Black Rhino Weighs In: Big Brothers' Re-Branding

Black Rhino Weighs In: Big Brothers Big Sisters' Re-Branding

OCTOBER 26, 2018

The Big Brothers Big Sisters program recently issued a press release to roll out their re-branding and volunteer recruitment campaign. Their new website can be found here.

Here's what the Black Rhino Marketing team had to say on the matter...

Andrea, Managing Director

The idea of new branding is a positive step into the future. The Big Brothers Big Sisters brand has been somewhat stale for a while now, and has needed a fresh new look. Considering that they are focused on recruiting more diverse volunteers, the old purple and people logo wasn’t appealing, nor was it assisting them in their goals. However, something still feels off with the new brand. While it is fresh and new and lends itself to an ethnic interpretation, and the logo is “clever”, it doesn’t appear to match the organization’s mission and values. To me, it feels like it’s too blatant and trying to hard to convey it’s “hipness” if hipness is even a thing. It feels like a vast departure from what they do as an organization, as the colors, fonts and overall design are too graphic, too sharp and too boxy. That doesn’t convey the message of being a welcoming, safe haven for youth, and volunteers alike.   It’s a step in the right direction, but there is more work to be done.

Laurie, Communications Director

Exciting, provocative and impactful new branding that says “Now” and represents the diversity of their participants. The logo is outstanding and has meaning. Brilliant way to transition from old site to new site (that’s obviously still in the works)…i.e. they give a taste of the new branding on the old site, which directs you to the new transition site, which is essentially a scrolled landing page…while they complete the new site.

HOWEVER—the copy font is really unfortunate, as it’s virtually impossible to read the copy—it has been far too compressed to be legible, and it’s only worsened by the fact that it’s reverse. Works fine in the big headlines, but not in the small copy. The branding launch video is powerful: simple powerful people images and simple powerful words.  That’s all you need to convey the new image and message (We Defend Potential).

Soulmaz, Graphic Designer

When I checked the website, it did not mention that Big Brother is a “youth mentoring organization” (I’ve never heard of them before). The color-palette, the logo and the website, reminds me of something related to the music industry. The logo is too solid, bulky and very boxy! It is a nice logo, but not for this purpose. It needs to give you a feeling of mentoring, not dictation. It needs to be freer with more room for creativity.

I understand their concept, but it does not tell me what they have mentioned as a concept. And it is about the overall design, logo, color-pallet, and web design. It is good to update the brand, but in my opinion, this new transformation is too modern for this matter.

Jeff, Project Manager

More proof that we’ve entered an era of re-branding. But this is an example of re-branding gone right! I find the logo to be fresh and inspiring. I love logos that subtly, but strongly convey the message of the business, similar to the “secret” FedEx arrow. The “lower b” and “complete the B” aspects tell you exactly what Big Brothers and Big Sisters is all about. This to me, is an improvement from the old logo, less succinct in its message yet, at the same time, too on the nose with the imagery.  The font could use some work, as I had no interest in struggling to read such skinny text, but besides that, I think this will be a very good business move. Especially considering that the Big Brother program has been on the decline in the marketing/awareness department for some time now.

Dane, Strategy Director

Smart that they realize they need to evolve, however they still need a strategy to address the following:

It's not just volunteers that are needed, they also need the young people - and unfortunately they can't sign themselves up, but need their "parents" i.e. mothers to do it. And it will most likely be "mothers" signing up the young people, not "moms" - there's a distinct difference. Or grandparents will be signing up the young people, they made no mention of that. They are going to need an effective message to resonate with these 2 distinct groups, as well as with the young people in order for them to really want to participate - as much they are with the volunteers

Not sure of the average age a little brother/sister comes in (thinking it might be between 10 - 13), but they may also need to consider changing the language from referring to them as "Littles" to Young People, especially if they want them to stay in the program between the ages of 14 - 18, which is age-range where young people if they do drop out are most likely to derail their potential

As far as messaging, I hope they talk to schools and even the police, as both audiences are on the front lines of seeing what happens when unguided youths don't have anyone helping them realize their potential, and likelknow what types of messages a young person who spark to to turn that around.

What are your thoughts on the new look?

Mashups: The Good, the Bad & the Why

Mashups: The Good, the Bad & the Why

OCTOBER 12, 2018

Mashups. Take one thing and another thing, mash them together, and see how it turns out. Sometimes it turns up unexpected synergies that delight the senses. Other times, crimes against humanity ensue. Let’s discuss…

Musical Mashups are usually fun. Sometimes genius. And almost always, at least an “A for Effort.” Musical Mashup successes I’d like to highlight are courtesy of Danger Mouse (the man, not the animated mouse) and Girl Talk (also a man, actually). Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, seems to have a Magical Mouse Wand that he uses to grace musical projects far and wide. One of the more inspired of which is his production of The Grey Album. You take The Beatles’ White Album, slap it on top of Jay Z’s Black Album, and it shatters into genius. I bet you never thought you’d hear John Lennon singing back up to Jay Z. (Bet John Lennon didn’t see that coming either!) But “Oh Yeah…” now you can never un-hear it and that’s a wonderful thing. Awesome album. Give it a twirl.


Next up…Girl Talk! Mr. Gregg Gillis, aka DJ Girl Talk, must have a bunch of Mensa Squirrel Ninja’s scampering around in his brain. Gosh, I’d love to take a peek in there! How did he come up with these musical collisions?? Skipping willy-nilly across genres and decades, it all magically works. If you can’t burn a ton of calories on the treadmill listening to his album, Feed the Animals, then you might as well just take another nap. (But warning! If you’re used to listening to the “radio edit” version of these songs, keep a bar of soap nearby to wash out your ears.)

So, there you have it! Two fine examples of mashups gone right. Now…Q: Where do mashups go wrong?

A: In the cereal aisle of the grocery store. Why, why, WHY, would you make Chocolate Lucky Charms?!? Or Frosted Flake Lucky Charms?? Not good. Not good at all. These cereals are pushing the gastric envelope already with sugar crusted oat-shapes bouncing around a bevvy of pastel-hued marshmallows. So why is this happening?

I believe it’s happening because the cereal brands fear that their typical consumer has the attention span of a flea. This is generally true. (Could it be, perchance, from ingesting said pastel marshmallows? Hmmm?). Today’s children do seem to be inundated with such a barrage of constant audio and visual stimulation that it makes sense manufacturers might think this could affect their taste buds. I mean there’s even Swedish Fish Oreo cookies and gum that changes flavors two or three times as you chew it. (Forget George Orwell…Willy Wonka saw the future!)

But I think we’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Being a loyal fan of the mighty Cheerio (toasty-oaty-goodness in a bowl), perhaps I’m out of touch with the cereal needs of today’s youth. But there’s something to be said about preserving the original. Most of the classic “sugar cereal” varieties have been around for decades with their original formula and branding. Well, except for the you’re-not-fooling-anybody switch from “Sugar Smacks” to “Honey Smacks.”

Anyway, just leave the cereal alone. Look what happened when Coke tried to be “New” and Pepsi tried to be “Clear.” It wasn’t good. (Fire up your Wikipedia, young ‘uns, if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

So, Musical Mashups? Absolutely. Cereal Mashups? Please stop. We love you just the way you are. Were. Whatever.

Our Latest Forbes Article

Our Latest Forbes Article

OCTOBER 10, 2018

So, you’ve had a breakthrough and have come up with the “next big thing” for retail. Maybe it’s a new boutique or e-commerce platform, or maybe it’s a new consumer product. Whatever the case may be, we’ve entered a new age of retail, and any business team needs to ask themselves one big question: Can we compete with Amazon?