that is both aligned with the brand vision and uniquely engaging.
Initial feedback indicated to us that our logo concept, that uses a crown as our brand icon, resonated well with men and aligned with the VALOR name and so we started from there. One insight expressed to us during the prototype sessions was that, for some men, the VALOR crown graphically represented the ‘ups and downs’ of HIV treatment and care.
We finally settled on one brand identity once the agency was contracted. Because brand execution is more than just a logo, the final brand was comprised of the three key components:
- Brand vision – a judgment free, confidential and safe space for men’s health.
- The Brand Identity including logo, tagline, color palette, font choices, etc.
- Brand Behavior which we achieved through training and support supervision for the VALOR VIP Guides that reinforced the brand vision.
Additionally, through the tagline, ‘connect with courage, no judgment’ we emphasized the key benefit to men that is both functional and emotional – that VALOR eases men’s discomfort with services and that are non-judgmental and supportive.
The final VALOR brand was integrated through all of the VALOR touchpoints: social media, online referrals, and the VALOR VIP Guide interactions.