Overview

Client: Angel Fund

New Name: Exceed Network

Initiated as a support center for struggling businesses, Angel Fund has provided consulting services business clients and linked them to appropriate resources. In recent years, Angel Fund has evolved to help both “older generation” businesses and new sectors, such as technology and marketing. They have tested new programs, such as informative seminars, and a business acceleration bootcamp program. Additionally, Angel Fund is an SBA lender, but has yet to achieve the full impact of that offering.

Challenge

Goals
  • Increase number of clients from 5-10 new, qualified clients per month to 20 per month.
  • Increase the number of loans made from a few per year to a few per month.
  • Increase participation in events.
  • Increase number of volunteers.
  • Increase donations.
Perceptions
  • Change perceptions about Angel Fund’s role in the community and who can get help.
  • Eliminate the stigma about getting help from the Angel Fund.
  • Change the general understanding of how to quality for a  loan.
  • Change the perception about donating to the organization.

Marketing Strategy

Angel Funds’ goals were to maximize the impact of its various initiatives so that it could successfully serve more businesses, as well as get more volunteers involved in the organization as consultants to businesses, and attract more donors. However, the model that Angel Fund was using wasn’t a successful foundation for achieving these goals. The challenge was that businesses didn’t want to be considered “clients:” They didn’t want to admit that they needed help. In order to be successful, Angel Fund had to change the perception and stigma associated with its role in the community.

To address these challenges, Red Rooster Group proposed a series of strategies:

Brand Positioning Strategy

Red Rooster Group proposed reframing Angel Fund as a network where businesses can get the help they need in a positive, pro-active way, with the invitation to “join the network.” By repositioning the organization as a network, Angel Fund now appeals to business owners who were turned off by the idea of using a self-help or social service resource. Different levels of “membership” in the network were created to engage people in different ways.

Content Strategy

To address the lack of response to the print publication, we recommended a strategy of transitioning to an online content strategy with a regular stream of blog posts and social media interaction. In addition to being able to engage more people, this saves the organization money.

Volunteer Strategy

Volunteers were the core of the organization and they were potentially brand ambassadors who could spread positive word-of-mouth within this close-knit community. They could be a formidable means of creating positive buzz about the organization. We recommended the following strategies to foster volunteer engagement:

  • Assigning a volunteer captain to oversee the volunteer efforts.
  • Recruiting a volunteer committee.
  • Providing increased training for volunteers.
  • Creating systems for getting feedback from volunteers after client meetings.
  • Promoting volunteerism with promotional cards at events.
  • Featuring volunteers on the website as an incentive for businesses to choose the volunteer they want to work with.
  • Showing appreciation to volunteers with thank-you cards after an event.

Client Strategy

To encourage more business people to engage with the organization, we have recommended using “lower threshold” group events to showcase the value of the business network without being obliged to “become a client” of the organization.

Donor Strategy

To help the organization raise money, we recommended building out donor opportunities by giving donors specific things to support. These can include sponsoring specific programs, events, corporate sponsorships, or “adopting” businesses or sectors, “business scholarships” for businesses with particular needs, etc.

Marketing Plan

We also developed a Marketing Plan that provides an overall strategy and specific tactics to reach key audiences for half of the amount allocated. The Marketing Plan outlines strategies in four areas:

  • Increasing participation in programs.
  • Increasing volunteer engagement.
  • Increasing sponsorship support.
  • Increasing loan applications.

The plan describes the tactics for accomplishing these goals, the parties responsible, and the costs, on a month-by-month basis.

The Process

The consulting process began with meetings with the core team from Angel Fund to discuss the organization’s history, services, and challenges. We created an organizational assessment summarizing the organization’s goals and opportunities. We also developed a Marketing Plan for the next four quarters. Three additional meetings were used to present the Marketing Plan and refine the tactics and costs allocated to each area. A final marketing plan was created, which was discussed with staff and presented to the board for discussion and approval.

Naming

Research showed that the name of the organization was misleading to some because it sounded like a venture capital fund rather than a resource for small businesses. We also found that business owners were reluctant to ask for help because they felt as if doing so was an admission of failure. A key goal of rebranding was to remove the stigma associated with getting help, and to make clear that the organization’s focus was sharing knowledge and mutual assistance.

Creative Brief

We started the process with a Creative Brief that detailed the naming criteria so that both the client’s team and we knew what we were aiming for. The Brief also gives the client an objective way to evaluate the names presented. The Creative Brief included the audiences to which the name should appeal, the tone, types of names that would be acceptable (Descriptive, Evocative, etc.), and specific words to use or avoid, among other factors.

Conceptual Buckets & Keywords

1. Outcomes

Show how the organization’s work helps businesses achieve success.

KEYWORDS:

accomplish, achieve, growth, impact, thrive

2. Network

A group of people coming together for mutual support.

KEYWORDS:

community, connection, link

3. Path

A process that leads to a positive outcome.

KEYWORDS:

journey, exploration, navigation

Initial Name Exploration

Armed with those descriptions and keywords, we developed a range of creative options to provide a broad base for feedback and direction. Hundreds of names were generated. Here is an abridged list of some of the names that were presented. Note the different kinds of names. Taglines were provided to support the names.

Descriptive Names with Taglines

Acceleration Nation

Improve the pace of your business.

Accelerate

Improve the pace of your business.

Business Boost

Take your business to the next level.

Business Leap

Take your business to the next level.

Collective Prosperity

Prosper from our experience.

Experience Zone

Advice and events to grow your business.

Expert Council

Benefit from our experience.

Expert Link

Connecting you with business advice.

GrowthFocus

Advice and events to grow your business.

GrowthUP

Advice for business growth.

Leadership Link

Get advice from industry leaders.

Evocative Names with Taglines

Avenue B

The road to business success.

Birch

Never stop growing.

Carton

Out of box thinking for your business.

Flightpath

Take your business to new heights.

Fuel4Growth 

Advice to grow your business.

Galvanize 

The network to grow your business.

Helium 

Take your business to new heights.

LeapStart

Take your business to the next level.

MasterLink 

Connecting you with business advice.

Octane 

Fuel your business growth.

Oxygen 

Breathe new life into your business.

Propeller 

Help your business achieve new heights.

Soar Network 

Helping your businesses take off.

Springboard 

Help your business achieve new heights.

Springleaf Network 

Helping your business prosper.

Thrive 

The business success network.

Vitalize 

Give you business new energy.

Coined Names with Taglines

Braintree Network

The expertise to grow your business.

Businest / BussiNet 

Help your business be the best it can be.

CoGrow

Helping your company grow.

Envigor

Energizing your business with advice.

Exceleration Nation 

Helping you achieve business excellence.

Invigor 

Energize your business.

Prosperify 

Advice to help your business prosper.

Development

After seeing this initial list, the organization decided that it wanted to include the word “business” in the name, as well as explore names with the words “succeed” and “impact.”

Names

Business Axis

Business Corps

Business Mind

Business Nexus

Business Propeller

Business Spring

Business Tree

Business Vantage

Businessence

Businesspire

Businessync

Businex

Businext

Businexus

Businspire

Busintegrity

UberBusiness

2succeed

4 Success

4impact

Impact 4 Growth

Mission Success

Success Link

Success Network

Contenders

Including the word ”business” in the name was moving in the right direction, but the organization decided that it favored a more descriptive name, and so names with the words ”business” and ”network” were generated. After vetting for domain name availability, a refined list was presented for consideration.

Refined List

Name

Business Alliance Network

Available Domain Names

BusinessAllianceNetwork.org

Business Growth Group

BusinessGrowthGroup.org

Business Link Network

BusinessLinkNetwork.org

Business Network Zone

BusinessNetworkZone.org

Company Impact

CompanyImpact.org

Company Network

CompanyNetwork.org

Enterprise Connection

EnterpriseConnection.org

Exceed Business Network

ExceedNet.org

NY Enterprise Network

NYEnterpriseNetwork.org

Finalists

The word ”business” was dropped from Exceed Business Network to form Exceed Network and two other names were combined to form Business Impact Group with the acronym B.I.G. Permutations of the domain names were explored.

Available domain names

ExceedNetwork.org, .net, .com, .co

ExceedNet.org, .net, .com, .co

Xceednet.org, .net, .com, .co

XceedNetwork.org, .net, .com, .co

BusinessImpactGroup.org, .net, .com, .co

BIGimpactGroup.org, .net, .com, .co

BusinessImpact..org, .net, .com, .co

BusinessImpactGrp.org, .net, .com, .co

BusImpactGrp.org, .net, .com, .co

Final Name

The team chose Exceed Network which could be referred to as ”Exceed” and provided the opportunity to use that word as a the basis of other applications, such as calling their facility the Exceed Business Center. The final name conveys conceptual buckets 1 and 2 (impact, and network) established at the start of the process.

Results

The result was an overall shift in the mindset of the organization — transitioning into a “network” structure that fosters collaboration and shared resources. The organization quickly saw results from its new approach. A recent event gained an abundance of positive feedback and new inquiries from people wanting to join network.

Exceed Network is now equipped with the overall strategy and tactical plan that will drive it to achieving its goals. The marketing plan will save the organization 50% of it marketing budget. The transition from print to digital for the online content strategy is a positive change for the organization and will allow it to create more content and better tie-ins to the website and social media to attract a wider audience.

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